Chicago Keeps James Beard Annual Blockbuster, Causes Foodies Love in NWI and Harbor Country

The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception set for May 4th at the Lyric Opera house and almost sold out is apparently already enough of a success that the foundation has signed on for two more years.

James Beard Will Stay in 2016 and 2017: The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception set for May 4th at the Lyric Opera house and almost sold out is apparently already enough of a success that the foundation has signed on for two more years. Kind of reminds me of the hit television series on Netflix that gets signed for season two before the first episode of season one has aired. But, nevertheless, on Thursday, Mayor Emanuel; Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation (JBF); Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago; and Sam Toia, President and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, announced that the first JBF ceremony to be held outside of New York City (The event started in 1991.) would continue in Chicago for at least two more years.

Ever since JBF announced that it was coming to Chicago this year, everyone has been pretty excited and the event will include a dozen nationally-known chefs whose careers and restaurants are based in Chicago: Rich Melman, the largest and most enduring restaurateur; Rick Bayless, award-winning superstar of Mexican and South American cuisine; Grant Achatz, whose startling work at reconstructing and deconstructing meals has created a guru status around his cooking and Rich Kahan, another enduring symbol of the quest for quality ingredients, quality workmanship and quality dining experiences. As Mayor Emanuel said in his announcement yesterday: “Chicago has a rich history with the Foundation, delivering restaurant and chef winners 23 out of 24 years with more than 40 James Beard Award winners to date. We are so proud to be welcoming this most prestigious of events for two more years.”

The almost sold-out 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards presented by Lexus, will feature awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories, along with special achievement awards including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

“We received a groundswell of enthusiastic support from chefs, restaurateurs, and sponsors all across the country when we announced that the silver anniversary of the Awards would take place in Chicago,” Ungaro said. “The entire city of Chicago has proven to be a generous and creative partner in planning this year’s Awards. Returning for two more years is not only exciting, but offers continuity for even more opportunities for our Foundation’s most important event of the year.”

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Annual Wine & Dine for Save the Dunes at Miller Bakery Café on Sunday: The $47 menu to benefit Save the Dunes includes appetizers, all-you-can-eat dinner buffet and selected wines for $1 per glass. In a wonderful harbinger of Spring, you can have French Asparagus Soup with Leeks, Spinach, Carrots and Light Cream and entrees include grilled white fish, vegetable linguine and stuffed chicken breast. Sunday is also the Final Day of South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority’s restaurant week, so there are fixed price menus for lunch, dinner and brunch also available during the days leading up to the Dunes benefit. Reservations are required for this almost sold out event and

Tonight The Boxcar Buffet Celebrity Banquet: An event to benefit the New Buffalo Railroad Museum on Whittaker begins at 7pm. Skip's Restaurant will provide all-you-can-eat Prime Rib buffet, Garth Taylor of the School of American Music and the New Image Barbershop Quartet., will provide the music. Other entertainment includes a Live Auction and Silent Auction and Dee Dee Duhn, owner of Custom Imports will serve as our Celebrity Maitre D and Live Auctioneer. The Not-So-Famous but Oh-So-Fun Celebrity Servers feature dueling realtors and lenders this yea, including Betty Biernacki, Berkshire Hathaway Koenig Rubloff Realty Group: Harbor Country; Carol Brychta, Carol Brychta & Co Realtors; Karen Gear, New Buffalo Savings Bank; Mary Lou Johnson, Re/Max Harbor Country; Marlene Kramer, Security One Lending; Traci Lauricella, Lake Living Realty; Karen Poff, Horizon Bank; Pete Rahm, Keller Williams Realty; Cathy Smith, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; Mario Zarentello, @properties Harbor Country.

One hundred percent of the profits benefit the museum, seating is limited and the event is probably sold out. But maybe not the auction? Reservations can be purchased on the museum website: www.newbuffalorailroadmuseum.org or directly at the New Buffalo Railroad Museum, 530 S. Whittaker St. Ste. B, New Buffalo, Michigan, 49117. (269) 469-8010.