Food stars at First Look for Charity

2013-01-30T00:00:00Z Food stars at First Look for CharityEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Sleek automobiles won't be the only thing in the spotlight at the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity on Feb. 8.

Eclectic food from Chicago-area restaurants will also beckon guests that evening at the annual charity event held the day before the Chicago Auto Show opens at McCormick Place.

"It's a great way for people to see the show in a very nice atmosphere of food and great entertainment," said Ray Scarpelli Jr., chairman of First Look for Charity and board member for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association.

Scarpelli said between 9,000 and 10,000 guests are expected to attend the affair. The 2012 First Look drew 9,000 attendees.

"We're hoping for a larger turnout because it's on a Friday night," Scarpelli said. The event has traditionally been held on Thursday night prior to a Friday opening of the show. This year's public show runs Feb. 9 through 18.

First Look will benefit 18 Chicago-area charities.

"(The charities) count on our event to be successful," he said, adding they receive a great deal of needed funds to help the various organizations.

Charities featured this year will be Franciscan St. James Health, Franciscan Community Benefit Services, 100 Club of Chicago, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet, Clearbrook, The Cradle Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, JDRF, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, March of Dimes, Misericordia, Respiratory Health Association, Special Olympics Illinois, Spina Bifida Association of Illinois and the Jesse White Tumbling Team.

The culinary offerings at the event will span the globe in flavors. There'll be 50 food stations with 110 food lines and they'll be serving 81 different menu items. Manning the culinary side of the event will be 140 chefs and 400 banquet staff workers.

"There'll be a good mix of food," Scarpelli said. "And we've stepped it (the offerings) up this year."

Among items on the menu will be roasted lamb and goat cheese and fig jam crostini, blue crab cakes, and grilled vegetables in savory cones with goat cheese in the Chicago Happy Hour section; bacon cheddar dumplings, mini shrimp rolls, braised dry aged steak, and cheesecake lollipops in the Chicago Primetime Station sponsored by David Burke's Primehouse; and  pulled pork red neck tacos, cole slaw and potato salad from Real Urban BBQ.

Also included will be grilled flank steak with horseradish mashed potatoes and chimichuri sauce from Fogo de Chao; wild mushroom ravioli, caesar salad and chicken piccata skewers from Savor at the Venerdi Festa Italiana station; and black rice Hokkaido sushi rolls, and spicy shrimp sushi rolls sponsored by Union Sushi + Barbecue in the Tokyo Green Garden area. In addition, a German station, other Asian stations, and dessert and cheese areas will be featured.

FYI: First Look for Charity will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 8 at  McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Tickets are $250. Attendees will have the opportunity to walk the auto showroom floor, sample eclectic cuisine and be entertained by American English and Million Dollar Quartet. For tickets and more information, call (630) 495-2282 or visit firstlookforcharity.org

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