We darted for the food tents first, to see what was cooking. We were greeted by a huge pig on a grill, being cooked and sliced by the chefs from Jose Garces' Mercat a la Planxa. This was extremely delicious, and started us off with a popular theme now being used by many chefs- pork. Just recently looked down upon, the "other white meat" is reaching new heights in culinary acclaim. I have always been a fan, and use pork as a key flavor component in many of my own home dishes. This can also be served in a group setting at Mercat with advanced reservations. We also started off with some great pork belly served up by the Four Seasons, smoked sturgeon from Blackbird, and heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella from Keefer's. Countless other restaurants were onhand, giving out great samples like The Gage, Sunda, Spring, Arun's, Japonais, Hugo's, Mexique, Piccolo Sogno, L20, Carnivale, and C-House. This was an awesome display of the Chicago culinary scene- one of the best in the world.
Next we headed for the Terlato tent, which was definitely the most awesome wine display. Many prestigious brands were being poured like Two Hands, Sokol Blosser, Il Poggione, Bollinger (James Bonds' fav Champagne), M. Chapoutier, Chimney Rock, Rust en Vrede, and Terlato Family Vineyards. Credenzas and couches were set up for ambience and comfort, and it may have been the most relaxed, yet festive tastings I've been to. We had the fortune of running into Anthony Terlato, who could not have been more inviting. We were looking forward to his cooking demo with Fabio Vivani.
We made it to a few demos, which were held in the Jay Pritzker Pavillion. The first we witnessed was with a great trio of chefs: Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate, Bill Kim of Urban Belly, and Stephanie Izard of highly anticipated The Drunken Goat. They would be cooking with pork and peaches, with recipes that may be included on their own menus. Chef Kim went with a pork belly sandwich, which may be featured at his new restaurant, Belly Shack, while chef Izard went for pork belly over seared tofu, for a healthy, yet savory offering.
Next, it was time for Anthony Terlato, offering his Santa Margherita Prosecco to the audience, and Fabio Vivani, of Top Chef and Cafe Firenze, cooking up some simple seared tuna. This was not only a very good sparkling wine, but also an excellent pairing.
There were also many other great demos, including the artistry of seafood & salt, seasonal cuisine, asian delights, and farm to table.
I was amazed by all the fine food, wine, and spirits onhand. It was filled with delight after delight for the senses! If you have never been to this 2nd annual event, make sure to be looking for Chicago Gourmet 2010. It will be worth it!