Lights, Camera, Napkin! Chicago Gourmet Announces 2019 Schedule

Friday, 23. August 2019 14:00

Millennium Park Pulses with a Culinary and Entertainment-Themed Celebration

CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Live from the red carpet! Title sponsor Bon Appétit, presenting sponsor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and founding sponsor Illinois Restaurant Association have announced the complete starring lineup for the 12th annual Chicago Gourmet, taking place in Millennium Park September 27-29, 2019. With a theme of Lights, Camera, Napkin!, this year’s larger-than-life festival shines a spotlight on the exciting connections between the culinary and entertainment worlds.

Since its 2008 inception, Chicago Gourmet has celebrated the city as a world-class epicurean destination, and this year is no exception. The A-list cast of celebrity chefs includes greats like Rick Bayless, Andrew Zimmern, Stephanie Izard, Joe Flamm, Tony Mantuano, Lorena Garcia, Art Smith, Jeff Mauro, Sarah Grueneberg, Jose Garces, Jamie Bissonnette, Diana Dávila, Jonathon Sawyer, Carrie Nahabedian, Kwame Onwuache, Masaharu Moritmoto and more – plus an impressive list of master sommeliers and leading spirits and beer experts.


In a program brimming with celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, interactive cooking demos, educational seminars, beverage tastings, book signings and food for miles, festival-goers should come hungry and ready to rub elbows with the stars they so often read about and see on the silver screen.

A sneak preview:

Food Sets the Stage
Chicago Gourmet provides an all-access pass to an array of culinary delights found in 14 tasting pavilions. From Hollywood to Bollywood – and everywhere in between – attendees can surrender their senses to global flavors beginning with Tasting Pavilions presented by Japan Information Center & Japan Airlines, Thai SELECT and U.S. Foods. Then, they’ll continue the feast with Chairman’s Reserve, Gordon Food Service, Mariano’s, S. Rosen’s, a division of Alpha Baking Co., Inc. and Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread Pavilions, with tasty dishes at every turn. The Big Green Egg, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co. and the Gardens of the Galaxy Veggie Pavilions add to the A-list credits. Not to be outdone, Sam Adams “Brewing the American Dream” Pavilion promises refreshing bites and sips, and the sweets at the Keeping up with the Konfections Dessert Pavilion will earn a standing O.

A Walk in the (Wine) Clouds
Wine seminars at Chicago Gourmet are among attendees’ most favorite attractions. This year, Master Sommelier Serafin Alvarado (Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits) has imagined engaging wine seminars led by renowned experts including Hollywood & Wine: A Story in Every Glass, California! The King of Cabernet!, Ethnic Cuisines and the Wines they Love, Rosé: A Harmonious Affair and more. With this lineup, it’s no wonder Chicago Gourmet has landed on USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Annual Awards for Best Wine Festival!

Co-Starring Seminars
Head to the East Lawn for seminars and cocktail demos by star mixologists, including Daniel de Oliveira (Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits) who, along with Stephen Halpin (Patrón Spirits Company) will present Saturday seminar, Crafted by You, Perfected by Patrón. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the versatility of tequila as it anchors a range of craft cocktails.

Also on Saturday, Alpana Singh (MS, Terra & Vine, “Check, Please!”) leads A Celebration of South Asian Cuisine with featured speakers Yoshi Yamada and Zeeshan Shah (Superkhana International), Sujan Sarkar (ROOH) and Colleen Sen (Author & Culinary Historian).

For an inspiring conversation on Sunday, stop by The Road to a James Beard Award, where Donnie Madia (One Off Hospitality), Beverly Kim (Parachute) and Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz (Boka Restaurant Group) will share their paths to attaining their highly coveted James Beard Foundation Awards. Or, pop over to Mezcal: Agave’s Rising Star, featuring agave expert and author Jay Schroeder along with de Oliveira and Carla Lalli Music (Bon Appétit) as emcee.

Grand Cru: The Musical!
At the exclusive Grand Cru, presented by UnitedHealthcare, guests will experience tastings of elite wines from around the world poured by leading wine talent from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the idyllic rooftop of the Harris Theater. In conjunction with this year’s theme, decorated Host Chef Tony Mantuano has invited fellow superstar chefs to prepare tastings based on — fittingly — Tony Award Winning musicals. Guests will enjoy dishes inspired by Broadway classics including Meg Galus’ take on “Avenue Q,” Ellen King’s “Hairspray” concept, Andrew Zimmerman’s interpretation of “South Pacific,” and more can’t-miss creations. 

Main Acts
Showcasing countless cuisines, traditional techniques, fun twists and playful banter, distinguished chefs will leave it all on the Bon Appétit Main Stage. Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport and other all-star emcees guide the program with flair. The lineup includes:


12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Spaghetti Western
 Andrew Zimmern; Chef, TV Personality & Author
1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Pulp Fiction: Citrus & Ceviches
 Rick Bayless; Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO, Leña Brava, Cruz Blanca Cervecería
 Jose Garces; Garces Group
2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.Eat, Plate, Love
 Carrie Nahabedian; Brindille, Kostali
 Bill Kim; Urbanbelly, The Table at Crate
3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Lost in Spice
 Michael Mina; Margeaux Brasserie, Petit Margeaux
 Greg Biggers; Margeaux Brasserie, Petit Margeaux
4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.Tony Mantuano and His Three Sons
 Tony Mantuano; Spiaggia, Terzo Piano, River Roast, Maddon’s Post
 Joe Flamm; Spiaggia, Cafe Spiaggia, BRAVO Top Chef Season 15 Winner
 Cedric Harden; River Roast
 Aaron Thebault; Maddon’s Post
5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.Cure, Cook, Re-Cook
 Jonathon Sawyer; The Greenhouse Tavern
 Matthias Merges; Mordecai, Billy Sunday, Lucky Dorr, Old Irving Brewing Co.


