Fête Chicago Plans 4-Day Festival Devoted To Food (And See Us There)

When Fête Chicago made its debut before the holidays, it was much like other pop-up events featuring a selection of food and lifestyle items, many of them from well-known chefs and artisan producers. For its second event, however, Fête is aiming higher than shopping and eating alone (not that there’s anything against those). This spring’s four-day event will kick off with a night market on Thursday, April 4, featuring pop-up restaurants and packaged food items, but will continue through the weekend with a host of events celebrating Chicago’s food and design cultures, including tours (like of the studio where Alinea’s cool tableware and serving piece designs come from), symposiums with chefs like John Manion and Matthias Merges, an evening of food-related stories by local writers (including your Grub Street editor), the debut of locally-produced magazine Middlewest, and more. We spoke with Heather Sperling of Tasting Table, who’s one of the organizers about it; that and the schedule follow below.

So what made you want to do something with a broader take on food and design culture than a market?

We knew how to pull together an incredible group of chefs, artisans and designers for a market. This time, we wanted to do all that and more. So, inspired by events like The New Yorker Festival and the Chicago Humanities Festival, we expanded Fête to include talks and tours that allow people to delve further into the worlds and minds of local food and design innovators.

The philosophy of the event is the same as it’s always been: to provide access and inspiration, and to facilitate connections and dialogue. The talks and tours are extensions of what we’re getting at with the market— giving people a platform to share their work and ideas, and creating some unusual, exciting experiences.

And as for the market, it’s hands-down the best lineup I’ve ever seen. I’m downright giddy about all the talent, creativity and delicious food we’re going to pack into a single building on April 4th. Come hungry!

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Fête’s Spring 2013 edition is a weekend-long festival of Chicago’s dynamic food and design cultures, featuring a night market, talks, tastings, and tours.


THURSDAY, April 4, 2013

Fête Night Market
Ring in the weekend with a lively nighttime market featuring two floors of food and design. Come hungry: Grab dinner at pop-up restaurants from Ruxbin, Parson’s Chicken & Fish and Trenchermen; snacks from La Sirena Clandestina, Pecking Order, Pleasant House, Panozzo’s and more; sweets from Dana Cree (Blackbird), InterUrban and dozens of others. Sip complimentary Virtue Cider and 5 Rabbit beer, drink cocktails from Longman & Eagle and Local Wine & Spirits, and shop goods from 40 of the finest food and design artisans from Chicago and beyond (see the vendor list). A portion of the night market’s proceeds benefits Fresh Moves.

When: 5:30 - 10 p.m.
Where: Room 1520, 1520 W. Fulton St. (at Justine St.)
Admission: $5 (includes a complimentary glass of Virtue Cider or 5 Rabbit beer)
$15 (includes the complimentary drink plus two cocktails from Longman & Eagle’s pop-up bar). Buy tickets here.


FRIDAY, April 5, 2013

Adopting Cuisine: A Conversation with Matthias Merges (Yusho) and John Manion (La Sirena Clandestina) Led by Chandra Ram of Plate Magazine

Join two of the city’s most creative, ambitious chefs for a discussion highlighting the foreign cuisines they’ve adopted as their own. Taste Brazilian, Argentinian and Japanese bites as Ram leads the chefs in a conversation about their relationships with these inspiring culinary cultures.
When: 4:30 - 6 p.m.
Where: La Sirena Clandestina, 954 W. Fulton Market (at Morgan St.)
Admission: $20 (Ticket includes a variety of Brazilian, Argentine, and Japanese snacks from Yusho and La Sirena.) Buy tickets here.

Process and Raw Materials: Gillion Carrara, Kristin Mariani and INDO’s Linsey Burritt and Crystal Grover

The work of designers Gillion Carrara, Kristin Mariani, Linsey Burritt, and Crystal Grover takes shape in a variety of forms: metal jewelry, hard wood shaving brushes, leather garments, and installations composed of 100% recycled materials. Come join a discussion about the artists’ processes of transforming organic materials into works of art.
When: 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Where: Indo Projects, 1008 W. Randolph St. (at Morgan St.)
Admission: $12 (Ticket includes beer and bites.) Buy tickets here.

