Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A great week for Chicago chefs!

Earlier this week local rock-star chefs Carrie Nahabedian (Naha) and Grant Achatz (Alinea) took home the coveted James Beard awards.

Now, Chicago's own Stephanie Izard just won Bravo's "Top Chef!" She's also the first female chef to win the popular, chef-driven reality show. The Stew has all the details here, including the scene at Room21, where the official Bravo "Top Chef" finale party took place. This has been a historic week for our chefs and they cannot be stopped. Whoo hoo!

If you want to congratulate her, reservations may still be available for the Stephanie Izard-Nick LaCasse event at the Drawing Room on Sunday. The dinner's sold out, but the after-party includes appetizers with two seasonal cocktails created by Izard. Also, those who miss out on the dinner or reception can sample the winning dishes created by Izard and LaCasse for one week following the event. RSVP at 773-276-7582. $40 for reception at 9pm.

A 'Top Chef' gives props


Top Chef finalist Stephanie Izard dishes on her favorite Chicago spots to Daily Candy, including Schwa for the quail egg-filled ravioli, Violet for the tasty cappuccinos and Blackbird for fine dining.

Take a gamble on fun tonight


You don't have to be a high roller to have fun:

Bring your A-Game to Galleria Marchetti for Chicago Gateway Green's first-ever poker party that's a kick-off event for the annual Green Tie Ball. Hosted by Horseshoe Casino as a World Series of Poker Qualifying Tournament. Also Akira boutique will be upping the ante with a "Vegas"-themed runway show with fashions from Betsy Johnson, Anna Sui, Ben Sherman, Just Cavalli, BCBG Max Azaria and French Connection. 5:30-11:30pm. Call 312-994-2620 for more info.

Janine MacLachlan from The Rustic Kitchen is the special demo chef for Green City Market. As usual the market opens at 7am, and the demo starts at 10:30. It goes until 1:30pm. Free.

Who needs "American Idol" when we've got Pass the Mic, an open-mic night every Wednesday at Plan B Bar + Kitchen. Hosted by Chris Grant of Trippin’ Billies, a popular Chicago-based Dave Matthews cover band, the event includes solo acts and acoutic bands. And to give others courage, there's a host of drink specials like $3 well drinks, $3 domestic bottles and half-off on wine. 9pm. Free admission.

Visit Follia in June to check out Fashion Meets Art: Building Unity Through Charitable Threads, a showcase of one-of-a-kind shirts and ties from Beth Lambert of Scarlet Designs and fine artist Suk Ja Kang. Prices are $2,500 for shirts and $200 for ties. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Chicago Cares.

Indulge in Pinot in the Park at Park Grill, hosted by master sommelier Joseph Spellman, who has worked in Chicago's top restaurants, including Charlie Trotter's. The walk-around tasting explores lush pinots paired with a nice selection of hors d'oeuvres. 5:30-7:30pm. $30 AIWF members/$35 non-members.