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Chef Dinner Series

This new series of classes highlights our chefs and the food that inspires them! Get to know our chefs at these intimate dinners featuring dishes they have created for these special occasions. From sushi to regional fare, you'll learn how to make food you haven't experienced like this before as you get an inside look into our chefs' personalities and talents.

 Chef Dinner: Modern Mexican

It's true that some of the best Mexican food is street food, but the Modern Mexican movement is creating upscale, sophisticated dining experiences. It's about combining the bold flavors and ingredients of classic Mexican cuisine with European cooking techniques resulting in a vibrant approach.

Chef Rachel O'Brien wants to share her vision for this cuisine with you in a special Chef's Dinner. Rachel will take the respected and traditional elements of this timeless cuisine and twist them with her culinary curiosity and imagination to reinterpret Mexican cuisine in a contemporary, yet authentic way.

Menu Includes:

  • Ensalada de Camarones: Smoked Salsa Verde, Citrus Shrimp Salad

  • Deconstructed Tamales de Rajas con Queso: Mojo Rojo, Roasted Poblano, Chicharrón

  • Tacos de Carnitas with Fresh Tortillas, Pomegranate Guacamole and Esquites (Corn Salad)

  • Helado de Jalapeño: Jalapeño Ice Cream, Candied Chile, Churro

The evening will include step-by-step instructions as the chef cooks in front of you. Four hand-picked adult beverages will be paired with the meal and are available for an additional $40. All Chef Dinners have a 1-week cancellation.

Location: Merchandise Mart


Tuesday 3-28-17
6PM - 8:30PM



Chef Dinner: A Look Back at 20 Years of The Chopping Block with Shelley Young

20 years ago today, Chef Shelley Young opened the doors of The Chopping Block in a small cottage in Chicago's Lincoln Park. 20 years later, she is preparing a special and intimate dinner. In this limited seating event, Shelley will create a meal from her heart rather than recipes, full of local, seasonal ingredients that will showcase a myriad of cooking techniques. Shelley will be creating a menu personally designed with each guest's preferences and dietary restrictions in mind. Not knowing what she has planned for the evening is half the fun, but rest assured it will be a very personal experience! Shelley will pair her meal with specially designed adult beverages, of course. Join us for this special, intimate event to mark this momentous milestone personally with Shelley. 1-week cancellation policy.All Chef Dinners have a 1-week cancellation.

Location: Lincoln Square


Tuesday 4-4-17
6PM - 9PM



Chef Dinner: Italian Ciccihetti

Join Chef Lisa Counts as she transports you for the evening to the charming, "floating city" of Venice. Lisa will bring her passion for Italian food, and transform our kitchen into a Cicchetti (Chi-ke-tee) bar where you will enjoy a dynamic selection of Italian-style tapas that are typically served in traditional bars in northern Italy. The menu, served family-style at communal tables, will take your palate on a culinary adventure while you relish in conversing with your fellow diners and learning along the way. If you missed Chef Lisa's sold out Chef's Dinner last time, here's your chance to experience a demonstration-style meal like no other!

Menu Includes:

    • Marinated Olives and Black Pepper-Fennel Taralli (Crackers)

    • Caponata and Whipped Goat Cheese Grilled Crostini

    • Arancini (Stuffed Risotto Fritters) with Proscuitto, Peas, and Fontina Fonduta

    • Pan-Fried Polenta Cake with Marinara and Shaved Parmesan

    • Zucchini Fritters with Spicy Rock Shrimp and Tomatoes

    • Fried Polpette (Meatballs) with Arugula, Preserved Lemons and Capers

    • Calzones with Sausage, Peppers, Onions, Giardiniera and Mozzarella

    • Trio of Alcoholic Affogatos Including Coffee Liqueur with Pistachio Gelato, Amaretto with Vanilla Gelato and Limoncello with Italian Ice and Amaretti Cookies.

Four hand-picked adult beverages will be paired with the meal and are available for an additional $40. 1-week cancellation policy.

Location: Merchandise Mart


Tuesday 4-25-17
6PM - 9PM



Chef Dinner: Farmers' Spring Table

After a long Chicago winter, we eagerly await the coming of spring. Let's celebrate the arrival of longer, sunnier days with an inspiring and vegetarian plant-based meal with Chef Maria Clementi. Each course of this demonstration dinner will spotlight the delicacies of the spring harvest. Full of big flavors that carry a strong Mediterranean influence, this meal will be served tapas, or small plate style.

Menu Includes:

    • Sweet Potato-Stuffed Griddle Bread, Crushed Carrots with Harissa and Pistachios, Beet Caviar with Smoked Almonds, Sweet Fried Castelvetrano Olives and Pickled Spring Vegetables

    • Seasonal Vegetable Vodka Tempura with Cardamom-Lime Dipping Sauce and Spring Microgreens

    • Seared Wild Mushroom Herb Socca (Chickpea Flatbread) with Sweet Cashew Sour Crème, Orange and Edible Flowers

    • Char-Broiled Spring Asparagus with Poached Egg, Candied Lemon and Jalapeño Citrus Jelly

    • Caramelized Fennel Cappelletti (Stuffed Pasta) with Honey Grilled Figs and Farmers Cheese Ricotta

    • Fiddlehead Fern and Mushroom Ragout with Wild Ramps and Purple Rice Arugula Fritters

    • Lemon Almond Olive Oil Cake with Blackberry-Pepper Sorbet.

Please note that ingredients are subject to change depending on availability. Four hand-picked adult beverages will be paired with the meal and are available for an additional $40. 1-week cancellation policy.

Location: Merchandise Mart


Wednesday 5-31-17
6PM - 9PM



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