WBEZ | Chicago Gourmet http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-gourmet Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The world’s mine oyster, but it's not vegan http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-10/world%E2%80%99s-mine-oyster-its-not-vegan-102856 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetshucker_1.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Supreme Shucker Luis Pedroza, Benny's Chop House (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Why, then the world&rsquo;s mine oyster,<br />Which I with sword will open.&rdquo;<br />― William Shakespeare, <em>The Merry Wives of Windsor</em></p></blockquote><p>As the sun set over the kingdom of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/chicago-gourmet-2012-102787">Chicago Gourmet</a> this past weekend, off to the fields of the east, a bloody battle was fought and won, with daggers and chainmail armor, one victor emerged with riches in hand.</p><p>The winner of the Chicago Gourmet Supreme Shucker 2012 oyster shucking contest is Luis Pedroza of Benny&#39;s Chop House, who not only won the glory of masterfully shucking 18 oysters in 1 minute 56 seconds, but took home a $2,000 cash prize.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shuckernakedcowboy.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Naked Cowboy oyster shucked by Supreme Shucker 2012 winner Luis Pedroza of Benny's Chop House (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p>The oysters shucked were <a href="http://www.blueislandoyster.com/NakedCowboySpecial.htm">Naked Cowboys</a>, named in ode to New York City&#39;s scantily clad, but behatted street musician for his passion and boldness. The oysters are wild, from Long Island Sound, with rich, firm flesh.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shuckererikmise.jpg" title="Erik Vollano of BOKA preps oyster mise en place at Supreme Shucker 2012 finals (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p>The oyster shucking contest was sponsored by <a href="http://www.supremelobster.com/">Supreme Lobster and Seafood Company</a>, headquartered in Villa Park. Founded in 1973 by&nbsp;Dominic Stramaglia, who held his first shipment of live lobsters in a kiddie pool unsuccessfully, the company is now a multi-million dollar national seafood business.</p><p>Supreme fishmonger and friend <a href="https://twitter.com/ChicagoFishDude">Carl Galvan</a> has made it his mission to promote sustainable seafood to the best chefs in the city, often engaging them in friendly and informative competitions.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shuckerluismise.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="Luis Pedroza of Benny's Chop House preps oyster mise en place at Supreme Shucker 2012 finals (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p>For the past several years now, Carl has subversively messaged neck-tattooed, adrenaline-junkie chefs with vital issues involving climate change and overfishing, guiding them responsible choices. At least where seafood is concerned.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shuckerjudgesplatter.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Supreme Shucker 2012 judges: CS dining editor Lisa Shames, mixologist Adam Seger, 312 Dining Diva Audarshia Townsend (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p>And no, oysters are not vegan, despite what <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2010/04/consider_the_oyster.html">one oyster-loving would-be vegan might say</a>. If you saw how oysters fight to the death, inflicting wounds on the bravest knights, you&#39;d understand that to ask if oysters feel pain is not even the question.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shuckercarlluis.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Supreme Lobster fishmonger Carl Galvan awards winner Luis Pedroza of Benny's Chop House $2,000 cash prize at Supreme Shucker 2012 (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div></p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-10/world%E2%80%99s-mine-oyster-its-not-vegan-102856 Hungry for more: What's next for Chicago Gourmet? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/chicago-gourmet-2012-102787 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetpig.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="The Purple Pig pig roast at Chicago Gourmet 2012 (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p style="text-align: start;">After five years, I think I&#39;ve finally figured out <a href="http://www.illinoisrestaurants.org/associations/2039/chicagogourmet/?">Chicago Gourmet</a>,&nbsp;the sometimes maddening annual festival held this past weekend in Millenium Park. Better yet, I think it&#39;s figured itself out too, and it goes beyond food and drink.</p><p style="text-align: start;">This year, the event sold out, drawing over 11,000 attendees to Millenium Park. Yes, the food lines were long, as they always are, but they moved steadily. And yes, drinks still outnumber food, but that means there&#39;s almost never a wait, plus they keep the food lines convivial and patient. Ultimately the notoriously long food lines are worth the wait, this year more than ever, rewarding every minute queued mostly proportionally with bites from some of the best chefs in the city.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetterzo.