Last Sunday I spent five hours at the third annual Chicago Gourmet. Yes, I spent five hours wining and dining under the beautiful blue sky at Millennium Park. The event is a veritable culmination of the absolute best the city has to offer and further exemplifies Chicago as a true culinary destination. Chefs, sommeliers, wineries, foodies and beyond venture into the city for this grand three-day event that allows you to try a little of everything!
A friend and I met up outside the large white registration tent a half an hour early and positioned ourselves in the already growing line. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but past the registration tent I began to realize this was no small operation. As we walked past the most recent winner of Top Chef Masters, I couldn’t help but realize that Chicago Gourmet is kind of a big deal. We selected a glass of wine, and then made our way to one of the five different tasting pavilions where we lined up to sample each presenter’s dish. There was a pavilion for every palate each with different themes(i.e. meat, seafood, mediterranean/gastropub, latin & asian, and dessert). Some of our sampling included octopus from Avli, a black cod salad from C-House, and a roasted sea bream from The Gage/Henri. After an array of tastings we weren’t ready for dessert so we ventured into Specialty Food Pavilion and satisfied our curiosity for a few new products. Upon our exit we found that the pavilion presenters had changed and the number of people in line had expanded since our earlier tasting experience. Since we were still quite full, we opted for some beer and wine tasting to complete our afternoon.
I had a great time at my first Chicago Gourmet. However, I wish I had properly prepared myself the night before by printing out the schedule and highlighting my main interests. Looking back, I realized I missed out on the cooking demonstrations and food and wine seminars in my desire to try as many dishes as possible. But its okay because next year I’ll be back with a different game plan!