Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago 2010

Official City of Chicago Press Releases:

Taste of Chicago Celebrates 30th Anniversary With Three Special Events

Taste of Chicago on WannabeTVchef.com1980 was a monumental year in Chicago’s culinary history; it was the year that Taste of Chicago was born. Now that number can mean monumental savings with Taste Restaurant Days, April 20-22, 2010.

“Taste is celebrating three decades so it seemed fitting to have three distinct preview events to whet the appetite for this summer’s festival,” said Megan McDonald, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. “First up is Taste Restaurant Days, April 20-22, which is not only a great way to tease that Taste is coming soon, but also a way to bring value to the consumer.”

Many of this year’s participating Taste food vendors will offer special prix fixe menus for $19.80. Others will mark the anniversary year with 30% off of special items, and some chose other creative ways to provide special deals in honor of Taste of Chicago’s 30th anniversary.

More than 30 of this year’s Taste of Chicago food vendors will participate in the three-day “preview” including many of the 11 new restaurants that will be at this year’s Taste.

The participating restaurants and their offers can be found on www.tasteofchicago.us. Merely print out the coupon or mention that you are requesting the Taste Restaurant Days offer on Tuesday-Thursday, April 20-22 and you will receive the discount that celebrates Taste’s 30th anniversary. You may go to as many locations as you wish within the three day promotion.

Coming in May to Prudential Plaza will be a public preview of Taste of Chicago, May 11 and 12. Participating Taste vendors will sell menu items that will be their offerings at this year’s Taste of Chicago. The lunch time crowds need not purchase food tickets as the booths will take cash. The Taste preview will be 11a.m. – 2p.m. while supplies last.

Lastly, those who enjoyed the Daley Plaza preview last year will have another opportunity to nosh on June 8 and 9, 11a.m.-2p.m. Again, cash will be collected for menu items.

The 30th Annual Taste of Chicago is June 25-July 4 in Grant Park. It is free admission but all food and beverage requires tickets. Tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8.00. Beginning June 19, participating Dominick’s locations will sell the strips for $6, maximum of four strips.

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Taste of Chicago Fans Feast on Musical Cornucopia
10 days of free music at Petrillo Music Shell, June 25-July 4

From rappers to the joker, the 30th Taste of Chicago once again provides a buffet of musical talent as varied as the menu when the free concerts take the stage at the Petrillo Music Shell, June 25 – July 4 in Grant Park.

On opening night, June 25, attendees can enjoy a Rap Down Rewind presented by the City of Chicago and V103. The all star lineup of rappers includes Salt-n-Pepa as well as Bell Biv Devoe with showtime beginning at 5:30p.m.

Taste of Chicago on WannabeTVchef.comOnce three quarters of New Edition, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens and Ronnie DeVoe branched out on their own after lead singer Bobby Brown departed from the group. The group realized its own success with a number three hit, “Poison” and have recently released singles via iTunes.

Rap’s first all-female crew, Salt-n-Pepa, broke down more than the gender barrier when they crossed over into pop. Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandy “Pepa” Denton were working at a Sears store in Queens, New York, when their co-worker, and Salt’s then boyfriend, asked them to rap on a song, that became an underground hit and a new team was born. “Salt”, “Pepa” and “Spinderella” will be together for this free performance.

Rounding out the bill is Rob Base, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, the first human beatbox in the rap world. Fresh’s hip-hop classic “The Show/La Di Da Di,” was recorded with his Get Fresh Crew, including MC Ricky D (who later became Slick Rick.)

The distinctive vocals of Gavin Rossdale in his new solo career, highlights the Saturday June 26 concert. Formerly a part of bands such as Bush and Institute, Rossdale’s first-ever solo album, Wanderlust included hits such as “Love Remains the Same” and “Forever May You Run.” The concert begins at 5:30p.m. with an opening act to be announced.

