Chipotle cultivates a fresh festival experience

2012-09-12T00:00:00Z 2012-09-13T06:35:03Z Chipotle cultivates a fresh festival experienceEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Chipotle Mexican Grill will present a multi-cultural event Saturday centered on fresh flavors.

The eatery's "Cultivate Festival" will be held in Chicago's Lincoln Park. It's the second annual event presented in Chicago.

"Last year we had about 16,000 people attend the event," said Scott Robinson, marketing consultant for Chipotle.

"We're calling this a food, music and ideas festival," he said, adding that while food is in the forefront, all the other components blend to make it a unique festival.

"What makes it different is the ideas (or educational) part of it," Robinson explained. "We want people to take something away from the festival."

Robinson said attendees will learn about the food provided by local farmers; how chefs are working more with organic foods and providing more quality products to customers; various food issues and other subjects. "And we want to do this in a fun way," he said.

Throughout the festival, guests will find five experience tents where they'll learn about such things as avocado farming, textiles, pig to pasture issues, farm facts and more.

Beer and wine purveyors will also be in the spotlight, including Munster's own Three Floyd's Brewing.

"I'm excited about Three Floyd's being a part of this. It's one of my favorite breweries," said Robinson. Flossmoor Station, Goose Island, Founders, and New Holland are among beer and wine producers presented this year as well.

Various Chicago area chefs will also demonstrate dishes. Chefs include Paul Kahan of Blackbird, The Publican and Avec; Danny Grant of RIA; Matthias Merges of Yusho; Sarah Grueneberg of Spiaggia; Amanda Freitag of the series "Chopped" and "Iron Chef America," and others.

Musical entertainment will star performances by Gl Love and Special Sauce and Allen Stone.

Admission into the festival is free as are the chef demos, activities and live entertainment. Food and drink are available for purchase. Proceeds from the sale of beer and wine in the fest's Tasting Tent will benefit familyfarmed.org.

Chicago chef Matthias Merges of Yusho said he's honored to be joining other chefs for the event.

"I was asked to be a part of this by a friend of mine. Knowing that Chipotle is behind it (encouraged me)," Merges said.

The chef said he likes what Chipotle stands for with its emphasis on freshness and its food with integrity mission. The eatery puts the focus on sustainable practices with its food offerings.

Merges said his personal philosophy of cooking follows that line of thinking. "That's always the way I've cooked," he said.

"The chefs we picked and the local artisans, beer and wine vendors focus on local ingredients," said Robinson.

For the first time this year, Chipotle will also present a "Cultivate Festival" in Denver.

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