Friday, June 10, 2011

ANNOUNCING: Taste of the Nation Chicago 2011

The Grand Ballroom at night via Navy Pier.

Friends, the day is fast approaching. After last year's incredible party at the Aragon Ballroom, the question kept getting tossed around about what to do about the heat at the Aragon? Jokingly, we said, well why not move the event to Navy Pier. In our dreams, right? Never in a million years...

Or not. Two months from today exactly, guess what famous Chicago landmark we'll be taking over. Yup. That very same pier.

We've waited with bated breath to break the news, and today is finally the day we're spilling the beans. We're talking Navy Pier, in the Grand Ballroom, with more space than we could ever hope for, including an outdoor terrace that overlooks the water. Somehow, we're thinking air conditioning won't be so much of a problem this year... and if the weather cooperates, the outdoor terrace will be prime location to watch the Navy Pier fireworks. Just saying.

And back this year are favorites from year's past, including Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Terzo Piano), Paul Virant (Via, Perennial Virant), Mindy Segal (HotChocolate), Dale Levitski (Sprout), David Posey (Blackbird), Chris Pandel (The Bristol), Giuseppe Tentori (Boka, GT Fish and Oyster), Shawn McClain (Green Zebra), Jason Hammel (Lula, Nightwood), Michael Kornick (DMK, MK), Mark Steuer (The Bedford), Paul Fehribach (Big Jones), and Jared Van Camp (Old Town Social).

Yup, we have it all to ourselves via Art Hill.

Not to mention desserts from Jessie Oloroso (Black Dog Gelato), Paula Haney (Hoosier Mama Pie Co.),  and restaurant pastry chefs like Kady Yon (Boka, GT Fish and Oyster, Perennial Virant), Amanda Rockman (The Bristol), and Ben Roche (Moto) and more.

Tickets this year are $95 for presale General Admission, and $150 for VIP—but VIP sales have gone so well that today is the very last day to buy them. No joke, after today, individual VIP tickets will no longer be available. Get on the phone with your wife, husband, sister, or whoever and get that planning moving if you want to jump in on the VIP action, because you'll be kicking yourself later on if you miss out—and buy them here.

What to expect via Laura Meyer.

We'll have loads more of news to report back on soon, including the return of the chef ride-a-longs with Matt Maroni of Gaztro-Wagon—which means ticket give aways, a kick off party at La Colombe's yet-to-open West Loop cafe, big news about the event itself, and a couple other tricks we have up our sleeves leading up to the event itself. Be sure you're following us on twitter and Facebook, and check the blog regularly for updates from myself and Elizabeth Hamel of the Sun-Times, new this year to the Taste of the Nation committee!

Navy Pier, guys. I mean, come on. Not sure it gets much better than that...

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