Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

NATO Staffers to Visit Chicago

The goal of the week-long visit is to start planning the logistics of the May summit

By Anthony Ponce and Lisa Balde
|  Monday, Mar 26, 2012  |  Updated 6:52 AM CDT
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Chef Stephanie Izard Behind NATO Meal in Brussels

Dick Johnson

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife Amy Rule led a delegation trip to Brussels last week. This week, about 800 NATO staffers descend on Chicago to continue planning the May summit.

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Chef Stephanie Izard Behind NATO Meal in Brussels

Girl and the Goat chef Stephanie Izard created the meal being served Thursday night for a state dinner at the home of Ivo Daalder, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, in Brussels. "Who we're cooking for tonight makes it a little more stressful," Izard told NBCChicago's Dick Johnson in Belgium, "but everything seems to be going almost smoothly."
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Chicago this week welcomes hundreds of NATO staffers ahead of the two-day summit in May.

As many as 800 people from 30 countries will scout out locations like McCormick Place, where a series of events will take place, and to learn the layout of the city. Some of the delegates arrived Sunday night and others are scheduled to arrive Monday and mid-week.

The goal is to start planning the logistics of the two-day meeting. Planners expect the NATO summit to be a challenge to organize with so many top leaders needing motorcades, hotels and tight security, along with protests already planned for that weekend.

This week's visit to preview the city comes after a Chicago delegation trip to Brussels last week. The delegation, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife Amy Rule, highlighted Chicago's culture and food.

"We brought you some of our greatest hits," Rule said after toasting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Belgium. The menu included Manny's corned beef, Lou Malnatti's pizza, Eli's cheesecake and Berghoff root beer that Rasmussen said he specifically requested.

Rule joined a long list of welcome committee members as they hosted a mini-Taste of Chicago Thursday at the NATO headquarters.

"I think it's very, very good for Chicago, for Illinois and for jobs," Quinn said. "That's our No. 1 reason we're over here in Europe is to encourage people to come and visit Chicago. We want to make sure businesses invest in Illinois, and definitely we're interested in exports to Europe."

The summit in Chicago will be held May 20 and 21.

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