Chicago Culture, Celebrity, Arts & Entertainment
Chicago culture, arts & entertainment with Billy Dec

Browsing all posts tagged with food.

GIVEAWAY OF THE DAY! Chicago’s Top Chefs Reimagine Childhood Favorites at the Second Annual Chefs’ Playground


Hi everyone, I’m Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Founder and Executive Director for the Academy for Global Citizenship.  Imagine a room filled with Chicago’s most notable chefs creating dishes inspired by some of your favorite childhood and lunchtime meals. Now mark your calendars for May 15 because dreams really do come true!

Photo credit: (C) Leigh Loftus of ThinkLeigh Photography, 2013

On Thursday, May 15 Chef Tony Mantuano, along with Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO), will bring together Chicago’s top chefs to participate in the Second Annual Chefs’ Playground from 7p.m. – 10p.m. at Terzo Piano.

Chefs’ Playground is a special evening that features 20 celebrity chefs and mixologists who put a haute spin on favorite childhood dishes.  The lineup includes some of your favorites, including: Stephanie Izard of Little Goat and Girl & the Goat, Jeff Mauro, Food Network’s “Sandwich King,” and Jason Vincent, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef 2013. The event will benefit The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC), an innovative Chicago public charter school located in the underserved southwest side that uniquely weaves in concepts of environmental stewardship, international mindedness and whole student nutrition and wellness.

AGC’s vision is to be an incubator of innovation that helps reimagine what’s possible in public school education. How many schools teaching kindergarten through 6th grade do you know that have daily yoga, school-wide composting, a solar energy learning lab and an environmental sustainability curriculum? AGC literally wrote the handbook on sustainable schools.

The inaugural Chefs’ Playground event raised nearly $200,000 in addition to a $1M challenge grant was announced during the event. All contributions to the capital campaign are generously matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1M by an AGC board member. In the year since that announcement, approximately half of that million has been matched.

Chefs' Playground

These investments, and more, help AGC to provide a world-class education to students and are contributing to the development of the first net-positive energy school in Illinois. This means that the AGC is aiming to be the first school building in Illinois to generate all the energy it uses in addition to providing energy back to the grid. Now that’s a bright idea!

Want to score free tickets to the Second Annual Chefs’ Playground for across-the-burner access to some of Chicago’s top celebrity chefs? Enter our giveaway by retweeting this Tweet or liking this photo on Instagram. It’s that easy!

For more information about the Second Annual Chefs’ Playground and to order tickets, visit

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What an Italian Beef Sandwich Tastes Like to a Chicagoan Who Has Never Tasted One

chicago, Food

Hey guys, Robin H-B again. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I’ve lived in this city my entire life. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Even with the crazy snowstorms and blazing summers, I love it. I love the food the most. Deep-dish pizza, hot dogs (NO KETCHUP), and chicken from Harold’s (the best one is on 87th off the Dan Ryan). I’m a South Side girl all the way.

The one Chicago delicacy I have never tried is an Italian Beef sandwich.

Italian beef

Yes, I know, I suck as a Chicagoan.

Every time I tell someone I have never had the dipped sandwich they respond with “Whaaaaaaat? Why not?!” I can tell you why not! I grew up in a household where we didn’t eat meat. I lived off of turkey, chicken, and fish. I didn’t eat red meat until last year at Ribfest, a moment that changed my life forever. How could I have gone all this time without knowing about the deliciousness that is red meat?! But even after Ribfest, I still don’t eat red meat. Maybe every once in a while but I never have a craving for it.

Once Lent was over (I gave up chicken, turkey, and fish), I, Robin Hackett-Bradley, would finally have my first Italian beef sandwich.

I am going to be 100% honest with you guys. I won’t fake like it’s the best thing in the world if I’m not loving it just because I’m from Chicago and don’t want to give my city a bad review on one of its most iconic foods. If I hate it, I’m going to tell you!

Here goes!

Friday April 25, 2014, lunchtime.

I just got back from Portillo’s with my Italian beef sandwich combo. That includes fries, the sandwich and a pop. I went for a Coke and small fry. A large fry would take me all day and I will never get to the sandwich. On my Italian beef I have sweet peppers and mozzarella cheese. I decided not to dip mine for fear of it being soggy. Some people go for hot peppers, no cheese, extra soggy sandwich. I didn’t think that was my thing, so I played it safe.


