JBF Gala + Chicago

When the James Beard Foundation first called us to tell us we had won an award, my brother Ron and I were speechless. Recognition from such a prestigious organization is a tremendous honor. We were absolutely delighted to participate and the weekend was everything we were hoping for. It was an amazing event-filled few days that we (along with our lucky spouses!) thoroughly enjoyed.

First up was the Rosé Bowl at Spiaggia. The wine was flowing and the appetizers were absolutely works of art.

Chef's Night Out featured food and small bites from amazing chefs, accompanied by more wonderful wines and craft cocktails and an opportunity to speak with celebrity chef and educator Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern presented us with the award the following day.

As expected, the actual awards ceremony was elegant and wonderfully presented. The Chicago Lyric Opera was a beautiful venue and set the black-tie tone for the evening. I think the  fancy dress was a good choice, no? 

The Gala tasting after the event featured even more wonderful artistically presented food and drink samples throughout the multi-floor lobby. Everything we tasted was amazing but two stood out in my mind: Hugo Ortega of  Hugo's Restaurant who made Tostada de Cabrito con Huaxmole Rojo y Huaxmole Verde > Goat Tostadas with Green and Red Huaxmoles and Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia who made Octopus Bacon with Pickled Grapes and Gochujang Romesco.

We wrapped up at the after-party at  The Girl and the Goat. Chef Izard and her staff were fabulous hosts. We missed more than a few of Chicago’s terrific restaurants with our hectic schedule, but it just gives us an excuse to come back!