Chicago Gourmet Returns for 2021 With Month-Long Celebrations

Participating favorite chefs and restaurants will prepare events all of September showcasing some of the best food the city has to offer.

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Calling all foodies! Chicago Gourmet is set to return to the city on Sept. 1 for a month-long celebration of food and drinks, the food festival announced this week.

Participating favorite chefs and restaurants will prepare events throughout the month of September, showcasing some of the best food the city has to offer. 

Tickets for this year's events are now on sale, and can be found at

The annual food festival will benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The group is dedicated to building and promoting the health and prosperity of the restaurant industry by investing in both youth and workforce, the festival said in a press release.

Here’s a list of events: 

Hamburger Hop: 

The battle of the tastiest burger will be one of the biggets events during the festival, and will continue throughout the month of September. Burger-lovers are encouraged to hop around town trying as many burgers as possible in order to find their favorite burger.

Participants will be able to vote on their favorite by Sept. 22 on the festival's website. Participating locations can be found here. One dollar from every burger sold will benefit the IRAEF. 

The Hamburger Hop also returns in-person at the Harris Theater rooftop where organizers will announce the champion of the citywide battle. Guests can enjoy burgers, beer, wine and skyline views. The event will be hosted by celebrity chef Stephanie Izard, and will be judged by a panel of leading experts.

When: Friday, Sept. 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: $130 per person. Guests must be 21 or older. 

Tacos & Tequila: 

The event will showcase some authentic Mexican cuisine, including gourmet tacos and more than a dozen tequilas and mezcals. There will also be DJ, mariachi and mojiganga performances. 

When: Thursday, Sept. 23 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Harris Theater Rooftop

Cost: $95 per person. Guests must be 21 or older. 

Grand Cru: 

Some of the “world’s finest” wines will be curated by the nation’s leading wine experts, the food festival said. Guests can expect an enhanced focus on artisanal craft spirits in a newly added Artisanal Cocktail Lounge, and cuisine prepared by Chicago’s award-winning chefs. 

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. session 1 includes:

  • Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies
  • Thai Dang, HaiSous, Cà Phê Dá
  • Rohini Dey, Vermilion
  • Joe Flamm, Rose Mary
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
  • Stephanie Izard, Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, Cabra, Sugargoat, Duck Duck Goat, Girl & The Goat Los Angeles

From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. session 2 includes: 

  • Mike Clark, Mastro’s Steakhouse
  • Gene Kato, Momotaro
  • Dylan Patel, avec
  • Jonathon Sawyer, Adorn Bar & Restaurant
  • Sahil Sethi, ROOH Chicago
  • José Sosa, Gibsons Italia

When: Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Harris Theater Rooftop. Two sessions will be offered from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Cost: $255 per person. Guests must be 21 or older. Space will be limited.

A more intimate series, Go Gourmet!, will feature numerous events hosted by leading restaurants and venues around the city. The series debuted and sold out last year and is returning for 2021. 

These events will include: 

Celebrating Phil Vettel:

The four-star meal will be celebrating the contributions of Chicago’s dining critic, Phil Vettel. The multi-course dinner will be hosted by chef Tony Priolo and owner Ciro Longobardo at Piccolo Sogno, with special guest chefs Paul Kahan of One Off Hospitality, Martial Noguier of BISTRONOMIC and Mindy Segal of Mindy’s Bakery / Mindy’s Edibles.

When: Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. for a cocktail reception and 6:30 p.m. for a seated dinner at Piccolo Sogno located at 464 N. Halsted St.

Cost: $175 per person 

Passport to Pizza: 

A pizza celebration will be hosted by Robert Garvey where he’ll showcase some of his creations. Pizza will be paired with wine selections from Ruffino and spirited cocktails from Campari America. 

When: Sept. 7 and 14 at 6 p.m. at Robert’s Pizza & Dough Co. located at 454 N. McClurg Ct.

Cost: $65 per person

Bar Siena Fitness Series:

For two weekends, Chef Fabio Viviani of Bar Siena’s wellness brunch will host the healthy event. Guests will follow a HIT or yoga class, to begin with, and the event will end with brunch items and interactive wine and cocktail stations. 

When: Sept. 11, 12, 18, 19 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Bar Siena located at 832 W. Randolph St.

Cost: $65.50 per person

Mentorship is a Virtue: 

Chef and owner of Virtue, Erick Williams, is working with chef de Cuisine Damarr Brown and pastry chef Becky Pendola in providing a “special” meal.

When: Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. for the cocktail reception and 6:30 p.m. for the seated dinner at Virtue, located at 1462 E. 53rd St

Cost: $149 per person

Wagyu + Sake Dinner:

Hosted by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the event will include an interactive evening in Wagyu. The five-course dinner will be paired with sake and wine. It is a collaboration between Lettuce Entertain You chefs Naoki Nakashima, master sushi chef Kaze Chan of Sushi-san and chef Evan Packer of RPM Steak.

When: Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. for a cocktail reception and 7 p.m. for a seated dinner at RPM Steak located at 66 W. Kinzie St.

Cost: $225 per person

Respecting Nostalgia and Avoiding Authenticity:

Chef and owner of S.K.Y. Stephen Gillanders and pastry chef Tatum Sinclair and their team demonstrate to guests how to innovate in 2021 by taking something identifiable and transforming it into a unique and inspired dish.

When: Sept. 15, first session at 5:30 p.m. for cocktails and 6 p.m. for a seated dinner. The second will be at 8:30 p.m. for cocktails and 9 p.m. for seated dinner. At S.K.Y. located at1239 W. 18th St.

Cost: $118 per person

Celebrating Leading Ladies:

The multi-course dinner will be hosted by owners Clodagh and Amy Lawless of The Dearborn, executive chef Aaron Cuschieri, pastry chef Julianna Westgor and Sophie Evanoff of Vanille Patisserie. They will showcase recipes originated from leading women figures in culinary history. Wine expert Alpana Singh and owner of Terra & Vine will present wines from women-owned wine and spirits-makers. 

When: Sept. 22, the first session will be offered at 5:30 p.m. for cocktails and 6 p.m. for a seated dinner. The second will begin at 7:30 p.m. for cocktails and the seated dinner will begin at 8 p.m. at The Dearborn located at 145 N. Dearborn St.

Cost: $130 per person

The Grand Tasting on the Main Lawn will not take place in Millennium Park this September, with a return planned for 2022, the food festival said.  

All guests will be required to bring a copy of their vaccine card, vaccine record or negative COVID-19 test. Masks are required for all guests indoors when not eating or drinking. Unvaccinated guests will also have to wear their masks outdoors.  

For more information, visit here.

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