Chicago is a city of passionate people. Once Chicagoans fall in love, it's hard to shake their devotion (the Cubs being a great example). This month's events showcase that passion, whether it's for a charitable cause, a favorite ingredient or a type of wine. There are lots of opportunities in June to explore old passions, share chefs' obsessions with their work or even discover a new love.
Great Chefs Tasting Party
Culinary masters will be on hand on Thursday, June 3 for the 18th annual Great Chefs Tasting Party to benefit United Cerebal Palsy of Greater Chicago. Chefs Mark Mendez of Carnivale, Jimmy Bannos Jr. of the Purple Pig, Phillip Foss of Lockwood, Chris Pandel of The Bristol, Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno are a few of the more than 40 chefs who will attend the event, held at the Sheraton Chicago. As if you needed another reason to attend, Yours Truly will serve as an honorary chair, while my ABC 7 colleague - 190 North's Michelle Alegria - will be the night's emcee. General admission tickets cost $125, which includes all chef offerings and an open bar. The ticket price, less $20, is tax deductible. Tickets can be purchased online at the UCP's website or by calling (312) 765-0419 x21.
Lavender Month at Bistro 110
Chef Dominique Tougne showcases his distinctly French love for lavender this June as part of Bistro 110's Lavender Month. The Lavender Menu, available throughout the month, will feature dishes such as a grilled shrimp brochette with Herbs de Provence and a saffron/tomato concasse;‚ a fricasse of rabbit and lavender with seasonal raviolis; lavender crƒ¨me brƒ»lƒ©e and more. Menu items will be paired with wines from the Provence region on Thursday, June 17 at the monthly Tour de France wine tasting event. For $25, guests receive all they can drink of the Provence wines, in addition to lavender beers and cocktails that pair with bites from the special menu. The tasting begins at 6:30 at Bistro 110, 110 E. Pearson Street. Reservations are recommended but not required for the event and can be made by calling (312) 266-3110.
Growing Home will hold its annual benefit on Thursday, June 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center. This non-profit provides job training for homeless and unemployed individuals in the area of organic agriculture, then helps them find jobs. The benefit will feature a three-course dinner, including a salad course prepared by the program participants. The dinner will also include hors d'oeuvres by Great Taste Cafe and The Balanced Kitchen, a wine bar sponsored by Candid Wines, a main course of either Cedar Valley Farm steak or carrot quinoa cakes both by Monogramme Catering, and dessert by Raw Creations and Katherine Anne Confections. Author and food activist Frances Moore Lappe will deliver the keynote address and radio host Mike Nowak of WCPT will emcee. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased online. The event begins with a cocktail hour at 5:30 at the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington Street.
Lunch with TRU's Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand
On Monday, June 21, Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand venture out of TRU's kitchen for a lunch and book-signing sponsored by Chicago Gourmets. Tramonto is the celebrated chef/partner at TRU as well as the author of seven cookbooks, including his most recent Steak with Friends, which will be available for purchase and signing at the lunch. Gale Gand, Tramonto's partner at TRU, is an award-winning pastry chef, cookbook author and Chicago native. She will also sign books at the lunch and has created a surprise dessert to compliment the menu. Following a canape and wine reception, the lunch will include sweet corn bisque with Alaskan king crab, olive oil poached salmon with roasted beets, dessert and wine. The event begins at noon at TRU, 676 North St. Clair Street. The cost is $99 for Chicago Gourmet members, $109 for non-members and reservations can be made online or by calling (708) 383-7543.
Around the World in 80 Sips
Join other wine enthusiasts at the Museum of Contemporary Art for Bottlenotes' second annual Around the World in 80 Sips event. On Friday, June 11, visitors can sip more than 80 wines from around the world, as well as sample products from Artisanal Premium Cheeses. A list of participating wineries can be found at the event's website. Tickets cost $60 in advance, $75 at the door and are available online. The tasting will take place from 7:00 to 10:00 PM at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago Avenue.
Eric Futran's photography from a recent trip to Mexico
Chicago-based food photographer Eric Futran will display his work at Uncommon Ground beginning this week. Futran's subjects range from French chefs to French fries; he has shot in restaurants such as Louis VX in Monte Carlo and Paul Bocuse in Lyon as well as in mom-and-pop restaurants around the country. He was the official photographer for the Bocuse D'Or cooking competition and the Discovery Channel's Great Chefs cookbook series. His work will be on display at the restaurant, specializing in organic and vegetarian fare, until July 19. Uncommon Ground is located at 3800 N. Clark Street.