Over here in public radio land, we do a LOT of events. Once in a while (and maybe even more often than that) a mixture of so many perfectly complimenting ingredients gets put into the Giant WBEZ Event Machine that it simply rocks beyond even our very high expectations.
Public radio is not cool.
There. I said it.
There are lots of adjectives that describe public radio, our listeners and those of us who create it but "cool" simply is not one of them.
That is not to say that we don't have some pockets of cool on our side of the fence. Try this out. "Richard Steele." Just say the name and the adjectives evoked tumble out of your cerebellum like a box of vintage sunglasses and matchbooks - smooth, elegant, bold, suave, knowledgeable, generous. And, above all, "COOL."
Your holiday parties this December will be a lot of things but it is highly unlikely that any of them will be cool. Richard's party? Oh yeah.
First, you have Richard Steele. If he's the only person on the stage, you'd need to be there. But there's more. He'll be joined by Reclaimed Soul's Ayana Contreras for some pre-show spin. Richard has also invited some guests to entertain you - Walter King, Jr.
As always, the on site preparation for a WBEZ Chef Battle seems like semi-organized chaos. This year, we held a Dessert Edition, with Kilogram Tea as the common ingredient.
Tyler and I spinning multiple plates - on site set up (some chefs need power and freezers and more table space!), 18 volunteer assignments, food deliveries coming in, sponsors arriving for their set ups, organizing a coat check, a sound check. At one moment, the biggest crisis we are dealing with is getting the building's WIFI password to work on the iPads we use for on site registration and check in.
Dessert at my house when I was a kid was probably not that different from yours: ice cream, candy bars, some box made chocolate cake. On especially good days, there would be the tube of Toll House chocolate chip cookies or maybe some No-Bakes.
So when I read
Ah! The Chicago Chef Battle.
I remember Jill Barron of Mana Food Bar coming in and winning the very first one with her Vegetarian Chili (made with Goose Island Beer). As a meat-eater, I was amazed and had three bowls that night. I remember a few years ago the winning dish was Harvest Ale brined goat, fall squash cider puree, verjus pickled apples & smoked pecans. Last year, Thien Ly of Tank Noodle cleaned up at Salvage One and Jessica Oloroso of Black Dog Gelato served up free Root Beer Floats.
It was those floats that inspired this year's theme. We've presented five chef battles and those floats were the only dessert item we'd ever had.
So, this year, we present for your sweet tooth the Chicago Chef Battle: Dessert Edition.
Five local chefs will face off in the effort to create the best dessert using Kilogram Teas from Intelligentsia as a shared ingredient.
Ben Roche formerly of MOTO
It was hot.
93 degrees on a humid September day.
The tickets had been purchased. Nearly 200 fans of running or Peter Sagal or both Peter Sagal and running or the sight of Peter Sagal while running - I mean, who knows? - had dropped a few dollars to join Sagal on the "Ready, Wait Wait, Go!" 5K Fun Run in downtown Chicago on September 10, 2013. Volunteers, used to less strenuous work, showed up and erected tents for Goose Island Beer, Muscle Milk, F3running.com, Universal Sole, and WBEZ. Water was carried because It. Was. HOT.
It was hot enough that a local television station came out to report on the heat.
Those who are fans of the ever popular Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! know Peter Sagal for his acerbic wit, his quick comedic timing, and his ability to offend both Conservatives and Liberals by making fun of their core beliefs every week. REAL fans of the show also know that its host is an avid runner. Like, a real "I run marathons" and "I've been featured in running magazines" kind of runner. The idea that you might see him running on the streets of Oak Park or Chicago or along Lake Michigan are favorable but you will never catch him. He's fast.
Our CPM Marketing Director, Vanessa Harris, is a runner. I am capable of running if pressed but prefer to lift things as my form of exercise. Which means if Peter, Vanessa and I were attacked by a marauding bear, the two of them would run and I would lift a heavy stone and throw it at the bear. Or something like that. Peter runs frequently sans bear but he doesn't publicize (or even live tweet) his location or route.
On the other hand, on September 10th (Tuesday) you can join Peter for a low-key 5K run in downtown Chicago. For $35.00 (early registration until September 1st, then it goes up to $45.00 so get it in early) you get to run (or 'jog" in my case) a pre-determined 5K route alongside Peter with food and beverages after in the park.
As one of the regular hosts of The Moth here in Chicago (the incomparable Brian Babylon being the other), I like to open the show with a Ken Nordine-inspired piece of word jazz that sets up the theme for the night. All of the stories are required to utilize the theme in the telling so I like to try and cover a multitude of angles tellers can approach.