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Meg Colleran Sahs, Terzo Piano at the Art Institute of Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p>Gourmet weekend actually kicks off Friday night with the Hamburger Hop, a burger cook-off, this year with 15 chefs. Yoshi Katsumura, chef/owner of the legendary Yoshi&#39;s Cafe, won as the judges&#39; best burger with a wagyu patty topped with panko-crusted fried green tomato, pickle, Asian pear jam, Brie, micro wasabi, and Asian BBQ sauce on a poppy seed brioche bun. Matt Troost, chef at Three Aces, won people&#39;s choice with a chuck and sirloin patty topped with three-year Wisconsin white cheddar,&nbsp;bacon jam, sliced red onion, mixed greens,&nbsp;and marrow-infused salt on a pretzel bun.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetthree.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Matt Troost, Three Aces (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">It&#39;s great to see a chef like Yoshi get the recognition he deserves, and a chef like Jared Wentworth who&#39;s known for Longman &amp; Eagle&#39;s farm-to-table/nose-to-tail cooking show off his modernist seafaring chops with tuna crudo on glistening compressed watermelon.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetlongman_0.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Jared Wentworth, Longman and Eagle: tuna crudo, compressed watermelon, smoked yogurt, black garlic vinaigrette (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">And in this day and age of cupcakes, it was terrific to see a complex all-American red velvet cake by&nbsp;Judy Contino, chef/owner of Bittersweet Pastry Shop, shockingly celebrating its own 10th birthday this year.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetbittersweet.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Judy Contino, Bittersweet Pastry Shop (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Meg Galus, pastry chef at NoMI, did a festive seasonal take with caramel apple cream puffs.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetnomi.jpg" style="height: 906px; width: 620px; " title="Meg Galus, NoMI Kitchen: caramel apple cream puff (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">In a tale of two chilled soups,&nbsp;Ryan McCaskey, chef at Acadia, created a chilled parsnip soup, poured over smoked sturgeon, chai granola, candied lemon, radish, and chive.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetacadia.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Ryan McCaskey, Acadia: chilled parsnip soup, candied lemon, chai granola, smoked sturgeon, radish, and chive (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">While Ryan Poli, chef at Tavernita, offered a chilled cream of corn soup with shrimp, corn, and a drizzle of vanilla seed oil.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmettavernita.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Ryan Poli, Tavernita (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Matt Riordan, chef at Saigon Sisters, served tiny&nbsp;takes on bánh mì, with pâté and headcheese.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetsaigon.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Matt Riordan, Saigon Sisters (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">The only food tent without a line was the gluten-free pavilion, but&nbsp;Rosemarie O&#39;Carroll, chef/owner of Rose&#39;s Wheat Free Bakery, ran out of her only savory dish &mdash; chicken in puff pastry, and remember gluten-free &mdash; before I got there.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetroses_0.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Rosemarie O'Carroll, Rose's Wheat Free Bakery &amp; Café (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">But it wasn&#39;t the food, drink, cooking demos, or cookbook signings that made the biggest difference to me this year. It was one of the seminars. While most focused on culinary discussions, one addressed the controversial subject of Asian fusion and so-called authenticity.&nbsp;<em>Bon Appétit</em> restaurant and drinks editor Andrew Knowlton moderated a panel with Embeya chef/owner Thai Dang, Ruxbin chef/owner Edward Kim, Yusho chef/owner Matthias Merges, and Saigon Sisters owner Mary Nguyen Aregoni. Quite frankly the topic was too big for the little time alloted but I think it&#39;s a glimpse of what this event can offer, beyond simply cooking, eating, and drinking, but discussions about their importance and context within our culture. Now that would truly bring something exciting to table.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicagogourmetembeya_0.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="Thai Dang, Embeya: green papaya salad with culantro, crispy shallots, and beef jerky (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 01 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/chicago-gourmet-2012-102787 Eat this, drink that! Oktoberfests, Chicago Gourmet, Craft Spirit Week http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/eat-drink-oktoberfests-chicago-gourmet-craft-spirit-week-102740 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wildonionpumpkin.