One of Chicago’s biggest culinary weekends is underway. The James Beard Awards honor top chefs across the country, and they bring with them a bevy of programming.
Some of the biggest events have sold out, but tickets remain for several intriguing smaller programs hosted by previous James Beard Award winners and nominees, including Debbie Gold of LeTour and Erick Williams of Virtue. You’ll find those at restaurants, bars, coffee shops, distilleries, and more around the city. Whether you’re a foodie looking to hobnob with culinary professionals or simply eager to taste dishes created by award-winning chefs, WBEZ has found a few ways to satisfy your palette.
Grab some beef and a brew at Beef & Bandidos – A Beard Awards Weekend Happy Hour with Chris Chelios at Al’s Beef. Tickets are $45 and include an Italian beef with friends, a cocktail, and Italian lemonade. Aside from the eats, participants get the opportunity to meet-and-greet with Blackhawks Hall-of-Famer and sports commentator Chris Chelios. Al’s #1 Italian Beef, 1079 W. Taylor St., Chicago.
A charity matinee screening of Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter will be happening at Facets. The documentary explores the life of the late Chicago chef; a Q-and-A after the screening with director Rebecca Halpern will explore even more. Tickets are $25 and feature bites from James Beard Award-winning chef and Charlie Trotter restaurant alumna Debbie Gold of LeTour, with proceeds from the screening going towards the Trotter Project scholarships fund. Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago.
A panel discussion about “Food Access and Sustainable Communities” hosted by the Beard Foundation’s Colleen Vincent will feature panelists Erick Williams of Virtue, Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies and other local chefs. Hosted at Kendall College, admission is free with RSVP. Kendall College, 122 S. Michigan Ave., 2nd Floor Atrium., Chicago.
Big Shoulders Coffee will host a Brew and Brunch Roasting Tour that will feature live roasting demonstrations, coffee mocktails, latte art and, of course, brunch. Tickets are $25 and attendees get a bag of freshly roasted beans to take home. Big Shoulders Coffee, 2415 W. 19th St., Chicago.
The pioneer-inspired game restaurant Frontier will host a happy hour with proceeds from the $45 ticket going directly to the Beard Foundation. JBF Greens at Frontier will feature dishes from Frontier executive chef and James Beard Award semifinalist Brian Jupiter and offer a taste of Jupiter’s famous whole hog among other smoked meats. Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.
World’s Best Bar winner and NYC based restaurant The Dead Rabbit will be hosting a pop-up at the Dawson complete with cocktails, Irish cuisine, and live music. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Reservations can be made available online. The Dawson, 730 W. Grand Ave., Chicago.
Logan Square Culinary Crawl, hosted by Doug Psaltis and pastry chef Hsing Chen, will begin at the couple’s Greek restaurant Andros Tavernae. Chen will serve James-Beard-inspired pastries to kick off the event and encourage participants to check out the local eateries nearby on a self-guided neighborhood tour. Andros Tavernae, 2542 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.
James Beard Award winners will be announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday at the Lyric Opera (20 N. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago). Tickets start at $285 and can be purchased online.
Samantha Callender is a digital reporting fellow for WBEZ. Follow her across socials @OnYourCallender.