Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What They're Cooking at 'Chefs and the City'

Participants at last year's "Chefs and the City" event at the Peninsula. (Photos: Vital Bridges)

Fashion and great food.

Life cannot get any better than that.

Vital Bridges combines the two passions with Chefs and the City, its sixth-annual cocktail party and fashion show at the Peninsula 6-10pm Thursday.

Thirty of Chicago's most noted chefs are taking part in the event by whipping up unique signature bites for guests to enjoy during a walkaround tasting. We asked around to find out what some of them were making for the big, sold-out soiree, and wow!, guests are certainly in for a treat.

Girl & The Goat's Stephanie Izard at last year's event.

Avenues at the Peninsula chef Curtis Duffy—who's obviously on his home turf—will be hooking up something sweet instead of savory this year. His Asian-inspired passion fruit custard will be complemented by ginger puree, Santa Barbara uni, puffed tapioca and anise hyssop.

Most others we spoke to will be doing seasonal dishes prepared with lighter elements, local produce and meats, and lots of seafood. Vegetarians will flock to the MK table for Erick Williams' salt-roasted Nichols Farms zucchini with currant, pinenuts, lemon oil and local ricotta cheese. While seafood lovers should certainly dig the deconstructed Hiramisa tacos by Perennial's Ryan Poli as well as the hamachi with crab, hijiki, watermelon, cucumber and yuzu from Sola's Carol Wallack.

Those with heartier appetites will appreciate Quail & Snail, the creative contribution from Phillip Foss of Lockwood. It's topped with cauliflower, black currants and cacao.

Rick Gresh of Primehouse fame will serve his 40-day, dry-aged Allen Brothers ribeye, which will be dressed up with potato mushroom pave, truffles, sweet corn and baby summer squash. Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) will be presenting a Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with roasted corn salad, crispy chicken skin and huitlacoche. And look for the RL table with Ryan Pitt to be mobbed for the Lobster Club with Applewood smoked bacon, heirloom tomato, arugula and truffle aioli.

A high-end fashion show also takes place at the event.

Here's the entire list of participating chefs:

Radhika Desai (English)

Michael Garbin (Union League Club of Chicago)

Koren Grieveson (avec)

Sarah Gruenberg (Café Spiaggia)

Craig Harzewski (NAHA)

Roger Herring (Socca)

Brian Houston (The Publican)

Gene Kato (Japonais)

Bill Kim (Urban Belly and Belly Shack)

Dale Levitski (Sprout)

Shawn McClain (Spring)

Jason McLeod (Ria)

Chris Pandel (The Bristol)

Arun Sampanthavivat (Arun's)

Michael Sheerin (Blackbird)

Jeremy Sher (Swirlz Cupcakes)

Paul Virant (Vie)

Reginald Watkins (Charlie Trotter's)

Merlin Verrier (graham elliot)

Carlos Ysaguirre (Anteprima)

Bob Zrenner (33 Club)

Randy Zweiban (Province)

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