On Sunday afternoon, June 27, the young people take over with a show presented by the City of Chicago and Radio Disney. Most might know Emily Osment from her work as Lilly Truscott on “Hannah Montana” but the latest chapter in her life is all about music. Osment’s All the Right Wrongs displays fully her abilities as a singer and songwriter.

The excitement will begin at 3p.m. when Allstar Weekend takes the stage opening for Osment.
Cameron, Zach, Michael and Nathan may still be teenagers, but they write and perform pop songs like musical veterans.

Partnering once again with Taste of Chicago is Broadway in Chicago. This Monday night tradition will offer a Taste of Broadway in Chicago headlined by the cast of Chicago’s own BILLY ELLIOT, as well as SHREK, WICKED, ROCK OF AGES, TRACES, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET and others. The Broadway In Chicago Concert at Taste of Chicago begins at 6p.m.

This year at Taste, it’s two for Tuesday….or rather Dos for Tuesday, June 29. Co-headliners Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos may have entered the music scene a generation apart but they share a musical style that displays their multiple influences including rock and their respective heritages. Show starts at 5:30p.m.

In just four short years, Wednesday’s performer Mat Kearney has gone from opening act to headliner at Taste. Kearney’s latest album, City of Black & White, is reflective of that time when Oregon born and Nashville based singer was on the road in support of his break-through recording. Opening for Kearney is singer songwriter Brett Dennen whose songs have already been featured on shows such as House and Grey’s Anatomy. Music begins at 5:30p.m.

Grammy® nominated for Best Male R&B performance, the Thursday, July 1 headliner Trey Songz is enjoying tremendous success with his latest album, Ready. Already the record has yielded four top 10 hits on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop singles chart and he sure to perform them at his free concert at Taste. Opening for Songz at 5:30p.m. is singer/songwriter, Teairra Mari in an evening presented by the City of Chicago and WGCI.

Taste’s final weekend kicks off with one of the most accomplished singer/songwriters of the last decade, Rob Thomas. From his work as lead singer for Matchbox Twenty to his various collaborations with artists such as Santana, plus his solo work including newest release cradlesong, Thomas brings his creativity to Taste for a free concert on Friday, July 2, that begins at 5:30p.m. presented by the City of Chicago and Bud Light.

Fresh on the heels of the band’s first studio album in 17 years, Bingo, the Steve Miller Band takes over the bandshell on Saturday, July 3 at 3p.m. Harkening back to the band’s roots in blues music, the return to Chicago and its premier summer event is the perfect setting for Miller. But sure to be included is the band’s collection of greatest hits such as “Take the Money and Run,” “Jet Airliner,” “The Joker” and “Fly Like An Eagle”…the space cowboy will not disappoint.

Taste of Chicago will wrap its free concert series on Sunday, July 4 with a triple bill presented by the City of Chicago and 93XRT beginning at 1p.m. Concert details to be announced.

For more information on Taste of Chicago, visit www.tasteofchicago.us or call the event hotline, 312.744.3370 or TTY: 312.744.4964. For more information on Chicago, including help planning your trip, visit www.explorechicago.org.
For more information and complete line ups of the free entertainment areas at Taste, visit www.tasteofchicago.us.

Taste of Chicago is presented by the City of Chicago, produced by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and sponsored by American InterContinental University, Best Buy, Bud Light, Chicago Brick Oven, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-ChicagoLand’s Television, Communications Direct, Dominick’s, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Essex Inn Chicago, Gallo Family Vineyards, Hinckley Springs, Humana, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Illinois Lottery, LaGrou Distribution System, Pepsi-Cola, Shoreline Sightseeing, United Airlines, V-103, 93XRT, WGCI FM, WGN-Television, Zagat Survey.

7 Questions with Natalie Slater

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

The world of food is filled with many colorful characters, most of whom sport personalities that are bigger than life.  There are ostentatious French chefs, food critics who wear disguises and even the odd food writer turned TV host.  All owe a certain amount of their fame to their inherent quirkiness.  Then there are the bloggers.