First bite: It’s wet. I’m not used to wet bread. (I’m sure I asked them not to dip it…*)

Second bite: Ok, I’m past the wet bread. This meat is good, well seasoned. I could eat this all day.

Third bite: I just realized that I have completely ignored my fries and Coke.

I have successfully finished my first Italian beef sandwich. It was delicious, but I don’t see myself becoming one of those people who eat them every single day. However, I could eat Portillo’s Italian strawberry shortcake everyday.

I am now a legit Chicagoan.

*Feeny (also a part of Billy’s team) has informed me that its wet from the juice off the meat, not dipped.

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Do Something Different! Join the Fit and Fabulous to Fight Cancer at Gateway to Wellness

charity, chicago, Fitness, Fundraiser, Health

Calling all young Chicago professionals out there! It’s Diana from the Gateway for Cancer Research Associates Board, and I have one question for you:

Where will you be the evening of Saturday, April 5?

If you’re like most who work hard, play hard, you’ll likely be unwinding from a long, busy week – grabbing dinner or drinks with friends, catching up on work (yikes!), or, for the mentally exhausted, binge-watching the latest Netflix release (House of Cards, anyone?).

But, I’m inviting you to do something different this Saturday for a one-of-a-kind experience where you can enjoy…

  • Delicious, healthy local food and drinks (open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres!)
  • Giveaways (who doesn’t like a free swag bag with lots of goodies?)
  • Raffle and silent auction (auction items range from an eight-week class at the Old Town School of Folk Music to a one-week condo stay in Frisco, Colo.)
  • Mingle with other young, driven professionals in Chicago and build your network
  • Get new ideas for working healthy habits into your busy life


For just the cost of dinner and a movie, join me at Gateway to Wellness, a cancer research fundraising event hosted by the Gateway for Cancer Research Associates Board. More than half of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices, like eating right and staying active, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s why Gateway to Wellness will introduce busy young professionals to new ideas for working healthy habits into their day-to-day lives.

The event will feature experts from local Chicago companies and organizations who will share tips, products and in-person instruction for healthy lifestyle choices in fun and interactive ways. And, as with all Gateway events, nearly 100% of ticket sales and donations go directly to support Gateway for Cancer Research, a nonprofit organization that funds clinical trials to help cancer patients feel better, live longer and be cured today.

It all takes place at Catalyst Ranch, a vibrant space that you must experience to appreciate.

Gateway to Wellness
Saturday, April 5, 6 – 9 p.m.
Catalyst Ranch
West Loop – 656 W. Randolph St., #3W, Chicago
For tickets:

I hope to see you there!

- Diana Bell, member of the Gateway for Cancer Research Associates Board

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Culinary Care Celebrates 500 Meals Delivered!

charity, chicago, Food, Fundraiser, restaurants


Hi All! Courtney here! I’m the founder of Culinary Care, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that delivers meals to in-need families & individuals affected by cancer to help provide one less worry during such a difficult time. I am excited to share that this month we are celebrating our 500th meal delivered!

Based in Chicago, Culinary Care partners with local restaurants that donate all the meals we deliver. Our current partners include Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda, Maggiano’s, Paris Club, Hub 51, Wildfire, Bub City, Mon Ami Gabi, RPM Italian, RJ Grunts, Mity Nice Grill, Goddess & Grocer, Feast, Sullivan’s, Carmine’s, Rosebud, Zapatista, Blackfinn and more are being added each day.

Culinary Care

Culinary Care Friend, Courtney White – Founder

Culinary Care

I started Culinary Care in March of 2013 out of inspiration from my own personal experience with cancer. In 2007, my senior year of high school, I lost my father to lung cancer. Between trips to the hospital and school, there was one thing that always provided a light at the end of the of the day for my family and I – the meals our friends and neighbors brought us each night for two months straight. It was this simple gesture that helped us avoid some of the daily stresses we were facing as we coped with my fathers’ death. Looking back, the meals and kindness we were shown gave us the strength to move forward and begin the healing process. This is what we bring to others through Culinary Care!

