Both event days, as well as the ever-exciting kick-off hamburger hop, completely sold out . . . and for good reason. This year’s event pulled more than 160 Chicago chefs with thousands of portions of tasty snacks. Everyone from Rick Bayless to Girl & the Goat’s Stephanie Izard was there. I’m talkin’ the gamut: the lovely Tony Priolo, father & son Bannos boys, Top Chef’s Sarah Grueneberg, Chicago’s King of Chinese, Tony Hu, Oprah’s ex-chef Art Smith, and one of my all-time favorites, Takashi Yagihashi, just to name a few.
There was a ton of buzz around the national celeb chefs, too. John Besh of New Orleans was there as well as Geoffrey Zakarian (who I, unfortunately, didn’t actually see). I did get a wink from the mayor, however, so that sort of made up for it. I also got to emcee a few demos. It was fun. The Sheerin brothers of Trenchermen made their infamous pig skin noodles and pickle tots and we got the full, inside secrets on how Charlie McKenna at Lillie’s Q does his ribs. Such good stuff. Obviously, I’m a little sad it’s over. But hey, only 350-some days until Chicago Gourmet 2013! Let the countdown begin!