Food & Drink

James Beard Lands in Chicago

The James Beard Foundation Awards came to Chicago May 4, the first time in the foundation's 25-year history it was held outside of NYC...


It was a major coup for Chicago and, in fact, the city secured the awards through 2017.

The ceremony created a lot of hype and excitement around Chicago with many public and invite-only events, dinners and parties happening all weekend. From an upscale pig roast to honor the Chicago Zoological Society at Acadia Thursday night to the opening of Green City Market on Saturday to a brunch at the Purple Pig Sunday followed by a bevy of events Sunday afternoon at places including Tete Charcuterie, Kinmont and a tailgate at Tenzing Wine & Spirits with some top local chefs including Sarah Grueneberg, David Posey, Jason Vincent and Thai Dang.

But it was Monday’s big event that drew renowned chefs from all over the country to the Civic Opera House. Chefs and restaurateurs from Tony Mantuano, Ming Tsai, Curtis Stone and Rich Melman to Donnie Madia, Alpana Singh, Anita Lo and former White House chef Sam Kass (not to mention Mayor Rahm Emanuel) all strode the red carpet, making their way into the event, hosted by TV personality Alton Brown. During the night, numerous awards were given out and Chicago fared well with Donnie Madia taking the award for Outstanding Restaurateur, Violet Hour being named for having the best bar program and Brindille winning for having the best design. Surprisingly, no Chicago chefs took home any accolades, including in the Best Chef: Great Lakes division, which went to Jonathon Sawyer of Cleveland’s Greenhouse Tavern.

When it came to the post-ceremony gala and after parties, everyone was a winner. Spread out around the city, people hit parties at Girl & The Goat, Topolobampo/Frontera Grill, The Aviary, Big Star and more. And no one can say Chicago doesn’t know how to throw a great party. Here’s to another great year of eating and drinking!

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