When severe storms and tornadoes ripped through Central Illinois last Sunday, hundreds of people lost their homes. We can’t imagine what losing our home and everything we owned could possibly feel like – let alone having that happen just 10 days before Thanksgiving.
Since then, numerous civic, community and volunteer groups have been building a support network to help storm victims. Many of us will never have to face a cataclysmic disaster like this in our lifetimes, but for those who do, any and all help is more than appreciated. If you’d like to help the relief efforts, here are some resource links to get started:
Jean Banchet Awards
Earlier this week, the nominees for this year’s Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence were announced. The talent pool in the Chicago restaurant community grows richer every year, and the awards provide an opportunity for culinary professionals to shine and be recognized.
The winners will be announced at the 17th Annual Gala Ball on January 31st at the Fairmont Hotel, which also plays hosts to an annual fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Buy tickets here.
And the nominees are:
Restaurant of the Year Acadia, Brindille, Embeya, Grace Chef of the Year Curtis Duffy (Grace), Carrie Nahabedian (NAHA), Paul Virant (Vie, Perennial Virant), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) Pastry Chef of the Year Lisa Bonjour (mk), Craig Harzewski (NAHA), Elissa Narow (Vie, Perennial Virant), Leigh Omilinsky (Cafe des Architectes) Best Chef de Cuisine Ali Ratcliffe-Bauer (Brindille), Andres Padilla (Topolobampo), Sean Pharr (NoMI Kitchen), Nicholas Romero (Grace) Rising Chef of the Year Thai Dang (Embeya), Nicole Pederson (Found), Tom Van Lente (TWO), Lee Wolen (The Lobby at the Peninsula Chicago) – Chef Wolen will be going to Boka in January. Rising Pastry Chef of the Year Dana Cree (Blackbird), Sarah Mispagel (Nightwood), Thomas Raquel (Acadia), Bobby Schaffer (Grace) Best New Restaurant Fat Rice, Found, Gather, Travelle, TWO Best Sommelier Valerie Cao (Grace), Chad Ellegood (NoMI Kitchen), Richard Hanauer (Langham, Chicago), Arthur Hon (Sepia) Best Mixologist Charles Joly (The Aviary), Paul McGee (Three Dots and a Dash), Danielle Pizzutillo (Embeya), Sergio Serna (The Drawing Room) Best Restaurant Design Balena, Boarding House, Brindille, Embeya Best Restaurant Service Balena, Grace, Nightwood, Sixteen
Congratulations to all those nominated!
…because you want s’more
When you start looking for some cozy winter treats, (soon!), you might want to check out Zagat’s recent list of Must-Try S’mores in Chicago. Their top ten picks range from donuts to ice cream renderings of the family favorite flavor.
Closest to the campfire classic, is Moto’s chocolate ganache, vanilla marshmallow and crumbled graham cracker version – roasted at table side.