They're Firing Up the Pans at Annual Chicago Gourmet Festival

It's the sixth year to round up a who's who of Chicago culinary masters for three days of foodie heaven featuring more than 100 restaurants, 180 chefs, vintners, breweries, wine tasting and, best of all, live cooking demonstrations.

Photo via WGN TV Chef Takashi Yagihashi of Slurping Turtle restaurant, one of 180 top chefs presenting at the annual Chicago Gourmet festival. 

What could be better than a whole nest of world-class Chicago chefs putting the sizzle on your plate for a three-day stretch? Kitchen masters like Sarah Grueneberg of the downtown Italian four-star Spiaggia, named Chicago Chef of the Year at the 2011 Eater Awards, and Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey's personal chef for 10 years and the head of Table fifty-two in the Gold Coast, are part of a talented brew of 180 chefs presenting at the Bon Appétit-hosted event kicking off this Friday. 

The panel discussions on the main stage, from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, give you a chance to peek into trends, styles and methods. How about Original Culinary Gangsters of Chicago with Jimmy Bannos of the Purple Pig, or What We Learned from Julia Child with pastry chef Gale Gand of Tru? Get there early on Saturday and Sunday for the live cooking demonstrations and memorable smackdowns on the culinary stage. (Do not miss the taco smackdown. Just don't. And of course there's a meatball face-off with Doug Psaltis of RPM/Italian.) 

If we had to place a bet, we'd put odds that the Friday battle will need some crowd control: The Hamburger Hop burger showdown on Sept. 27 will have 15 chefs go to the mattresses for the Best Burger award at the Harris Theater Rooftop in Millennium Park. Tickets $115 (but you can pair with the Late Night Gourmet after-party, $50 separately or $150 combined). 

Chicago Gourmet, Sept. 27-29, in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St. For more information, check out the schedule of events. Ticket prices vary by event day and some are sold out, so check first. 

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