Chicago is revving up for the 26th Annual James Beard Foundation's visit to the Windy City. The Awards Gala and surrounding parties and events are the social highlight of the year for the culinary world. The city will be playing host to more than 2,500 of the country's top chefs, restaurateurs, food media and culinary enthusiasts.
Special events kick off today, April 20, and will continue through May 5, 2016. Here's a sampling from the extensive line-up of events.
The Awards Ceremony
The James Beard Awards Gala will take place at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2, 2016. The star-studded event, often called the "Oscars" of the food world, celebrates James Beard, the "Dean of American cookery."
The evening, which is open to the public, honors culinary achievement in many categories including: restaurants, chefs, restaurant design, special achievement and more. A gala reception featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country follows the ceremony. Tickets are on sale now online, or by calling 914 231 6180. General public tickets are $500; James Beard Foundation member tickets are $425.
Sneak Peek Soirée
A “Sneak Peek Soirée” at VenueOne (1034 W. Randolph) will feature over 25 of Chicago’s top restaurants serving up their unique menu creations based on Beard menus, along with cocktails, brews, wines and entertainment. Tickets are $100 general admission or $150 VIP. 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 20.
James Beard Eats Week
James Beard Eats Week runs April 22 through May 2, 2016. Over 120 restaurants (and counting) will be cooking up James Beard-inspired menus or dishes. There's parties--big and small, celebrity chef collaborations, demos, spirited late night events and more. Here are some of the dishes you can expect to see during Eats Week:
caviar eggs at Baffo,
braised lamb shank at The Boarding House,
sea bass escabeche at Dos Urban Cantina,
roasted duckling au poivre at Maple & Ash,
ramp and smoked ricotta ravioli at RPM Italian,
Parmesan dumplings at Intro,
chile-rubbed rib-eye with creamed yucca at La Sirena Clandestina
Yusho Logan Square Welcomes The Charter Oak to Chicago for a Brunch Workshop. Sunday, May 1, at Yusho Logan Square, 2853 North Kedzie Avenue. Tickets are $40 per person (includes brunch and coffee/tea service). For reservations call 773 904 8558.
The big apple takes a bite of Chicago with Momofuku Brunch Takeover at Avec. The Brunch will offer a collaborative a la carte menu featuring a mix of Ssäm Bar and Má Pêche offerings and inventive dishes selected especially for the takeover. Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 615 West Randolph Street.
A taste of Hawaii comes to Chicago at Three Dots and a Dash's Second Annual Tiki Luau & Pig Roast honoring James Beard. The roast will be mixing up cocktails alongside some of the country's top bar talent. Chefs Timothy Hollingsworth of Barrel & Ashes and Otium LA and Rory Herrmann of Barrel & Ashes and Sprout LA, along with Chefs Doug Psaltis and Christian Eckmann from local Bub City, team up for the pig roast while Three Dots offers an array of Polynesian-inspired snacks. May 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. Three Dots and a Dash, 435 North Clark Street; Tickets $50.
Shake Shack and Chef Lee Wolen collaborate to make a Shake Shack burger inspired by BOKA's menu at the Backyard BBQ at Boka with Shake Shack and Bang Bang Pie. May 1, 4 to 7 p.m. Boka, 1729 N Halsted Street; Tickets $40
Butcher Demo & Dinner
The steaks are high as RPM Steak and Chef Doug Psaltis host the world-renowned, eighth-generation "Rock-star" Italian butcher Dario Cecchini for an evening of chef demonstrations, Tuscan wine and fine dining at the Butcher Demo & Dinner at RPM Steak. 7 p.m., May 5, 66 West Kinzie Street; Cost/Reservations: $265 per person (plus tax; gratuity not included).
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