On January 17th, Chicago’s culinary world braved sub-zero temps to come together to honor the city’s best and brightest. The annual Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, named for the venerable French chef who owned and operated the celebrated Le Francais restaurant, took place at Venue SIX10 inside Spertus College on Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park. Hundreds of people watched as host and emcee Michael Muser of three Michelin-starred Grace kept the crowd in stitches.
Throughout the course of the night many awards were given away including best new restaurant (The Blanchard), chef of the year (Chris Pandel of B. Hospitality Group), rising chef of the year (Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute), pastry chef (Sandra Holl of Floriole), best neighborhood restaurant (mfk) and best sommelier (Liz Mendes of Vera).
But we were particular excited when the best restaurant design winner was called. Cherry Circle Room inside The Chicago Athletic Association was named the best-designed spot of 2015 and when you consider the other nominees — Swift & Sons, Fulton Market Kitchen and 3Arts Club — it was truly an honor to win. Congrats to our team!