Want to help spread our mission? Get involved today:
Facebook: CulinaryCare
Twitter: @culinarycare

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Meez Meals delivering healthy food & supporting Common Threads with Meals for Good

after school matters, celebrities, charity, chicago, Food, Fundraiser, General, Health

Meez Meals, a Chicago company that delivers recipes along with healthy ingredients prepped and ready to cook at home, is joining forces with Common Threads to introduce “Meals for Good.” The yearlong partnership is designed to offer healthy meal solutions through an efficient delivery process.


Meals for Good will feature a favorite recipe from a top Chicago chef each month, starting with a dish from famed Chicago chef and Common Threads co-founder, Art Smith. Chef Smith kicks off the program with a dish he cooks at home: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Balsamic-Glazed Tofu. The combination of a cold salad dressed in a Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette with hot, glazed tofu embodies Chef Smith’s signature style of healthy comfort food.


Each Meals for Good recipe purchased through Meez Meals will support Common Threads’ innovative after-school programs, which empower children and adults with nutrition knowledge and teach them the benefits of an active lifestyle and the magic of smart cooking. Through a variety of hands-on experiences, Common Threads’ goal is to connect people with their food, and in turn, their health.

Meez Meals members can look forward to new recipes each month from the likes of Chef David Blonsky of Siena Tavern, Chef Jeremy Tannehill of the Public House, Chef Heather Terhune of Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chef Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse, Chef Beverly Kim of Bonsoiree and more.


Chef Smith’s Meals for Good recipe is available to order from Meez Meals beginning Friday, Nov. 22, through Friday, Dec. 13, and is available in one, two, four and six-serving sizes. The recipe averages $8 to $12.50 per serving and can be ordered at Meals ordered by Friday at noon are delivered on Mondays in two convenient delivery windows: the afternoon between 2 and 5 p.m. and the evening between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Dig in!

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Spare Time Inc.,Chicago Restaurant Group, Throws Holiday Canned Food Drive Benefiting South Side “You Can Make It!” Homeless Shelter

after school matters, charity, chicago, Food, Fundraiser, General, Uncategorized

Hello Chicago!

The holiday’s are upon us and we at Spare Time Inc. are excited to do our part by helping those in need and spreading the holiday love. That’s why Friday, November 15th, we launched a company wide “Holiday Canned Food Drive” to benefit a local South Side homeless shelter. The drive will end a week or so before Christmas! 

“You Can Make It!” is a shelter that supports homeless men, women and children by giving them a place to sleep and putting warm food in their bellies. We want to help make sure that the Chicago homeless community is able to enjoy a hot dinner on Christmas.

Do your part this holiday season and join us in helping to make the holidays a time of food and cheer for all!

By donating and “liking” a Spare Time location on Facebook or following on Twitter, you will receive a free appetizer during your visit!

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If you’d like to help out this initiative, please bring your canned and boxed non-perishable foods to any of our locations both in Chicago and Evanston. 

Southport Lanes, 3325 N. Southport – Facebook/Twitter

Daily Bar and Grill, 4560 N. Lincoln – Facebook/Twitter

Seven Ten Lincoln Park, 2747 N. Lincoln – Facebook/Twitter

Seven Ten Hyde Park, 1055 E. 55th St – Facebook/Twitter

New Line Tavern, 201 N. Clinton – Facebook/Twitter

Wafel, 201 N. Clinton - Facebook/Twitter

Firehouse Grill (Evanston), 750 Chicago Ave -  Facebook/Twitter


We appreciate your help!
-The Spare Time Team

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Cooking Up Change with Healthy Schools Campaign!

after school matters, celebrities, charity, chicago, Food, Fundraiser, General, Health, Networking, Press, Uncategorized

As a self-proclaimed foodie, any event that revolves around the construction or consumption of food will draw my attention, which is why Cooking Up Change immediately caught my eye! At this event, high school culinary students compete to create both nutritious and delicious school lunches for under $1!


Healthy Schools Campaign launched Cooking up Change in Chicago six years ago in order to promote the importance of health and nutrition in schools lunches. As of 2013, 350,000+ students in Chicago Public Schools are now eating healthier, well-balanced meals, thanks to policies and practices the district has put in place with HSC’s support. These competitions are now held in several cities in the U.S, leading to the national finals in Washington, D.C!


