By Amy Tara Koch
August 26, 2015
Chicago Food & Wine Festival

Chicago is stepping up its food festival game. The city may love its hot dog, rib and pierogi fests, but on August 28, things will get decidedly more upscale. The Chicago Food & Wine Festival is helming a tour de culinary force, bringing top chefs, sommeliers and cocktail geniuses to Lincoln Park.

Food & Wine magazine (part of the Time Inc. family, which owns T+L)—in conjunction with Lollapalooza producer Charlie Jones, and chef Tim Love (of Texas’s White Elephant Saloon) will helm the inaugural festival, which features two days of tastings, demos, cocktail seminars, and separately ticketed events all spotlighting food trends and riffs on Chicago-centric flavors.

The lineup includes nationwide talent like Jimmy Bannos (The Purple Pig), Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), Jose Garces (Garces Group), Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia), Art Smith (Art and Soul), and many more. But we focused on the hometown talent, asking them what they’ll be cooking and what they’re most excited to taste from their culinary compatriots. Here’s what these Chicagoans had to say:

Kevin Hickey (Bottlefork, The Duck Inn)

“I will be serving Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Crispy Chorizo. And I’m excited to taste whatever Sarah Grueneberg is cooking—I can’t wait to eat at her new restaurant!"

Graham Elliot (Graham Elliott Bistro)

“I am so psyched to take part in this festival that will showcase the amazingly vibrant scene of Chicago, and am humbled to be cooking alongside such culinary luminaries as Rick Bayless and Tim Love. I'll be offering summertime on a plate: a simple roasted pork chop with a shaved fennel salad, pickled cherries and grilled peaches."

Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate) 

“On Friday night, I'll be cooking at Feast Under the Stars with a bunch of chefs, which is always very exciting. I love to look at the menu and then decide my dessert course based on everyone's dishes. Cooking seasonally is important for me, so this year I decided to use mint with anise hyssop. One of my farmers, Mike Werp, is growing petite anise hyssop especially for me for this dinner.

Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat, The Little Goat)

“I’ll be cooking a couple noodle dishes on Saturday during my demo that will be inspired by my new restaurant, Duck Duck Goat, which opens in the fall. I’m really looking forward to trying all of the chefs’ dishes at the Toast & Taste event Saturday evening.

I always enjoy when other amazing chefs from around the country come to Chicago, and this event has an amazing line up from Jonathan Waxman to Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to Tim Love.”

Tickets & Information

Single-day admission is $175; the Last Call, Toast & Taste and Feast Under the Stars events are $75, $225 and $225, respectively. An All-In Ticket, $550, will get you into everything. See the full line-up and purchase tickets here.

Amy Tara Koch is on the Chicago beat for Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter at @AmyTaraKoch and Instagram at @amytarakoch.