Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet is back September 23-25 for its 9th year. This year's theme is ‘Food is Art!' and will be hosted by celebrity chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless. The main event takes place over two days (hurry, Sunday tickets are still available!), but here are six special ticketed events and cook-offs you won't want to miss, including the debut of a new celebrity taco bout.
August 25 // BUY TICKETS
Mercat a la Planxa will be home to the Chicago Gourmet's 3rd annual Paella cook-off from 7-10 p.m. Saturday evening. A month before Chicago Gourmet officially commences, see 13 chefs compete to prove who can create the MVP (Most Valuable Paella). Mario Rizzotti of Iron Chef America will be among the judges. Those in attendance will be able to enjoy the chef's creations and Spanish beverages including sangria, cocktails and beer.
September 23 // BUY TICKETS
The annual burger battle is back! Adam Rapoport of Bon Appetite magazine will host the competition in which only one of the 15 leading chefs will walk away as victor. Last year's winner, Chef Dino Tsaknis of David Burke's Primehouse, will be judging along with four other gourmands to determine who will receive the Best Burger award. Guests will also have the chance to taste the contestant's creations and vote for their favorite. The burger showdown will take place at Harris Theatre Rooftop (205 E Randolph St) from 6-9 p.m Friday night.
Late Night Gourmet
September 23 // BUY TICKETS
Get tickets to the Underground nightclub fete after Hamburger Hop concludes at 9 p.m. for the official Chicago Gourmet hosted afterparty. Late Night Gourmet attendees can enjoy munchies, music from DJ Rock City and chances to meet some of Chicago's top chefs. The party will continue until midnight and is the perfect kick-off to a weekend filled with festivities.
The Tao of Tacos
September 24 // BUY TICKETS
See 12 chefs of diverse culinary backgrounds take on the taco. With competitors including Mindy Segal, the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, and Slurping Turtle's Takashi Yagihashi, expect to sample some original and tasty twists on the Mexican classic. Guests (must be 21+) will be served refreshments from Lagunitas Brewing Company and Cazadores Tequila. The cook-off/fiesta will be hosted by Frontera Restaurant's Rick Bayless at the Harris Theatre Rooftop (205 E Randolph St) on Saturday night at 8-11 p.m.
September 24 & 25 // BUY TICKETS
For guests who were lucky enough to score tickets to the main Chicago Gourmet event, you can also purchase an admission to Grand Cru, the ultimate wine tasting featuring elite bottles from around the world. This year, in honor of Chicago Shakespeare 400 and the Complete Culinary Works, the wine tasting will be paired with excerpts from Othello, Macbeth and more performed by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Grand Cru will be happening daily from 2-4 p.m. at the Harris Theatre Rooftop (205 E Randolph St).
Rise & Shine Gourmet
September 25 // BUY TICKETS
Usually early birds get the worm, but at Rise and Shine Gourmet they get yoga and brunch! Participate in a yoga class overlooking Lake Michigan or join the family friendly run/walk around Maggie Daley Park before diving into the brunch buffet at Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (12 S Michigan Ave). Early risers should plan to arrive at 8 a.m. Sleeping beauties don't fret; there is a second event at 10 a.m.
To see the full schedule of Chicago Gourmet events and to purchase tickets, visit chicagogourmet.org.