CHICAGO — A farm-to-table dinner on The 606 with Rick Bayless, a dance party at Willis Tower's Skydeck with Mindy Segal and sunset cocktails atop Tribune Tower are all part of the upcoming Chicago Gourmet festival, now in its 10th year.
City officials ushered in a decade of the upscale food festival starring celebrity chefs Tuesday in advance of tickets going on sale next week. This year's festival will include 10 special dinners throughout the city in addition to the main Chicago Gourmet showcase this fall in Millennium Park.
Bayless, whose Topolobampo in River North won outstanding restaurant of the year at last month's James Beard Awards, was the first chef to sign up for the festival 10 years ago.
"It's an absolute wonderful time for us to be alive and be in the restaurant business, be in the food world in Chicago. And people are recognizing it all over the place," Bayless said. "When I get to go out to eat ... I am blown away every time at the quality that we have achieved in this town in just a short amount of time."
Tickets for Chicago Gourmet's Main Event and "Grand Cru" Sept. 23-24 in Millennium Park are already for sale on the festival's website. Tickets for the festival's 10 "eXtraordinary dinners" throughout town that week begin going on sale June 22.
Other participating chefs include "Iron Chef" winner and Girl and the Goat mastermind Stephanie Izard, Graham Elliot and Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia.
"I just can't say enough about Gourmet Chicago, what it does for the city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference Tuesday.
Including a "mystery popup" that has yet to be announced, the 10 Chicago Gourmet special dinners are:
• 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 19: cocktails on the crown of Tribune Tower ($50 per person).
• 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 20: a multi-course meal by Matthias Merges (Usho, A10, Billy Sunday) and Carrie Nahabedian (Naha, Brindille) at Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Hyde Park ($225 per person).
• 7:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 23: Japanese dinner at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park with Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen, Chef's Table), Takashi Yagihashi (Slurping Turtle) and Naoyuki Yanagihara (vice president of Yanagihara School of Traditional Japaense Cuisine). Tickets are $250 per person.
• 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.: Sweets & Beats After Hours Dance Party at Willis Tower's Skydeck with Mindy Segal (Mindy's Hot Chocolate). Tickets are $85 per person.
• 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. or 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Sept. 24: Rise & Shine gourmet with yoga, brunch and morning cocktails at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, 12 S. Michigan Ave. ($40 per person).
• 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20: farm-to-table dinner with Bayless on the 606 ($200 per person).
• 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 22: Hamburger Hop at the Harris Theater Rooftop with top Bon Appétit editors, Buckhead Beef and Blue Moon Brewing Co. (Tickets will go on sale later).
• 9 p.m. to midnight Sept. 22: Late Night Gourmet at The Underground, 56 W. Illinois St. (Tickets will go on sale later).
• 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 23 at The Park at Wrigley: "Haute" Dogs with Jimmy Bannos Jr. (The Purple Pig), Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality), Jeff Mauro (Pork & Mindy's), Jason Vincent (Giant) and others. (Tickets will go on sale later).