Tips for Chicago Gourmet 2013

Are you going to Chicago Gourmet this year? The Bon Appetit Chicago Gourmet celebration of food and wine at Millennium Park is soon approaching! This will be the first year attending the event and I simply cannot wait!

chicago gourmet

I’ve been reading up on some tips and tricks to help make my trip as efficient as possible. Here is what I’ve come up with:

  • Arrive early. As one of the biggest food festivals of the year, you can certainly expect a crowd. Not only is it recommended to arrive to the festival early, but you should also plan to arrive to any demonstration or seminar you wish to see at least 10-15 minutes early to guarantee a seat.


  • Expect to wait in line. Don’t stress about the lines, it’s supposed to be crowded. Believe it or not, you and your friends are not the only foodies interested in attending this event. So grab a beer and make a few new friends – this is supposed to be a food and drink celebration after all!


  • Come prepared. Bring your umbrella and your sunglasses – you can never fully predict Chicago weather. Check Skilling’s weather predictions here! Take a backpack or shoulder bag to carry your camera, a bottle of water, a notepad and pen, and any books you wish to have signed at the book signings!


  • Map your route. Review the Chicago Gourmet schedule beforehand. With so much going on, you will need to pick and choose where you spend your time. Select demonstrations, seminars and book signings that interest you to make your visit most efficient and worthwhile!


  • Download the app. Download the handy Bon Appetit Chicago Gourmet app to your phone. It’s free and offers all the information you’ll need for the festival. The app includes a map (you’ll need to know where your next demonstration or seminar is and the fastest way to get there; plus it doesn’t hurt to know where the restrooms are!), a schedule of events to keep you on track, tasting tours to guide you, and more!


  • Sip and spit. With countless wines to taste in minimal time, you’ll want to drink strategically to get the most out of your experience. Of course I want you to try all of the delicious wines (after all, this IS what you paid for!), but be smart about it. Follow in the footsteps of the pros. Check the color, sniff the glass, swish the wine around in your mouth to pick up all the flavors, and politely return it to the glass (yes, I’m referring to spitting). You don’t want too much booze to go to your head or hinder your taste buds. Keep track of the wines you like, and head back later for a second opinion and enjoy a glass.


  • Eat up! Try everything (within reason of course). Chicago Gourmet brings out all of the best chefs in Chicago so this is not the time to hold back! Remember to keep samples to a small nibble so as not to fill up too quickly!


A couple stops I hope to make on my Saturday route this year:

  • Butchery & Homemade Charcuterie cooking demonstration with Rob Levitt of Butcher & Larder and Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia (cooking demonstration)


  • Bon Appetit: Top 50 Best New Restaurants Panel with Abraham Conion of Fat Rice, Cutis Duffy of Grace and Patrick Sheerin of Trencherman 



  • The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves and Aigre-doux book signing with Paul Virant of Perennial Virant/Vie (I took my bridesmaids to Perennial Virant for brunch last year and received this cookbook from my sister-in-law as a gift!)


  • No Second Wine: The Uncompromising Quality of Faust and Quintessa seminar with Larry Stone, MS, Quintessa Vineyards

Please let me know if you will be at Chicago Gourmet this Saturday – I would love to say hello!

In additional news, I’m hoping to do some apple picking at Kuiper’s Family Farm again with friends this weekend!

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