Bringing together 20 of Chicago’s best chefs for one night in a city like Chicago is always a challenge. But, when it happens, it’s an unbeatable event. September 14th was one such night as chefs, restaurants, and food & beverage brands came together to raise awareness and funds for scleroderma, a lesser-known but sometimes fatal disease. Helmed by Cleetus Friedman, executive chef at The Lakefront, the event holds a great deal of personal significance to him. “I lost my father to the disease in 1992. He was 51 at the time and I was only 21. It changed the course of my life.”
Scleroderma is a rare disease that, so far, remains without a cure. Cooking Up a Cure helps to raise funds to help provide support, education, and research for scleroderma. Friedman marvels at the overwhelming support the event receives from chefs, restaurants, and spirits companies. This year was Cooking Up a Cure’s 9th year and the allure of celebrity chefs like Katsuji Tanabe, Jimmy Bannos, Stephanie Izard, and more along with the promise of generous bites from Chicago favorites like Lula Café, Prime and Provisions, Smoque, Forbidden Root, and more drove up attendance. “We are very lucky to be surrounded by so many generous industry folks,” Friedman comments.
Held at Galleria Marchetti, the evening was buzzing with bids on auction items, music, and the coming together of food lovers across the city. Events like these are a testament not just to the strong community of chefs and restaurants that Chicago continues to cultivate but to the people who appreciate their craft as well.
If this year was any indicator, next year’s Cooking Up a Cure is going to be even bigger and better. Friedman says that the team has already begun planning the event. “After the event we do a wrap up meeting and immediately look to the next season.” So, keep Cooking Up a Cure on your radar, folks—a can’t-miss event for a really great cause.
For more information on scleroderma, please visit the Scleroderma Foundation’s Greater Chicago Chapter.
P.S. If you’re hungry for more and don’t want to miss a single Behind Chicago Food story, be sure to subscribe by e-mail (completely spam-free with the option to unsubscribe at any time)!
P.P.S. Curious about my views on complimentary food, event coverage, and more? View my policy page here.