Inside Chicago's Bacon Fest 2011: The Best Bacon Creations from 57 of Chicago's Top Chefs.

Inside Chicago's Bacon Fest 2011: The Best Bacon Creations from 57 of Chicago's Top Chefs.

Baconfest 2011.
Chicago, Monday, April 11, 2011.  From its’ relatively small beginning, three years ago, with a 10-chef cook-off at the Publican in October 2009, Baconfest has become the hottest ticket in town. This year’s porkapalooza which took place Saturday at the UIC Forum featured 57 chefs, 22 exhibitors, 10 liquor sponsors and 10 miscellaneous sponsors. The event was limited to 1500 tickets, at $65 a head which sold out the first day. For the rest, it is wait until next year.

Below are some of the heavy-hitters at Saturday’s pig-out:


Stephanie Izard, “The Girl and the Goat.” Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

Bacon and Rogue smokey blue cheese “bread pudding”.
Stephanie Izard’s “The Girl and the Goat” in the West Loop hit the ground running in spring of 2010 and hasn’t stopped yet.  Izard, a “Top Chef” winner and Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee offers a funky menu with much more than goat.   She proved that she knows her way around a pig with her Baconfest creation a subtly flavored bacon and rogue bread pudding featuring smokey blue cheese overtones.


Fifty/50’s Wobble Stopper. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

The official Bloody Mary of Baconfest.
All attendees were given 7 drink tickets which included this generous sized bacon-bloody from Wicker Park’s hot spot, Fifty/50’s menu. bf5heavenon7chef.jpg

Jimmy Bannos, Sr. and nephew Andrew Bannos. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

It’s All in the Family.The Bannos name has been synonymous with good food in Chicago for over 30 years when Jimmy Bannos, Sr. opened his first Heaven on Seven on the 7th floor of the historic Garland Building in Chicago’s Loop.  Since then Bannos Sr., has opened more Heaven locations from Rush St. to Naperville.  Last year, his son Jimmy Bannos, Jr. opened the Mag Mile go-to spot, The Purple Pig.  Now nephew Andrew is joining the family in the kitchen.  It seems the Bannos men are keeping Chicago foodies happy.

Jimmy Sr. and nephew Andrew’s Cajun-inspired Baconfest offering included a chicken, bacon creole on parmigiano-reggiano cheese grits and to-die-for jalapeno cheddar bacon cornbread.

Stanley’s chef Jaysen Euler hard at work cooking individual quail eggs for his bacon-creation. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.


Quail eggs on the griddle. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

A Crowd Favorite.

The longest line and most buzz at Baconfest had to be at Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap.  This labor-intensive creation kept chef Jaysen Euler hopping.

The Bacon and eggs house-cured Duroc pork belly topped with a quail egg and served with Wisconsin cheddar grits in a smokey bacon broth has put this restaurant on my must go-to list.

You, too, might want to check it out at 324 S. Racine, 312 642 0007.


Bacon favored cotton candy. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

Show Me Chicago’s Vote for Most Fun Creation.
Leave to Longman and Eagle to come up with bacon flavored cotton candy. The restaurant gets a lot of buzz and seems to deserve it. The winner of a Michelin Bib Gourmand for 2011, seems to have a knack for thinking outside the box.  Chef Jarde Wentworth came up with a fun and user friendly lollipop–a bacon rillette with maple bacon cotton candy.  2657 N. Kedzie. 773 489 9554.


Bacon drumstick from iNG Restaurant. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

Show Me Chicago’s vote for most creative.
Chef Thomas Elliot Bowman served these picture-perfect Bacon “Drumsticks” along with Bacon Dumplings with bacon date consomme.


Cafe Spiaggia chefs Sarah Grueneberg and Aaron Diener. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

A Panacea for Bacon.
The CS chefs used pancetta, a seasoned Italian pork belly for their bacon creation with mouth-watering results.  Their creation: An Aleppo pepper cured pancetta with Vandenboom Farm egg, Tuscan kale and warm onion vinaigrette.  980 N. Michigan Ave., 2nd floor, 312 280 2750.


Dessert time. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

Sweet Treat.
Chef Jessica Oloroso from Bucktown’s Black Dog Gelato whipped up this Banana and Bacon Foster.  Banana’s and bacon…a winning combination.


Chalkboard’s “Milkshakes.” Photo credit: Show Me Chicago.

Most Photogenic.
TV crews, newspaper photographers and amateurs were lined up to capture the essence of Chalkboard’s chef Gilbert Langiois good looking Bacon Manhattan Milkshakes with cherry pearls.  4343 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square.  Phone number is 773-477-7144.

Crowd photo by Show Me Chicago.

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