12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. The Chica Breakfast Club
 Lorena Garcia; Lorena Garcia Cocina, Lorena Garcia Tapas, Chica
 Art Smith; Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. Suya Think You Can Dance? 
 Kwame Onwuachi; Kith/Kin
2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.Mission Impastable
 Sarah Grueneberg; Monteverde
 Fabio Viviani; Siena Tavern, Bar Siena
3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.The Old Man and the Tuna
 Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto; Morimoto Management
4:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Cover Songs
 Jamie Bissonnette; Little Donkey, Coppa, Toro Restaurants
 Stephanie Izard; Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat, Cabra

The Bon Appétit Culinary Stage will also feature phenomenal chef talent all weekend, including Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven), Jimmy Bannos Jr. (The. Purple Pig, Piggie Smalls Gyro Shop), Erling Wu-Bower (Pacific Standard Time), Alisha Elenz (mfk.), Laura Cheng (Sun Wah, Sun Xien), Thai Dang (HaiSous, Cà Phê Dá), John Manion (El Che Steakhouse & Bar / La Sirena Clandestina), Martial Noguier (Bistronomic), Zach Engel (Galit) and others you simply need to see.

And There’s More: Encore, Encore!
In addition to the Main Event and Grand Cru, Chicago Gourmet punctuates its glittering, 2019 program with eight red carpet-worthy Encore Events taking place citywide beginning September 24. Attendees will mingle with headlining chefs as they experience one-of-a-kind dinners, tastings, cocktail parties, entertaining performances and even yoga, including:

  • Raise your Glass to Freedom: A Hamilton Exclusive hosted by Rick Bayless at CIBC Theatre
  • “Take the Gun, Leave the Cannoli”: Italian Feast presented by Performance Foodservice on the Odyssey Chicago River
  • Jef Comedy Jam Hosted by Jeff Mauro at Theater on the Lake
  • Battle of the Masters presented by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits at Swift & Sons
  • Hamburger Hop presented by Buckhead Meat of Chicago and Blue Moon Brewing Co. on the Harris Theater Rooftop
  • Late Night Gourmet presented by Chicago magazine at Dance Studio VOL. 1
  • The Big Chill(i): Gourmet Chili Cook-Off presented by Illinois Beef Association and Iowa Beef Industry Council on the Harris Theater Rooftop hosted by Sarah Grueneberg
  • Rise & Shine Gourmet at Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Applause for a Cause
Chicago Gourmet champions the community of which it is a part. A portion of the proceeds from the 2019 festival will support local non-profit organizations committed to a range of important causes. 2019 beneficiaries include: 

The App is the Ticket!
The mobile app – your go-to guide for all things Chicago Gourmet – will be available for download in September.

Chicago Gourmet 2019 is made possible by the generosity of the following sponsors:
Bon Appétit (title sponsor); Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Illinois (presenting sponsor); Illinois Restaurant Association (founder); Choose Chicago; AMERICAN EXPRESS; Chairman’s Reserve, UnitedHealthcare, Absolut Juice, The Glenlivet, JC Decaux, Tequila Patrón, Cadillac, Stella Artois, Mariano’s, Chateau D’Esclans, US Foods, Bordeaux Wine Council, South Walton Florida, Gordon Food Service, Vanity Fair Napkins, Volpi, Beam Suntory, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Moët Hennessy USA, Evian, Wintrust Community Banks, Campari, Mionetto, Constellation Brands, Thai SELECT, Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, Japan Airlines, Field Roast Company, American Airlines, RX Nut Butter, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Pure Circle, Grey Goose Vodka, Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream, Tin Cup Mountain Whiskey, S. Rosen’s, a division of Alpha Baking Co., Inc., Gibsons Restaurant Group, Loacker, The Langham Chicago, Honest Tea, Buckhead Meat of Chicago, Supreme Lobster & Seafood Company, Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls, Big Green Egg, Fairmont Chicago, Guinness, Plumbers 911, Filippo Berio, Ecolab, Coker Services Inc, and Illinois Board of Tourism.

Media Partners
Chicago Gourmet media partners include Chicago magazine, NBC 5 Chicago and 93XRT.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The official hashtags of Chicago Gourmet 2019 are #ChiGourmet and #LightsCameraNapkin.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Media Contacts
Isabelli Media Relations (IMR)
Janet Isabelli |  
Taylor Fisher | 
(312) 878-1222  

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Chicago Gourmet returns to Millennium Park Sept. 27-29, 2019

The 12th year of Chicago Gourmet, the nation's premier culinary festival, will celebrate all things food and entertainment with a theme of Lights, Camera, Napkin!
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