2nd Story Presents: Tales from the Table, featuring Ina Pinkney, Mike Gebert, Molly Each, and Jessica Young

Join the renowned story collective 2nd Story for a night of staged storytelling. Chef Ina Pinkney, Sky Full of Bacon’s Mike Gebert, Splash managing editor Molly Each, and storyteller Jessica Young take the stage to tell tales about taste, memory, and the role food plays in their lives.
When: Doors, 5:30 p.m.; show, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Ina’s, 1235 W. Randolph St. (at Racine Ave.)
Admission: $20 (Ticket includes appetizers prepared by The Breakfast Queen herself; cash bar.) Buy tickets here.


SATURDAY, April 6, 2013

Discovering the Plant: An Inside Look with Founder John Edel

Inside an old meat-packing facility lies one of the city’s — and country’s — most revolutionary food projects. Tour the innovative building, including its aquaponic farms and small food businesses, with the man who knows them best, founder John Edel. Sample products — and, for one day only, buy goods directly — from The Plant’s producers (Arize Kombucha, Peerless Bread & Jam, Pleasant House Bakery, and more).
When: 10:30 a.m. - noon
Where: The Plant, 1400 W. 46th St. (at Bishop St.)
Admission: $12 (Ticket includes samples and snacks from The Plant’s tenants.)

Buy tickets here.

Bridgeport Rising: A Conversation with Arthur Jackson (Pleasant House Bakery) and Ed Marszewski (Maria’s, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Proximity Magazine, Mash Tun Journal, Lumpen) Led by Chuck Sudo of Chicagoist

A neighborhood once notorious for its racially fraught past is now one of the most diverse in the city. A burgeoning food and design scene has taken root, fostering a deep sense of community. Two business owners who have paved the way speak to the nature of change, investing in community, and what’s to come. Journalist and Bridgeport resident Chuck Sudo leads the conversation.
When: 2 - 4 p.m.
Where: Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 S. Morgan St. (at 32nd St.)
Admission: $10 (Ticket includes pastries from Pleasant House Bakery and Maria’s ginger beer.)
Buy tickets here.

Studio Tour: A Rare Glimpse into the World of Crucial Detail

Columbia College design professor Kevin Henry leads an intimate conversation and studio tour with Martin Kastner, the groundbreaking tableware designer for Aviary, Next and Alinea (to name a few). Learn about Kastner’s process designing some of the most innovative tabletop pieces in the contemporary culinary scene.
When: 3:30 - 5 p.m.
Where: Crucial Detail, 2000 W. Carroll Ave. (at Damen Ave.)
Admission: $10
Buy tickets here.


SUNDAY, April 7, 2013

The Making of Middlewest: A Conversation with David Tamarkin, Erica Gannett and Sonnenzimmer

Celebrate the launch of Middlewest, the new semiannual food and recipe magazine from Time Out Chicago food critic David Tamarkin, photographer Erica Gannett and Chicago-based design duo Sonnenzimmer. Enjoy Tamarkin’s signature coffee cake while the founders discuss the creation and aesthetics of the publication and the current state of food media. Copies of Middlewest will be available to purchase on-site.
When: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Where: Rational Park, 2557 W. North Ave. (at Rockwell St.)
Admission: $10 (Ticket includes coffee and Middlewest’s coffee cake.)
Buy tickets here.

The Sea Inside: A Tour of Land and Sea Dept. with Longman & Eagle Co-owners Peter Toalson, Cody Hudson, and Robert McAdams, and Jon Martin of Mode Carpentry

Discover one of Chicago’s hidden creative nerve centers through the eyes of its founders. Experience a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the sprawling, dynamic Garfield Park space, along with a presentation about the team’s groundbreaking projects.
When: 2 - 4 p.m.
Where: Land and Sea Dept., 3124 W. Carroll Ave. (at Kedzie Ave.)
Admission: $10 (Ticket includes beer, Letherbee cocktails and samples from Longman & Eagle’s soon-to-launch Saturday Sausage Shop @ OSB.)
Buy tickets here.

Fête Chicago Plans 4-Day Festival Devoted To Food (And See Us There)