After a two year hiatus, First Bites Bash is officially back! This beloved culinary celebration is the kickoff event to Chicago Restaurant Week and features an impressive lineup of some of the city’s most notable chefs.

This year, I’m honored to serve as the event’s official Host Chef and offer tastings from my restaurant, Luella’s Southern Kitchen. Named for my great-grandmother, Luella’s has been serving up some of the city’s best Southern food in the Lincoln Square neighborhood since 2015.

Ready to start 2023 with one of the most anticipated culinary events of the year? Here’s everything you need to know about First Bites Bash.


What is First Bites Bash?

First Bites Bash is an all-inclusive evening that features more than 50 acclaimed Chicago restaurants on Thursday, Jan. 19 from 6 – 9 p.m. Guests can enjoy unlimited bites from the various chef stations, along with spirits, wine, and beer from top brands.

All this takes place inside the stunning Field Museum. Enjoy tastings in the shadow of Maximo, the largest dinosaur to ever live, then explore select exhibits after hours.

First Bites Bash

First Bites Bash is the official kick off event to Chicago Restaurant Week, one of my favorite times of year. Held from Jan. 20 to Feb. 5, Chicago Restaurant Week 2023 will feature special prix fixe menus at more than 300 restaurants all around the city. 

This year’s First Bites Bash will benefit two amazing organizations. Kitchen Possible strives to build empowered mindsets through cooking classes for children in underserved communities. And the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program provides financial support for Chicago-based students pursuing a culinary career path.

What restaurants will be at First Bites Bash?

This year’s First Bites Bash features an all-star lineup of some of the city’s top culinary stars — I’m so excited to be listed among these acclaimed chefs. Here are just a few of the 50 local restaurants that will be serving their best bites at this year’s event.

  • Bronzeville Winery
  • Cherry Circle Room
  • Demera Ethiopian
  • Jaleo by José Andrés 
  • LIVA at Chicago Winery
  • Ocean Prime
  • Rooh Chicago
  • River Roast
  • STK Steakhouse

Explore the full line-up of participating restaurants.

First Bites Bash

First Bites Bash is a great time to discover new restaurants and revisit old favorites. The best part — all these spots will be participating in Chicago Restaurant Week, so you can find restaurants you’ll want to visit for a full meal during the 17-day event. 

For beverages, guests can choose from a variety of offerings, including Don Julio, Grey Goose, Proper No. 12, Japanese Sake, Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits and S. Pellegrino to name a few. The full list of beverages can be viewed at

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are on sale now! Don’t wait — General Admission tickets are likely to sell out. Buy your tickets today

Tickets include unlimited food and drink tastings, entrance to Field Museum, and select exhibits. All guests must be at least 21 years old and bring valid ID. 

I look forward to seeing you there and celebrating our city’s talented and resilient culinary community.