James Beard Foundation's Taste America® Preview: Chicago

 

This weekend James Beard Foundation’s Taste America®, our national epicurean tour, stops in Chicago, the future home of the 2015 James Beard Awards. We’ve got two days of food-filled exclusive events featuring Taste America All-Star and James Beard Award Winner Grant Achatz, and local star and James Beard Award Winner Sean Brock. Friday night kicks off with a tasting reception from a stunning lineup of JBF Award winners from the Windy City, followed by an exclusive dinner prepared by Achatz and Brock. Saturday the action moves to Sur La Table, for cooking demos and book signings from Achatz and JBF Award Winner Tony Mantuano and Cathy Mantuano, and free tastings from local vendors Publican Quality Meats and Little... Read more >

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Throwback Thursday: Hot Doug's

 

Last week, hundreds of eager customers stood anxiously in line for hours, desperate to get into one storefront in Chicago. New iPhone launching? Hardly. This was the line to get the last batch of hot dogs from legendary "sausage superstore" Hot Doug's, which served its last link and final batch of duck fat fries last Friday, October 3. This TBT, we're mourning the end of an era by sharing an essay on this Illinois icon from 2009, written by Jamie Feldmar, now senior editor at Tasting Table.

 

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Worth Waiting For: Hot Doug’s, Chicago

 

by Jamie Feldmar

 

Chicago is a sausage kind of town. Ever since the city’s 19th-century meatpacking heyday, we Chicagoans... Read more >

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Chicago to Host the 2015 Beard Awards

The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards will take place in Chicago

 

Just when you thought it was safe to stop following #jbfa on Twitter for a few months, here's a fresh bit of Awards news: next year, for the first time ever, the Beard Awards Gala will leave New York City and set up shop in Chicago. (The Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner will remain in New York.)

 

At a press conference this morning, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Restaurant Association's Sam Toia, Choose Chicago's Don Welsh, and JBF president Susan Ungaro announced that the 2015 ceremony will take place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4. “There is no greater honor for a restaurant than recognition with a Beard Foundation Award, and there is no greater honor for Chicago’s culinary community than the decision to host the awards here,” said Mayor Emanuel. Indeed... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Jimmy Bannos Jr. of the Purple Pig

 

With his sights set on running his own eatery while he was practically still in diapers, fourth-generation chef and restaurateur Jimmy Bannos Jr. opened Chicago’s acclaimed Purple Pig at the tender age of 25. Below, the 2014 Rising Star Chef of the Year nominee fills us in on his go-to Windy City restaurant, his dream culinary travel destination, and the valuable lessons he learned while growing up in restaurant kitchens.

 

JBF: When did you know that you wanted to get into the business? And how has your family’s career, particularly your father’s, pushed you towards success? 

 

Jimmy Bannos Jr.: I always knew this was what I wanted to do, even when I was a toddler. There was no question; it was just automatic. One of the biggest advantages I’ve felt as a child of a culinary family is that I always knew what kind of... Read more >

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Interview with Rising Star Nominee David Posey

 

Now nearly 17 years old, Blackbird isn’t just one of Chicago’s most dependable fine restaurants; it’s still striving and innovating under the confident vision of chef de cuisine David Posey. A repeat nominee for Rising Star Chef of the Year, chef Posey tells us what to order on the current menu, his favorite new Windy City spots, and more.

 

 

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JBF: Dana Cree, Blackbird’s pastry chef, is also a nominated for a Beard Award this year. How do you two work together? Does she have total autonomy over the dessert program? What do you like about her desserts?

 

DP: Dana and I work and collaborate very well together. We bounce ideas off one another, share inspiration, and test dishes on each other. Both Dana and I, for the most part, have complete autonomy over our menus. However, executive chef Paul Kahan has the final say. I like seeing the evolution of her pastries from inception to the final plated... Read more >

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Interview with the Violet Hour’s Toby Maloney

The Violet Hour

 

The Violet Hour beckons discerning clientele with many luxuries: a romantic, serene space with floor-to-ceiling curtains, high-backed blue leather chairs, flickering candles and chandeliers; fine-tuned volume levels and elbow room; and an eclectic selection of artisanal cocktails made with painstaking precision. Below, partner/mixologist Toby Maloney tell us how the 2014 Outstanding Bar Program nominee is influenced by its Chicago environs, the poetic inspiration behind its name, and his favorite spring cocktail.

 

JBF: How would you describe the Violet Hour’s mixology style? 

 

Toby Maloney: We’ve been described as minimalist, traditionalist, and culinary-focused. I think we are an amalgamation of all of them.

 

JBF: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the... Read more >

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On the Menu: Week of April 6

Photo by Ken Goodman

 

Here's what's on the Beard House calendar this week:

 

Monday, April 7, 7:00 P.M. 

The Art of American Omakase

​At Scottsdale’s celebrated Posh restaurant, chef Joshua Hebert creates improvisational tasting menus inspired by the tradition of the Japanese omakase. In a collaborative dialogue with his diners, he riffs off a list of their personal culinary tastes to craft an exquisite, individually tailored, and spontaneous selection of modern American dishes.

 

Tuesday, April 8, 7:00 P.M. 

Spring Seafood and White Wine Celebration

Boston-area epicureans flock to Zebra’s Bistro and Wine Bar for its house-grown produce and artisanal ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. Join us in tasting chef Brendan Pelley’s stunning spring... Read more >

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The 2014 JBF Award Nominee Announcement: What You Need to Know

The Publican in Chicago

 

Let’s see: we’ve revealed the 2014 Restaurant and Chef semifinalists, shared our latest America’s Classics and Who's Who inductees, and announced who’s headlining the festivities at Lincoln Center and Gotham Hall this year. Have we missed anything? Ah, yes: the nominee announcement!

 

As per our tradition of... Read more >

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James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® Chicago Recap

James Beard Foundation's Taste America® Chicago

 

The first weekend of James Beard Foundation's Taste America® is a wrap! On Friday our team headed to Chicago, where we enjoyed a spectacular meal prepared by James Beard Award–winning and other top Midwestern chefs, an after-party featuring up-and-coming Chicago talent, and cooking demonstrations by Paul Kahan and Taste America All-Star Richard Blais, who, naturally, brandished a canister of liquid nitrogen during a margarita demonstration.

 

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all our Chicago participants! And don't forget: Taste America is swinging through many more cities during the coming weekends.

 

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James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® would not be possible without the generous support of our... Read more >

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James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® Chicago

James Beard Foundation's Taste America®

 

As the first weekend of James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® approaches, we’re starting to highlight what’s happening in each of the fantastic food destinations on our tour. First up: the dynamic city of Chicago.

 

On Friday, September 20, Taste America All-Star Richard Blais will join a lineup of top Midwestern chef talent, including a number of Beard Award winners and nominees, at Chicago’s historic Union Station. Dubbed “Journey through the Great Lakes”, the dinner will highlight the best regional bounty and products, and will kick off with a cocktail reception by the Violet Hour, a 2013 JBF Award nominee for Outstanding Bar Program. JBF Award–winning food reporter Steve Dolinsky of ABC 7's Hungry Hound will be on hand to emcee.

 

Dinner will be followed the Night Bites after-party, a... Read more >

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