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SAVOR Chicago Gourmet draws hundreds; new Freshii opens
DISH: Weekly Dining Guide
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet took place Sept. 25-27 in Millennium Park, drawing hundreds to take part in various events, see some esteemed chefs—and, of course, sample culinary treats.

One of the highlights of Chicago Gourmet was Grand Cru ( with law firm Eimer Stahl LLP presenting ), which featured chefs such as The Purple Pig's Jimmy Bannos Jr., Trencherman's Patrick Sheerin and Mott Street/Ruxbin's Edward Kim as well as master sommeliers like The Boarding House/Seven Lions' Alpana Singh, among others.

However, they were far from the only well-known culinary figures present, as Chicago Gourmet, as the Bon Appetit Main and Culinary stages had such people as Rick Bayless, Emeril Lagasse, Gail Gand, Lee Ann Whippen and Tony Priolo. ( Local media figures, such as Catherine De Orio of Check, Please!, hosted the various seminars and demonstrations. )

Hamburger Hop started off things in a tasty way Sept. 25 at the Harris Theater rooftop, with more than a dozen chefs participating/competing. Chef Dino Tsaknis of David Burke's Primehouse was named the Buckhead Beef Hamburger Hop Award winner for his "Porchetta Burger," while Chef Daniel Grynevich, Kuma's Too earned the People's Choice Award for his "Sourvein" burger ( certified Angus prime Buckhead beef topped with cheddar cheese, raspberry maple aioli, bacon, waffle, blackened chicken tender and maple syrup served on a mini-Turano pretzel bun ). Both chefs took home a magnum of wine from Josh Cellars and a set of premium chef's knives for the win.

Overall, dozens of restaurants and other businesses took part at Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet, including Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House Chicago, The Duck Inn, Rosebud restaurants, XOCO, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Ceres' Table, Mercat a la Planxa and 312 Chicago. One particular standout was Barilla, as the pasta company came a long way from its 2013 anti-LGBT controversy with a booth dedicated to Spirit Day ( Oct. 15 ), in which people don purple to take a stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth.

A Freshii start

Fast-casual health-food spot Freshii has opened a new spot at 1871, a collective ( of digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs ) in the Merchandise Mart—and marked things with a grand opening Sept. 25.

The event featured tech demos; appearances by Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin, 1871 CEO Howard Tullman and Freshii owner Alex Blair ( a Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree ); and—of course—selections from Freshii's menu, including salads and juices.

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