The Importance of Charitable Ties and Food Events
Chicago’s favorite food festival takes place every September place at the iconic Millennium Park where more than 250 of Chicago’s restaurants and chefs showcased their best dishes with tastings and demonstrations. I’ve had the opportunity to attend this event the past few years and every year it doesn’t disappoint.
This year instead of just putting together a post with the best things I ate and highlighting the chefs in attendance, I also wanted to share more about Chicago Gourmet’s charity partners. After our worldwide tour in 2016 I made a conscious decision to try and support culinary events with foundations or charitable leanings and Chicago Gourmet benefits not just one, but five great organizations! In 2017 over $100,000 was raised for charitable funds benefiting the below partners.
The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers life-changing opportunities for students and provides direction for potential culinary and hospitality career paths. During Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet, the IRAEF hosts an online auction which 100% of the proceeds from the online auction and raffles go towards providing scholarships for aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals.
The Frontera Farmer Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, is committed to promoting small, sustainable farms serving the Chicago area by providing them with capital development grants. The Foundation envisions a year-round interchange between sustainable farmers and consumers, including farmers’ market patrons and chefs, in which seasonal local agriculture provides the foundation for sustainable regional cuisine.
Pilot Light is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps children make healthier choices by connecting the lessons they learn in their classrooms to the foods they eat on their lunch trays, at home and in their communities.
The Chicago Parks Foundation (CPF) is the official 501c3 charitable partner to the Chicago Park District. We were established as a nonprofit in 2013 to operate in a private-public partnership in support of Chicago's parks, independent but collaborative in spirit. We convert park users and lovers to park givers and stewards. In 2017, CPF raised nearly $3 million and facilitated over $2.3 million in grants that supported Chicago parks and park programs.
JBF Greens is a subset of the James Beard Foundation that has a diverse array of programs including educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs.
The highlight though each year is the 12 Gourmet Tasting Pavilions with 3-5 dishes/chefs at each station all serving up their very best. Without further ado, my favorite things I ate this year at Chicago Gourmet!
Mexico Tasting Pavilion