Al Orendorff, Director, Corporate Communications

(CHICAGO, April 5, 2018) – Choose Chicago, in partnership with the Illinois Restaurant Association, announces the return of James Beard Eats Week, taking place April 27–May 7, 2018.

“Chicago proudly sits at the head of the culinary table,” said David Whitaker, Choose Chicago President and CEO.  “Eats Week represents both a unique opportunity for visitors and residents alike to explore and appreciate the city’s world renowned chefs and restaurants, as well as celebrate Chicago hosting the annual James Beard Awards by experiencing special dishes and menus.”

Inspired by James Beard, known as the “Dean of American Cookery,” James Beard Eats Week is an 11-day culinary celebration featuring more than 130 restaurants offering offer an inspired menu or dish in honor of the culinary legend. James Beard Eats Week precedes the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala to be held on Monday, May 7, 2018 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
“Eats Week has become an annual tradition in celebration of the James Beard Awards,” said Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. “Not only does it allow local chefs to honor the legacy of the iconic James Beard through special dishes and menus, but it also provides food lovers with a festive opportunity to try something new at more than 130 restaurants citywide.”

Every restaurant taking part in James Beard Eats Week makes a $100 donation to the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Fund, which directly supports aspiring Chicago culinary students. The James Beard Eats Week program raised $13,600 in 2017 through program donations. The James Beard Scholarship Fund was established in 1991 and has awarded more than $7 million in financial aid to more than 1,850 recipients nationally.

Last year, the James Beard Foundation established a James Beard Foundation Greens chapter in Chicago.  JBF Greens events are for ‘foodies under 40’ —food lovers between the ages of 21 and 39. Greens get to discover the newest restaurants, chefs, and culinary trends, all while enjoying great food and drinks. Greens events include walk-around tastings, multi-course dinners, wine tastings, and hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

James Beard Eats Week is produced by Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association and supported by the Exclusive Local Print Media Partner, Chicago magazine.

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About Choose Chicago 
Choose Chicago® is the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to bring regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago for the economic benefit of the city, the community and its membership.

About Illinois Restaurant Association 
Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating, and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The IRA owns and produces Chicago Gourmet – the annual food and wine festival held in Millennium Park that unites hundreds of restaurants, chefs and beverage experts for a weekend filled with food and drink tastings, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, book signings, interactive seminars and more. The Association is a proud host of the James Beard Foundation Awards, which will be held in Chicago through 2021 and celebrates excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education throughout the country.

About Chicago magazine
Chicago magazine is the voice of the greatest American city: a fascinating and complex place brimming with passion and innovation. We spur intelligent conversation about the city’s influencers, zeitgeist-defining trends, and civic issues though award-winning, in-depth journalism. Just as important, we help our readers live better by producing the Chicago area’s most authoritative coverage of the best in dining, the arts, style, and urban life.