Monday, May 13, 2013

MAZDA6 CELEBRITY CHEF DU JOUR RETURNS TO TASTE OF CHICAGO Noted Chefs Prepare Three-Course Dining Experience

Noted Chefs Prepare Three-Course Dining Experience

As the City of Chicago continues to demonstrate a robust culinary community of noted chefs, the city’s premier food festival continues its efforts to highlight these food masters as Taste of Chicago once again features the Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour. This year’s menu of celebrity chefs is: Rick Bayless, Carrie Nahabedian, Giuseppe Tentori, a special pairing of Gale Gand and The Hearty Boys and the newest James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award winner for 2013, Paul Kahan.

The dining experience introduced last year offers attendees the opportunity to enjoy a sit-down, three-course meal in an air-conditioned and decorated dining pavilion for only $40 per person (limit 4 tickets per person). Tickets for the dining experience are purchased in advance and will be on sale Wednesday, May 15 after 10 a.m. on the festival website, 

“The Celebrity Chef du Jour program brings a new and exciting dimension to the Taste of Chicago experience,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “It presents an exciting opportunity for Taste patrons to meet and mingle with these talented chefs, and then enjoy fine dining at its best!”

The Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour experience will be dinner served at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday-Friday, July 10-12 and brunch at noon on Saturday, July 13 and lunch at noon on Sunday July 14. Additionally, each of the celebrity chefs will demonstrate their skills at the Dominick’s Cooking Corner located on the Buckingham Fountain Plaza.

“Mazda is so pleased to be part of this unique experience at Taste of Chicago,” said Mazda Midwest Regional General Manager, Scott Farabee. “Chicago is a city where food has become an art form and the Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour pavilion is a wonderful place to appreciate it.”

Once again, students from the Washburne Culinary Institute will assist the chefs in preparation and serving dining patrons. Founded more than 75 years ago, Washburne Culinary Institute is one of the oldest culinary schools in the nation. Washburne provides students with the latest culinary techniques, along with essential hands-on experience to ensure they are equipped to work in Chicago’s most successful restaurants, hotels, private clubs and other culinary establishments.

Author, television host, humanitarian Rick Bayless manages to still find time to be Bravo’s Top Chef Master and one of Chicago’s longtime acclaimed chefs. The multiple James Beard Award winner founded his side-by-side restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in 1987 and his empire has grown to include XOCO and Tortas Frontera located at O’Hare airport and in downtown Chicago at the Chase Building. Bayless prepares dinner for opening night of the festival, Wednesday, July 10.

After departing her position as Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Carrie Nahabedian returned to her native Chicago to open NAHA in 2000, which led to a James Beard Award and three consecutive Michelin stars. Nahabedian recently opened her latest restaurant, Brindille, along with partner and cousin Michael. While NAHA serves to highlight her Armenian roots, Brindille's refined Parisian fare celebrates her and Michael's favorite spots in Paris.  She prepares dinner on Thursday evening, July 11.

Italy’s loss is Chicago’s gain as a 19-year-old Giuseppe Tentori completed his culinary studies in Milan and came to the United States to work at Gabriel’s in Highland Park. After a stop in Salt Lake City, Tentori spent nine years perfecting his craft at Charlie Trotter’s until 2008 when he became Executive Chef at BOKA Restaurant and a partner of the BOKA Restaurant Group. In 2011, Tentori opened his second restaurant, GT Fish & Oyster, named a Bib Gourmand annually while BOKA has earned a Michelin star annually since 2010. Taste dining patrons may enjoy a dinner prepared by Tentori on Friday, July 12.

Saturday at the Chef du Jour will feature three noted chefs for the price of one as Gale Gand and The Hearty Boys team up for a special meal. Gand is a partner and founding executive pastry chef at one star Michelin restaurant Tru and was recognized in 2001 as Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. She also hosted the first ever all-dessert show, “Sweet Dreams” for the Food Network which now airs on The Cooking Channel.

Joining Gand in creating the three-course brunch are Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, The Hearty Boys. The original winners of “Search for the Next Food Network Star” and hosts of Food Network’s “Party Line with The Hearty Boys”, Smith and McDonagh now have their own Michelin recommended restaurant, Hearty, where classic American foods are contemporized for the modern palate.

Chef Paul Kahan will prepare lunch on Sunday, July 14. In addition to his 2013 award, Kahan is also the 2004 winner of the James Beard Best Chef of the Midwest. Kahan fostered his culinary career in his native Chicago, working in his father’s delicatessen and smokehouse and then a 15-year apprenticeship in Erwin Drechsler’s kitchens (Metropolis and erwin), eventually working for Rick Bayless. He opened Blackbird in 1999 and has since added The Publican, avec, Big Star and Publican Quality Meats.  Publican's Chef de Cuisine Brian Huston will be creating the lunch with Kahan.

The schedule for the Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour is:

Wednesday, July 10, 6:30 p.m. - Rick Bayless
Thursday, July 11, 6:30 p.m. - Carrie Nahabedian
Friday, July 12, 6:30 p.m. - Giuseppe Tentori
Saturday, July 13, Noon - Gale Gand and The Hearty Boys
Sunday, July 14, Noon - Paul Kahan

Tickets go on sale at the same time for the seating pavilion at Taste concerts. The concert lineup previously announced is as follows: fun., July 10; Robin Thicke, July 11; Robert Plant Presents The Sensational Space Shifters, July 12; Jill Scott, July 13 and Neon Trees, July14. Tickets are $25 for the concert seating.

The 33rd Annual Taste of Chicago is July 10-14 in Grant Park and it opens weekdays at 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the weekend. Taste is presented by the City of Chicago and is sponsored by Aquafina, Blue Bunny® Ice Cream, Bud Light, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-ChicagoLand’s Television, Communications Direct, Dominick's, Eli's Cheesecake Company, Gallo Family Vineyards, Humana,
LaGrou Distribution System, Pepsi, Radio Disney AM 1300 Chicago, Shoreline Sightseeing, WGN-Television and 93XRT.

For more information on the free admission festival, call 312.744.3316; TTY: 312.744.2964 or visit To plan a trip to Chicago, visit Join the Taste conversation on Facebook at Taste of Chicago and follow us on Twitter, @TasteofChi2013.

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The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
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