See Top Chef’s Grayson Schmitz’s First Chicago Event

A few weeks ago we had the word that Top Chef contestant Grayson Schmitz, who’s worked for the likes of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Fabio Trabocchi in New York, was moving to Chicago to open a “salon.” That’s still very much in the development/business plan stage, she says, but in the meantime the bubbly-yet-focused Schmitz and her near-lookalike sister Olivia participated in the first of a series of events which will introduce her to Chicago over the coming months. And this time, the Top Chef challenge shoe was on the diner’s foot. Put on by 5 Rabbit brewery and held at Logan Square Kitchen, it was a dinner pairing four courses with four of 5 Rabbit’s beers— but the diners had to cook the four courses themselves under Schmitz’s guidance. The party of 35 guests divided into four groups, making pretzels with a beer and cheese dipping sauce, fish tacos, a crab salad and cupcakes with a beer, coconut and lime frosting. Apprehensive at first, the mostly-strangers crowd fell into cooking in large quantities in a professional space pretty easily and with little friction. In the end we as a group didn’t do a bad job of finishing all four dishes at roughly the same time, which as any Top Chef fan knows, is something professional cooks don’t always manage. Our slideshow of Top Chef: Logan Square is below.

Randy Mosher and Andrés Araya of 5 Rabbit Cerviceria, at Logan Square Kitchen.
Chef Grayson Schmitz surveys the recruits to her kitchen.
Team Pretzel examines the recipe.
Rolling the perfect pretzel.
Team Crab Salad slices and dices.
Chef Grayson examines the quality of the fried shallots to top the crab salad.
Chef’s sister Olivia starts the beer and cheese sauce for the pretzels.
Boiling the pretzels.
Team Cupcake fills the molds.
Okay, so they’re not going to be soft pretzels now, but dark crispy Dutch pretzels.
Team Fish Tacos starts assembling the pieces. This dish turned out to take the longest, even with Chef working the line.
Cupcakes cooled, Team Cupcake initiates coconut-lime-5 Lizard frosting.
Crab salad is ready to go to the tables.
Lime-coconut-beer cupcakes.
The beer pairings.
See Top Chef’s Grayson Schmitz’s First Chicago Event