Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Here Comes Fall's Biggest Foodie Fests

Blackbird's Paul Kahan (from left), "Top Chef" winner Richard Blais and Perennial's Paul Virant are set to appear at Chipotle's first-ever "Cultivate Chicago" event in October.

If you thought summer's chef scene was busy, just wait until we roll into fall. Holy Smokes will it be a busy one as event after exciting event happens with some of the biggest names in the biz.

Green Tie Ball returns after taking a year off in 2010. The theme is A Return To Emerald City, and organizers have secured more than 40 restaurants and four food trucks to serve up signature bites. Just a taste of the talent: The Drawing Room, Four Seasons, Jam and Owen & Engine. 6:30-8:30pm (VIP); 8:30pm-1am (GENERAL ADMISSION) Sept. 17. $125-$250. Get tickets here. A. Finkl & Sons (2011 N. Southport Ave.).

Local and national culinary stars will be everywhere you look at Chicago Gourmet, happening at Millennium Park Sept. 23-25. In addition to daylong chef demos, wine and food tastings, seminars and competitions, there is the second-annual Hamburger Hop, taking place Sept. 23. That's when a number of local restaurants compete to find out who offers the best burger in town (last year's winner was NoMi's Ryan LaRoche, who's a judge this time around). You can also score a free day pass for Chicago Gourmet by participating in the Dine Around program. Buy tickets to Chicago Gourmet here.

The Slide Ride is one of four food trucks set to appear at the "Green Tie Ball" in September. (Photo: Slide Ride)

Also going down that weekend is the Rib-a-Que Smoke-Out at Moonshine. More than 10 professional and amateur chefs go head to head in this tasty, annual competition. The best part?! You get to sample every rib in the joint and choose the winner. Get the $25 tickets in advance here, or pay $35 at the door. Noon-6pm Sept. 24.

Jill Barron (Mana Food Bar), Chris Curren (Blue 13/Elate) and Heather Terhune (Sable Kitchen & Bar) are among the chefs set for a food fight during WBEZ's Chicago Chef Battle. Guests get to sample each dish and pick a winner. Goose Island Brewery Loading Dock, 4-7pm Sept. 25. Tickets are $10-$15 and may be purchased here.

Moonshine's "Rib-a-Que Smoke-Out" takes place in late September. (Photo: Moonshine)

Priscila Satkoff of Salpicon! is the second female and second Mexican-focused chef to be inducted in the Chefs Hall of Fame at the Chicago Culinary Museum. The gala, which happens at JW Marriott, features a cocktail reception, dinner prepared by culinary students and awards ceremony. This is awesome as Satkoff, who's the sixth inductee, will join such esteemed colleagues as Charlie Trotter (Charlie Trotter's), Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven, The Purple Pig), Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco), Carrie Nahabedian (Naha) and Art Smith (Table Fifty-Two) in the Hall of Fame. The $160 ticket may be purchased here. 5:45pm Sept. 29.

Here's a free event that brings out some pretty big names in the culinary world. Sponsored by Chipotle, Cultivate Chicago has as its headliners reigning Top Chef winner Richard Blais (The Spence/Atlanta), as well as Michael Chiarello (Bottega and NapaStyle/Yountville, Calif.), Amanda Freitag (Food Network/New York) and Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto/New York). Local heavyhitters Paul Kahan (Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Terzo Piano), Bruce Sherman (North Pond) and Paul Virant (Vie, Perennial Virant) also participate in seminars and demos. Purpose of daylong fest is to raise awareness of the impact that food has on society. 11am-7pm Oct. 1 in Lincoln Park.

It's that time of year again. From deeply discounted oysters to the outrageous Oyster Slurping Contest to the grand Royster with the Oyster Festival, get ready for Shaw's Crab House's biggest event of the year Oct. 10-14. The culminating tent party takes place 3-10pm in front of the River North resto and includes live blues entertainment, food and booze. That's $10, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Shedd Aquarium.

Ryan Hutmacher of Centered Chef Food Studios at last year's "Chicago Chef Battle." (Photo: Jerry Schulman)

Hosting this year's Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball are chefs Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), Chris Pandel (The Bristol) and Paul Virant (Vie, Perennial Virant) and top mixologists Charles Joly (The Drawing Room) and Lynn House (Blackbird). They've gathered 80 of the city's culinary kings and queens and eight local bar stars to make this a memorable evening of bites and booze to raise money for Meals on Wheels Chicago. The VIP experience includes The Chef's Table (6-8pm) with cooking and cocktail pairings for $325. And the Chef's Tasting Party (8pm-12:30am) is a cocktailing and dining event of tastings, drinking, dancing, casino gaming and more. It's Oct. 14 at Macy's on State Street (111 N. State St.). Get the tix here.

And speaking of Lynn House, she's part of the Kohler Food & Wine Experience, one of the Midwest's most prestigious culinary events. The Blackbird mixologist and Charlie Trotter are the only Chicagoans set to present at the two-day Wisconsin festival. More than 60 fine wine and spirits, 20 cooking demonstrations and seminars, and dozens of premier events will take place throughout The American Club Resort Oct. 20-23. Also set to appear are world-renown chocolatier Jacques Torres, the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern and wine maker Marc Mondavi. Ticket prices range $21-$157.50; get them here.

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