Mark your calendars: School lunches on notice and chili for arts' sake

Folks, two events to be aware of this week.  Go forth and eat for a good cause or two.


Cooking Up Change 2011

Thursday, November 3rd, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Bridgeport Art Center
1200 W. 35th Street

If you have a child in a CPS school you know one thing for certain: CPS school lunches are desperately in need of revamping!   Fear not, there is a group dedicated to solving what is not simply a local problem, but a national shame.  And the Healthy Schools Campaign is hosting a fund raiser at the Bridgeport Art Center this weekend, featuring a cooking contest between teams of high school culinary students to come up with, you guessed it, school lunches, using a limited budget and ingredient list.

From the website:

Cooking up Change combines the sizzle of a culinary competition with a celebration of student talent and HSC's efforts to transform the school environment.

The Bridgeport Art Center, with its unparalleled view of the Chicago skyline, sets the stage for a gathering that brings together hundreds of guests who share a love of food and a commitment to changing the future of school food for all children.

Cooking up Change provides opportunities for guests to sample healthy culinary creations while mingling with the chefs of tomorrow and learning about local and national efforts to reinvent school food. The silent auction, tasting stations and exciting awards complete an inspiring event defined by a commitment to changes that will bring a bright future for our environment, our children and education.

For more information:



3rd Annual Half Acre Charitable Chili Cook-Off
Saturday, November 5th, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Arts of Life Chicago, 2010 W. Carroll Ave.

From the website:

The Arts of Life, a Chicagoland non-profit arts studio for adults with and without disabilities, will once again showcase the area’s best and tastiest chili at their 3rd annual Half Acre Charitable Chili Cook-Off on November 5, 2011 starting at 5 p.m. Like the last two successful years, the cook-off will be at 2010 W Carroll Ave and this year, attendants should expect even more fun and yum!

24 entrants from around the Chicagoland area will provide a variety of chilies including vegetarian and vegan friendly entries. Guests can also partake in fresh brewed Half Acre Beer, a cool down from George’s Ice Cream and Sweets, and rock out with The Arts of Life Band at 7 p.m.! Lindsay Heath, who attended the 2nd Chili Cook-Off, says, "Great chili everywhere you look, great cause, good times. Come early cause the good stuff goes fast!”

The esteemed judge’s panel with the difficult task of choosing this year’s top chili includes representatives from Half Acre Brewery, George’s Ice Cream and Sweets, two Arts of Life Artists and Chicago Food blogs: Chicago Food Whores, Feed Susan and Chicago Bites. Chicago-based performance artist Smiley Thims will be MCing the event and ensures that the cook-off will be an even hotter ticket than last year!

Tickets for the chili cook-off are now on sale for $10 and will be available at the door for $15. All proceeds go directly to supporting The Arts of Life, which is celebrating eleven years of empowering people to create an amazing artistic and personal vision for their community. So, not only will attendants enjoy an evening of locally made treats, they will also support an invaluable organization. Tim Sarrantino, a contestant at last year’s chili cook-off says, "This is an amazing fundraiser because it combines three of my favorite things - art, creativity, and charity. Being able to whip up an amazing chili for people to try while supporting both a local brewery and a Chicago artistic institution is the highlight of my year."

For more information:



Photo of culinary students from the Cooking Up Change 2011 website

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