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CHICAGO, IL [October 2019] – From October 24-26, Chicago welcomes the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® presented by Capital One® for a weekend of delicious food and thought-provoking conversation surrounding the non-profit’s mission of cultivating a better food world for all. Spotlighting issues within the Foundation’s Good Food for Good™ platform, including food waste reduction, sustainability, inclusivity and chef advocacy, the seventh annual cross-country food series highlights the organization’s mission-forward impact programs and initiatives, while dishing out tasty bites to the food-loving community of Chicago.

The weekend-long program includes:

·       Raising the Bar: Thursday, October 24

Taste America’s weekend in Chicago kicks off with Raising the Bar, a cocktail event championing sustainability, on Thursday, October 24 at Club 77 (77 W. Wacker Dr.). Guests will enjoy mouthwatering bites prepared by esteemed Host Chef Patrick Sheerin and craft cocktails served up by leading local mixologists such as Shelby Allison (Lost Lake), Caitlin Laman (Ace Hotel), Lanie Bayless Sullivan (Bar Sótano) and others. In addition to a spirited night of food, drink, live music and more, guests will enjoy one-on-one interaction with the evening’s star talent, attendees will receive smart tips and guidance on how they can help build a better and sustainable food world, starting in their own home.

·       Gala Dinner: Friday, October 25

Taste America continues on Friday, October 25 with a glittering gala dinner at Zhou B Art Center (1029 W. 35###sup/sup### St.). Featuring a menu crafted by Taste America Visiting All-Star and James Beard Award Nominee Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie; Austin, TX), Local All-Star and James Beard Award Winner Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat, Little Goat Diner, Cabra and Duck Duck Goat), Host Chef Diana Dávila (Mi Tocaya Antojería) and bread service by James Beard Award Winner Greg Wade (Publican Quality Bread), this special dinner celebrates the diverse flavors, cuisines and backgrounds that contribute to American cooking.

The evening begins with a reception featuring bites from an exciting group of Chicago chefs including Carlos Gaytan (Tzuco and Tales of Carlos Gayan); Gene Kato (Momotaro); Jennifer Kim (Passerotto); John B. Shields (SMYTH and the Loyalist); and Erick Williams (Virtue). After dinner, a decadent dessert reception awaits, with sweet delicacies by James Beard Award Winner Abraham Conlon (The Bakery at Fat Rice); Dana Salls Cree (Pretty Cool Ice Cream); Aya Fukai (Aya Pastry); James Beard Award Winner Meg Galus (Boka Restaurant); and Anna Posey (Elske).

The evening includes a lively, thoughtful program emceed by Alpana Singh (Master Sommelier, Restaurateur and Host of WTTW-TV’s “Check, Please!”), as well as an exclusive live and silent auction featuring unique experiences for those who appreciate food, wine, spirits, travel and more.

Co-Chairs for the gala dinner lend enthusiastic support for Taste America and include a notable set of Chicago’s “who’s who”: Charles Besser (Chairman and CEO, Intersport); Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz (Boka Restaurant Group); Sandy Chen (Proprietor, Club 77 and Le Sud); Jodi Fyfe (CEO and Founder, The Paramount Group); and Morgan Olszewski (Yūgen). Honorary Co-Chairs are Sam Toia and Mary Kay Bonoma (President and CEO and Executive Vice President, Illinois Restaurant Association) and David Whitaker and Glenn Eden (CEO and Chairman, Choose Chicago).

The weekend concludes with an industry-facing Culinary Lab on Saturday, October 26 designed to highlight the Foundation’s sustainability initiatives.

The Foundation has partnered with Food Recovery Network to ensure that Taste America events are Food Recovery Verified, meaning that all surplus food from these events will be recovered and donated to hunger-fighting nonprofits, who support food-insecure individuals, in each city. Through Food Recovery Verified, the Foundation can do its part to reduce food waste and hunger at the community level. 

This year marks the seventh year that the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America has visited Chicago. Expanding for the first time to span nearly a full year, Taste America 2019-20 will also be traveling to: Atlanta; Boston; Charleston, SC; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles; Louisville, KY; Miami; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Nashville; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

For full details about the Taste America series and to purchase tickets, visit jamesbeard.org/tasteamerica.

The James Beard Foundation’s Taste America is presented by Capital One®. Through the partnership, Capital One cardholders gain exclusive access to premium dining events, like the Taste America tour, JBF Greens series, and James Beard House dinners. To learn more, visit CapitalOne.com/Access. Taste America is also presented in association with American Airlines and the following partners: Premier Sponsors Deloitte, El Tesoro™ Tequila, and Rabbit Hole Distillery; Supporting Sponsors Kerrygold USA, Robert Mondavi Winery, Whole Foods Market and Windstar Cruises; Patron Sponsors Cayson, Choose Chicago, The Mushroom Council and Upserve; and Founding Partner Bowen & Company. Additional support for Taste America is provided by VerTerra Dinnerware. The Food Recovery Partner is Food Recovery Network.

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About the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to promote Good Food for Good™. For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives. Through the James Beard Awards, unique dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, scholarships, hands-on learning, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in our community, the Foundation has built a platform for chefs and asserted the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food. To that end, the Foundation has also created signature impact-oriented initiatives that include our Women’s Leadership Programs, aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry; advocacy training through our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change; and the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, which shine a spotlight on successful change makers. The organization is committed to giving chefs and their colleagues a voice and the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org and follow @beardfoundation on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Capital One

At Capital One we’re on a mission for our customers – bringing them great products, rewards, service, and access to unique and unforgettable experiences they are passionate about. Capital One is a diversified bank that offers products and services to individuals, small businesses and commercial clients. We use technology, innovation and interaction to provide consumers with products and services to meet their needs. Learn more about our exclusive experiences for cardholders at capitalone.com/access.

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Source: http://www.chicagofoodmagazine.com/news/james-beard-foundation-returns-to-chicago-with-2019-20-taste-america-series-presented-by-capital-one