Chicago Gourmet Gives the City a Glimpse of Before Times

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A chef in a white jacket and grey apron holds up an empty brown eggshell.
Chicago Gourmet once again sold out this year.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Take a look at the scenes from this year’s festival, which continues to be scaled back

The scene at the 2022 Chicago Gourmet food festival was joyous as a sold-out crowd packed both sessions on Saturday, September 24 near Millenium Park. Chefs like Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), Joe Flamm (Rose Mary), and D’Andre Carter (Soul and Smoke) served bite-sized snacks ranging from pork belly to caviar to charcuterie.

All the action over the weekend was under the rooftop tent. There was no Grand Lawn where festgoers typically scatter around Millenium Park. Despite all the vendors confined above the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace, the crowd was energetic. The sun came out and the rain held off. This year’s fest began on Thursday with Tacos & Tequila, followed by Friday’s Hamburger Hop. Saturday featured the two Grand Cru sessions. Sunday, normally when another Grand Cru session would take place, featured a new Oktoberfest-inspired event: Prost! In the Park.

Chefs continued to cope with staffing challenges. Finding cooks to work a weekend festival is no easy feat when restaurants don’t have enough workers. Still, for some restaurant owners, Chicago Gourmet provides a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers, ones that can afford the festival’s $255 tickets.

Check out the photos of Saturday’s early session below. Next year’s event is scheduled for September 21 through 24.

A smiling woman pours red wine from a bottle into a stemmed glass.
Attendees were once more treated to wines from across the country.
A male chef uses a thin knife to shave meat off a cured pork leg.
This jamon from Bazaar Meats was served was caviar.
Stephanie Izard leans over a display table to talk to a woman in an orange jacket.
Stephanie Izard was present for Saturday and was a guest session at the Hamburger Hop.
Three chefs spoon ingredients into small clear plastic bowls lined up on a tabletop.
U.S. Foods Martin Cabrera and Beverly Kim of Parachute prepare for the crowd.
Two men eat and talk while standing under a big white tent filled with people.
Mariano’s has always been a big part of the fest.
A row of disposable trays shaped like cheeseboards hold a small bite of red meat with a small dollop of caviar and a sprig of green leaves.
Joe Flamm and three other chefs pose and smile in front of a sign that reads “Joe Flamm.”
Joe Flamm (right) and company served a pork belly that tasted like a backyard barbecue.
A woman in a brown jacket places meat on a plate for a woman in a black dress holding two empty wine glasses.
Did you know that wine goes well with fine meats and cheeses?
A group of people hand out cups of Bloody Marys from behind a table with a black cloth.
This was one tasty Bloody Mary.
A tiered metal tray holds small cups of poached shrimp in red cocktail sauce.
There was no octopus served, though here’s some shrimp cocktail.
A male chef zests something onto a row of small plates holding bites of food.
Chef Devon Quinn (Eden) serves up a dish.
A smiling woman pours red wine from a bottle into a stemmed glass.
This might be the pour of the day.
A woman arranges tasting bites on a black table decorated with layers of green rosemary sprigs and leaves.
Chef Daniel Boulud (background) visited from New York as part of a Lexus promotion.
A group of four people drink and chat happily beside a large white tent.
Shiny, happy people holding wine glasses.

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