Who will cook at the First Bites Bash?
A few days ago Choose Chicago (the tourism org) announced the second annual First Bites Bash, the walk-around tasting event in Union Station's Great Hall that officially kicks off Restaurant Week. In that announcement, Dirk Flanigan (Henri, The Gage) was revealed as the evening's host. But who would the other 49 chefs be?
Normally I wouldn't care—these tasting events happen all the time. But the First Bites Bash is a little different, because it adds credibility to a concept that doesn't always get food obsessives excited. Restaurant Week can be akin to Valentine's Day, or New Year's Eve—that is, days when restaurants pump out the same meal en masse, sending the same plates to every table. These are nights not to experience the true nature of the restaurant.
But Choose Chicago seems to want to make Chicago's Restaurant Week a little more—sorry, but it's the best word—foodie. And judging from a few names appearing at the First Bite Bash, it's working.
So who are the chefs? The list—which could still morph and grow before the January 24th event—is below.
Brian Jupiter (Frontier)
Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno)
Alex Shalev (Cru)
Curtis Hawk (ZED 451)
Alvaro Zamudio (Kinzie Chophouse)
Lee Guidry (SushiSamba Rio)
Michael Ponzio (Bar Umbriago)
Peter Balodimas (Rosebud)
Michael Stewart (Roy's)
Daniel Marquis (Quay)
Aldo Ayala (Mercadito)
Jose Zetina (Pazzo's)
Ricardo Amaya (Zapatista)
Mark Rimkus (Flo & Santos)
Trevor Hoyte (IPO)
Ben Goodnick (Mon Ami Gabi)
Luis Vazquez (Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba)
Moreno Espinoza (Wildfire Restaurants)
Evandro Caregnato (Texas de Brazil)
Mark Steuer (Carriage House, The Bedford)
Greg Carso (Metropolitan Club)
William Johnson (Filini)
Matt Reichel (Berghoff)
Chon Reynozo (Berghoff)
Lee Ann Whippen (Chicago Q)
David Dworshak (Carnivale)
Filemon Ochoa (or Marcelino Rivera) (Tapas Valencia)
Alex Ageneau (Paris Club)
Tim Kirker (Bistrot Zinc)
Christian Fantoni (Phil Stefani's 437 Rush)
Luigi Garcia (Riva Crab House)
Victorio Moreno (Tuscany on Taylor)
Michael Dean Reynolds (Leopold)
Andrew Deuel (Tesori)