Chicago Gourmet: Chefs at Play

Chicago put itself on the front burner this past weekend with the inaugural Chicago Gourmet, a weekend-long festival of food and wine attended by chefs and sommeliers near and far. Special MenuPages correspondents Bridget Houlihan and Tammy Green, of the dining podcast Chicago Bites, were on the scene. From Sunday: Big names, big fun.

Art Smith’s shrimp and grits.

I think Gale Gand (of tru) and Art Smith (of Table 52) should start a TV show of their own so that they can cook together more often.

When they took the stage at Chicago Gourmet Sunday for a cooking demonstration, it was like getting a sneak peak into what that show would be like.

Both Gand and Smith are obviously at home in front of an audience because of the time they have spent in front of the camera, and they know how to put on a good show. They even had cookware prizes to give away! But there was also something more personal about their presentation.

The two friends cook together behind-the-scenes at events but rarely in public. Still, they know each other well. So Gand and Smith kicked things off by cracking open a bottle of wine. They raised a glass to Chicago Gourmet. Then they got busy helping each other cook.

Gand made apple fritters. And Smith whipped the egg whites for her. Smith made his famous shrimp and grits. And Gand helped with the sauce. Then they opened some champagne.

It was fun watching these two play in the kitchen! They share a love for food and cooking that’s positively contagious.

I wish they’d come cook in my kitchen. As it is, I’m about to go heat up leftovers in the microwave.—BRIDGET HOULIHAN

Gale Gand and Art Smith play in the kitchen.

[All photos by Tammy Green. All rights reserved.]

Chicago Gourmet: Chefs at Play