CHICAGO RESTAURANT WEEK KICKS OFF WITH ‘FIRST BITES BASH’

Dirk Flanigan to Host Second Annual Event in Support of Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

CONTACT:
Meghan Risch
mrisch@choosechicago.com

December 6, 2012 - CHICAGO - Choose Chicago, the official tourism organization for Chicago, announced today that ticket sales are open for the First Bites Bash, the kick-off event for the sixth annual Chicago Restaurant Week and a celebration of Chicago's epicurean excellence. Dirk Flanigan, Executive Chef with The Gage and Henri will host the highly-anticipated event, from which a portion of the proceeds generated by ticket sales will benefit Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

"Chicago is a renowned culinary destination and hotbed for top chefs," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO. "The First Bites Bash is a great opportunity to indulge in what Chicago's chefs are serving up for the sixth annual Chicago Restaurant Week. This innovative event has certainly become a recipe for success that foodies from across the region enjoy."

Sweet and savory tastings from 50 of Chicago's most celebrated restaurants and chefs will be featured in the magnificent Great Hall at Union Station Thursday, January 24 from 6pm to 9pm. Tickets are available for purchase at www.firstbitesbash.com for $95 per person. "First in line" pricing at $75 per person is available for a limited time.

Flanigan, named a Best Chefs Great Lakes Semi-Finalist by the James Beard Foundation Awards, a StarChefs "Rising Star" and garnered Chicago magazine's "Best Restaurants" title for Henri, has been an avid supporter of Chicago Restaurant Week since its inception in 2007. "The First Bites Bash is one of the best culinary gatherings in the city," said Flanigan. "It brings together a group of great friends who happen to be among the best chefs in Chicago."

Flanigan's personal connection to cancer marks a meaningful connection to the beneficiary of this year's kick-off event. "After dealing with cancer in my family, I can't think of anything more trying and scary. Bear Necessities shines light on people when it feels like the darkest of times," said Flanigan.

"We are so thrilled to be chosen as the beneficiary of Choose Chicago's First Bites Bash!" said Kathleen A. Casey, CEO& Founder, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. "Being headquartered in Chicago it's heartwarming to work with other organizations to help children right here in our backyard battling cancer. Childhood cancer is the number ONE death by disease in our country yet it's one of the most underserved diseases as well. Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation is committed to eliminating pediatric cancer and to provide hope and support to those who are touched by it. Together we can make a difference, so our heartfelt thanks to Choose Chicago and all of the participants for helping us help kids with cancer."

Chicago Restaurant Week is a celebration of Chicago's finest culinary talents. The 10-day experience begins February 1 and runs through February 10 with more than 250 participating restaurants featuring prix fixe lunches for $22 and dinners for $33 and $44, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. Online reservations will be available beginning early January 2013 at www.eatitupchicago.com.

First Bites Bash is supported by: American Express, Blue Moon, NBC5 Chicago, Peroni, Tasting Table and Time Out Chicago magazine.

Follow us on Twitter @ChooseChicago and join the conversations #firstbitesbash and #chicagorestaurantweek.

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