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Wild Onion Brewing Co. seasonal craft Pumpkin Ale, brewed in Lake Barrington, Illinois (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p><u><strong>Friday, September 28</strong></u></p><p>What happens when two cultures known for their love of, uh, festivities, join forces? The <a href="http://www.dankhaus.com/events-german-cultural-center-chicago.php">second annual McToberfest</a>! The love child of <a href="http://www.dankhaus.com/">DANK Haus German American Cultural Center</a> and the <a href="http://irish-american.org/">Irish American Heritage Center</a> at the latter&#39;s <a href="http://irish-american.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=35&amp;Itemid=100309">Fifth Province</a>&nbsp;transforms the authentic Irish pub into a German-Irish beer hall, with German-Irish food, drink, and spirits too. Admission $10, includes entertainment, food and drink additional.</p><p><u><strong>Saturday, September 29</strong></u></p><p>Chefapalooza, aka the <a href="http://www.illinoisrestaurants.org/associations/2039/chicagogourmet/">fifth annual&nbsp;Chicago Gourmet</a>&nbsp;takes over the gorgeous <a href="http://explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/attractions/dca_tourism/jay_pritzker_pavilion.html">Gehry designed Pritzker Pavilion</a> and the green lawns at <a href="http://explorechicago.org/city/en/millennium.html">Millennium Park</a>. Over 100 Chicago restaurants will serve food, with <em>hundreds</em> of wines, beers, and spirits from around the world. Try to stay somewhat sober for the live cooking demos, seminars, and book signings too. Friday&#39;s Hamburger Hop and Saturday-only tickets are sold out, but Sunday-only and all-weekend tickets are still currently available. Admission $159 Sunday, $265 weekend.</p><p><u><strong>Sunday, September 30</strong></u></p><p>Last call at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oktoberfestchicago.org/index.shtml">seventh annual Oktoberfest</a> at <a href="http://www.stalphonsuschgo.org/index.shtml">St. Alphonsus</a> with homemade brats and beer in collectible steins under the big top <em>Biergarten</em>. Plus, <a href="http://www.heritagebicycles.com/">Heritage Bicycle</a> across the streets is offering not only a free bike valet but free tickets to cyclists. Admission $5 includes music, beer and brats additional.</p><p><u><strong>Monday, October 1</strong></u></p><p>We can only hope this is a live&nbsp;<em>Bizarre Foods</em> meets <em>Man v. Food,&nbsp;</em>yes? Watch seven of my local food writer friends (Chicagoist&#39;s Anthony Todd, Galdones Photography&#39;s Huge Galdones, Grub Street&#39;s Michael Gebert, Plate&#39;s Chandra Ram, Serious Eats&#39; Nick Kindlesperger, Tasting Table&#39;s Heather Sperling, and The BrideScoop&#39;s Tatiana Abramova) get blindfolded, then&nbsp;taste 20 ingredients in 30 minutes, to try to guess them all. It&#39;s the inaugural <a href="http://thebigpalatechallenge.eventbrite.com/">Big Palate Challenge</a> at <a href="http://sonowoodfired.com/">Sono Wood Fired Pizzeria</a> benefitting <a href="http://www.nokidhungry.org/">Share Our Strength</a>. Eat and drink along with wine, beer, and passed apps.&nbsp;Admission $20.</p><p><u><strong>Tuesday, October 2</strong></u></p><p>The inaugural <a href="http://craftspiritweekchicago.com/">Craft Spirit Week</a> kicks off across Chicagoland, and actually all the way up to Wisconsin and Michigan. This week-long event was created by a collaboration of local&nbsp;craft distillers and is surprisingly the first true craft spirit week in the entire country. Hosted tastings, dinners, and seminars surround Wednesday&#39;s main event, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/venueSearch.jsp?venue_id=6298&amp;performance_id=1630627&amp;orderBy=1&amp;language=fr&amp;country=FR">Independent Spirits Expo</a>&nbsp;at <a href="http://www.carmichaelsteakhouse.com/private-events/">The Warehouse at Carmichael&#39;s</a>.&nbsp;Admission varies, some tastings FREE, $55 Expo general admission.</p><p><u><strong>Wednesday, October 3</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://cdpreddoorchicago.bpt.me/">Journey To a Cure</a> at <a href="http://reddoorchicago.com/">Red Door Chicago</a>&nbsp;and the artist Tony Fitzpatrick&#39;s <a href="http://www.firecatprojects.org/">Firecat Projects</a> gallery next door, benefitting the <a href="http://www.chicagodiabetesproject.org/">Chicago Diabetes Project</a>. My chef friend Troy Graves prepares a seasonal buffet with wine and beer included for a rare night&#39;s convergence of food, drink, music, art, and inspiration. Half the proceeds from gallery sales that night will be donated to the CDP. Admission $75.</p><p><u><strong>Friday, October 5</strong></u></p><p>This is the thinking drinker&#39;s Oktoberfest with flagship, rare, and one-of-a-kind craft beers from around the world. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mashtunfest.org/">Mash Tun Oktoberfest</a> at the <a href="http://bridgeportart.com/">Bridgeport Art Center</a>&nbsp;kicks off <a href="http://www.chicagoartistsmonth.org/">Chicago Artists Month</a>.&nbsp;The fest will be held in the atrium next to the center&rsquo;s sculpture garden with a pig roast, food trucks, and performances. Attendees will receive a souvenir tasting glass, pours of over 24 ales, and the new issue 2 of <em>Mash Tun: A Craft Beer Journal</em>, which follows the pleasures and aesthetics of craft beer and how it intersects with food, culture, and society. Admission $30.</p></p> Fri, 28 Sep 2012 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/eat-drink-oktoberfests-chicago-gourmet-craft-spirit-week-102740