I did not attend the Chicago Gourmet event this year.
The last time I went was two years ago.
If I were reviewing the Chicago Gourmet event of two years ago I could sum it up very quickly. I’d write: “A very good place to get drunk. Not such a great place to eat”.
This might seem odd for me to write since I am one of the biggest promoters of Chicago on the planet. I love this place. I love living here. The city is so beautiful, friendly and full of things to do. Anticipating the Chicago Gourmet event two years ago was high on my list. It was a beautiful day and I was just all a-twitter. Sort of like Christmas morning for a child.
The tickets to Chicago Gourmet are expensive. This year they were $173 per person for one day. And $265 for a weekend pass. My husband and I got a Groupon deal two years ago so it seemed like an extra-special reason to jump on the opportunity to go.
We arrived and were directed toward the registration tent. In that tent they give you a wine glass. A real glass. That’s nice. They also give you your bag of promotional goodies, and off you go.
Chicago Gourmet takes place in Millennium Park; one of the most beautiful parks on the planet. I regularly go to Millennium Park to hear concerts. We take all our out of town guests to Millennium Park. It’s a must see. On this day they spread the Chicago Gourmet display facilities across the whole park. It’s easily bigger than a football field. The white tents spread across in a huge rectangle. Inside there are rows and rows of offerings with featured booths in the corners of the tenting.
One really convenient thing they do is cover all the grass in this area with paths made out of solid hardwood. This is important because if you look around you’ll see many a well-heeled Chicago female wearing heels. Yep, heels. You’d think if you were going to a garden party on grass that heels would not be a great idea but the organizers thought of the women and put up “sidewalks”. When you are paying that much money to stroll around a park with your glass of wine it appears as though many of them feel as though they have to dress like they are in an Easter Parade on Michigan Avenue. It’s sort of comical to watch them lightly prancing on the hard wood floors. Cheek kisses all around. I guess you can guess I wore flat sandals. How dull and practical of me.
The first chef I saw at Chicago Gourmet two years ago was Kat Kora from Bon Appetit. She was sitting at a table under an umbrella signing autographs. I kept moving.
This year there was a line-up of chefs there just to sign autographs as well as lots of cooking demos. I hear it was hard to see though. Too many people. I’m not one that needs to see a chef cooking.