Thursday, January 5, 2012

'Top Chef' Star Hosts 'First Bites Bash'

(Photo: Stephanie Izard)

There's still hope that a Chicagoan will win this season's Top Chef, making him or her the second local chef to earn that honor.

But in the meantime, we've still got Stephanie Izard, who's not only the only Chicago winner, but also the only female winner of Bravo's competitive chef show. The star chef of Girl & the Goat is also known for her tireless efforts to help raise money for worthy organizations like Greater Chicago Food Depository, so it's no surprise that she signed on to host the first-ever First Bites Bash.

The kick-off event is for Chicago Restaurant Week, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the organization.

Paul McGee Leaves The Whistler in February

Paul McGee photo via This Is A Cocktail Blog

Just got this email from Paul McGee, the master mixologist at The Whistler:

"After three and a half years at The Whistler, I am moving on to an exciting new project with RJ and Jerrod Melman. My partners at The Whistler, Robert Brenner and Billy Helmkamp, remain great friends, and the wonderful and extremely capable staff of The Whistler will continue the great work we’ve done together since the beginning. My time behind the bar there will end on February 1st, with the final installment of our Book Club Series.

"Thank you so much for your support over the years, and I am looking forward to keeping you updated with the details of my next adventure. While you may not be able to find me behind a bar for the next few months, I’ll be keeping my blog updated with my activities and whereabouts."

Sounds to me like he'll be in charge of the cocktail program at this upcoming Melman spot.

Chicago Restaurant Week(s) Return!


Brace yourself.

A slew of local restaurants are set to participate this winter in a number of events meant to celebrate Chicago's vibrant dining scene.

First up is West Town's first-ever Dining Around event, happening Jan. 15-mid-March. Popular Near West Side spots like Arami, Leopold and Ruxbin will add special dishes to their menus and diners get "passports" to track their eating adventures. They'll be able to use the passports for special dining deals in the future.