Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicago Gets Smacked Down at Beard!


"Thanks to the James Beard Foundation for recognizing mac 'n cheese and fried chicken," said Alex Young, the chef/owner of Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Young seemed as shocked as everyone else when his name was called at the annual awards in culinary excellence Monday in New York, especially seeing as he was up against an entire Chicagoland contingent in his category of Best Chef: Great Lakes.

You likely won't find "mac 'n' cheese and fried chicken" on the menus at Avenues, where Curtis Duffy helms the kitchen; Paul Virant's Vie, Michael Carlson's Schwa or at Bruce Sherman's North Pond, but I guess Beard wasn't looking for anything innovative this year. Oh, and did I mention that three of these restaurants received one or two Michelin stars?!

Another Reason To Lust Over Lillie's Q

Photo of Lillie's Q chef/owner Charlie McKenna via the Chicago Tribune.

This weekend marks the seventh year in a row that Charlie McKenna, owner/chef of Bucktown gem Lillie's Q, has competed in the May World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest in Memphis.

He placed first in 2007 in the "whole pork shoulder" category, and he's looking to do it again with his signature smoked swine at the restaurant he opened in 2010. The Southern-style spot was also just named Food & Wine's No. 1 of the Best New Barbecue Restaurants in the country.