So if you want to see high schools kids cooking up a storm and kicking butt in the kitchen, come out and support this great cause! Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and aroma, and mingle with some of Chicago’s leading chefs.

The Chicago event takes place on Thursday, November 7 at 6 p.m at the Bridgeport Art Center. Marion Brooks, of NBC5, will Emcee the event, which is co-chaired by Karen Duncan, Christopher G. Kennedy and Amy Rule! 

For more information on Cooking Up Change.

Leah Sammak


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Taste of River North Offers Best of Hood’, July 19-21

charity, chicago, Food, Fundraiser, General

Hey ChiTown,

Jody Grimaldi here… local restaurant and entertainment publicist with Traffic PR.

For those who didn’t quite get their fill at Taste of Chicago, I’m urging you to check out this weekend’s classed-up Taste of River North. This annual foodie fest gives discerning palates and weary art shoppers a gratifying taste of the best of everything River North has to offer in a beautiful riverfront green park setting. Hosted by River North Residents Association and presented by East Bank Club, ToRN reflects the characteristics of its neighborhood: spectacular food, world-class art and top-notch entertainment.

Tasters will enjoy three days of great River North restaurants, plus live music, artists, local merchants, and family fun – along with some of Chicago’s most impressive river and architectural views… All for just $5 (donation)!


This year’s music lineup includes The Sheepdogs, Lucky Boys Confusion, Sixteen Candles, Rock Candy, Sons of the Silent Age and many more! The restaurant lineup can be found at Come on by and help me break last year’s record-breaking attendance mark.

Cheers! … Jody

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Green Festival Back In Chicago, May 18th & 19th

Art, Beauty, charity, chicago, Education, fashion, Fitness, Food, Health, Music, Nature, Pictures

Where are all my eco-friendlies at?! Sammi, here to talk nothing other than the Green Festival coming to our beautiful windy city on May 18th & 19th at Navy Pier. Let’s kick off this spring weather with one the largest (24,000 participants in 2012) and most diverse festivals including education, shopping, food and loads of fun activities!

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At the festival expect to experience everything green including:  a vegan and organic food court, the Sierra Club Green Cinema, fashion exhibits, workshops, music, dancing, yoga, an organic beer and wine garden, speakers, educational activities and so much more! Green Festival will also feature the Green Marketplace, where you can buy goods and services from our local Chicago businesses.

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Not only are you able experience all the fun, but also you don’t have to worry about making a carbon footprint by negatively impacting the environment as a result of the event. While the Green Festival is working towards a zero waste event, they have a 90% Resource Recovery Rate. All vendors practice these standards to ensure sustainability; food vendors use composting for scraps. Expect to see resource Recovery Stations with volunteers to answer any questions you may have.

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Tickets range from $10-$32 dollars, but if your 18 or under or bring four cans of food to donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, expect FREE admission! Check this out for more ticket information.

Last year, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. spoke at the event and left us with these wise words, “Green Festival is not an event. It is a lifestyle.” On that note, see you all there!

-Sammi Raines

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Glamour + Gourmet, A Girls’ Night Out at Andreas Hogue Salon

baseball, Beauty, charity, chicago, fashion, Fitness, Food, Fundraiser, Health

Hi Chicago! I’m Ashley Hogue, owner at Andreas Hogue Salon in Northbrook, and we have a really fun evening planned in honor of Earth Month!

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On Tuesday, April 30th, your evening will begin at 6pm with a variety of gourmet food + wine at Whole Foods Market Northbrook’s Lifestyle Center (private party room). You will then journey to the salon for coffee + dessert and to experience one of our mini services. Choose from an Aveda Hand Massage/Paraffin Dip, a Mini Manicure, or a Mirabella “Just Eyes” makeover (a makeup application/consultation). We will also be raffling off haircuts, manicures, and an amazing gift basket worth $320 as well as a 10-class pass to Dailey Method!

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Tickets are $30 each or $50 for ALL THREE salon services! Your donation will benefit the Alliance for the Great Lakes and help better water quality, promote water conservation, restore and enhance habitats and maintain healthy beaches in and around Lake Michigan.

For more formation contact Please RSVP to Hilary at (847) 272.1616.

-Ashley Hogue

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