The James Beard Awards, often nicknamed the "Oscars of food," is once again set to take place in Chicago in May, bringing the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world to our fair city for a world-class celebration of fine cooking. Considering Chicago's position as one of the best food cities on the planet, it seems a natural fit. This year, foodies can take the celebration a bit further by partaking in James Beard Eats Week, April 22 – May 2.
Eats Week Essentials
In partnership with CS Magazine and the Illinois Restaurant Association, Choose Chicago is at the forefront of a week-long celebration of the legendary cooking pioneer, James Beard. The fete allows customers to experience Beard-inspired dishes and menus at more than 120 restaurants throughout Chicago.
Another added perk of patronizing these restaurants is the fact that each participating spot is donating $100 to the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Fund, which supports aspiring culinary students in Chicago.
Just some of the dishes to be served during James Beard Eats Week include:
- caviar eggs at Baffo,
- braised lamb shank at The Boarding House,
- sea bass escabeche at Dos Urban Cantina,
- roasted duckling au poivre at Maple & Ash,
- ramp and smoked ricotta ravioli at RPM Italian,
- Parmesan dumplings at Intro,
- chile-rubbed rib-eye with creamed yucca at La Sirena Clandestina, and much more!
Find all the participating restaurants and their special menu items honoring the culinary legend at choosechicago.com/jbf.
There's a kickoff party... and you're invited!
It all starts with a kickoff shindig on Wednesday, April 20 hosted by CS Magazine, dubbed the Sneak Peak Soiree. Sample food from top Chicago chefs, sip fine wine and experience unique "food as art" installations at Venue One in the West Loop.
Tickets ($100-$150) at sneakpeeksoiree.eventbrite.com.
Plus, celebrate with a series of award week events
From a tiki luau to a butcher demo to a New Orleans-themed night of revelry, Chicago is gearing up for the awards with special events for all to enjoy. Meet the best chefs and master mixologists from across the nation as the visiting nominees join forces with local nominees to pre-party throughout the week. While Chicago gets ready to roll out the red carpet, meet and mingle - and of course, get a taste - at events that include:
- a Momofuku brunch takeover at avec
- at Three Dots and a Dash, a tropical luau and outdoor pig roast
- a speaking panel at Vermilion featuring some of the nation's top tastemakers (celeb chefs Stephanie Izard and Marcus Samuelsson among them)
- a backyard BBQ bringing together BOKA, Shake Shack and Bang Bang Pie
Visit choosechicago.com/jbf for a full roundup of everything that's happening.
The 2016 James Beard Awards take place at the Lyric Opera House on Monday, May 2, with 14 Chicago nominees vying for the nation's most coveted culinary titles.
Photos: James Beard Foundation Awards, Baffo