There are the Julie Powell’s who blog simply to bring the chaos of the modern world into focus and in so doing attain fame and fortune with a book followed by a movie.  Her name is now a verb.  EX: I’m going to start a blog about Popsicles and then I’m going to Julie Powell that sucker.  There are the Kamran Siddiqui’s who’s keen eye for food photography, gentle spirit and taste for exotic flavors have earned him a great deal of international notoriety; not bad for a high school student.  Who knows what the futures holds for this brilliant young man?

Natalie Slater on WannabeTVchef.comThen there is Natalie Slater of Chicago, a marketer by day and blogger by night.  Slater is unique, boisterous and infused with rock & roll intensity.  She owns no bakery, doesn’t work at a restaurant, has no fancy grand deplome from a stuffy French culinary academy.  What she does have, in addition to her sexcentric haircut and sleeves of ink, is an unapologetic sweet tooth.

Slater’s blog, Bake and Destroy, is an extension of her personality.  It is a hot pink and black leopard print of heavy metal cupcakery.  Just as Slater kicks in the door of the starched white world of baking with stiletto heels and fishnet stockings, B&D takes the light and delicate idea of dessert and straps it into the passenger seat of a ’67 Pontiac GTO, forces it to shotgun a Natty Light while outrunning the fuzz as Immortal blasts at an unhealthy volume.  Slater makes cake cool.

B&D is filled with recipes for Goth-themed pies and cupcakes brimming with sexual innuendo.  There is a call to arms to fight diseases, “Do you love cake, but hate cancer?”  And there are plenty of pictures of Slater modeling sexy and sassy aprons for her pals at Cupcake Provocateur.  It’s a horror picture with sprinkles and a chocolate pudding center.

Now that you have learned a little bit about the petit four pocket hottie now it’s time for her to answer 7 Questions:

1. How old were you when your self-proclaimed cake obsession started?

Natalie Slater on WannabeTVchef.comMy grandma bought me an EZ Bake Oven for my birthday one year – I’m guessing I was about four. My birthday is two weeks before Christmas and here was this little kid making everyone stop what they were doing to taste a cake she baked with a light-bulb. My gram suggested I bake one for baby Jesus’ birthday, and when it was done we left it out for him – it disappeared. I really believed he floated down and gobbled up the cake I made him. I guess I impressed myself at that point – Jesus likes my baking! From that point on my mom couldn’t bake so much as a blueberry muffin without me insisting on breaking the eggs or measuring the flour.

2. When did you start your blog, Bake and Destroy?

I started Bake and Destroy over four years ago when my son was newborn and I was working as a nanny. I was home all the time and baked to keep my sanity. The blog was a way for me to keep in touch with my friends – none of which had kids yet. I never imagined anyone besides those few people would read it.

3. You were a judge in the pilot episode of Cupcake Wars.  Can we expect to see you in future episodes?

I really doubt it. Originally they wanted me to compete and I told them they were nuts. 1000 cupcakes? No way dude! Then one night I had my son in the tub and one of the producers called me. She was like, “Natalie, this is boring, we need you.” I flew out the next morning. Unfortunately they felt the need to cover up all my tattoos for the show – no one knows why! One of the contestants had tons of tattoos! Anyway I just felt sweaty and uncomfortable, it was a bummer. I’d do it again if they asked on the condition that I can wear short sleeves. I’m from Chicago – it’s hot in LA!

4. I’m a savory guy so I am a little perplexed by the sheer volume of cake decorating shows on television.  To what do you attribute their phenomenal success?

Natalie Slater on Wannabe TV ChefI think, like tattoo shows, it’s a peek into a world that has existed forever but not many people were involved in. In the same vein, you get to watch people do things that you yourself may never be able to do. I do think they can move on now, though. I’m looking forward to Just Desserts- the pastry competition on Bravo. I’m ready for flavor to matter again.

5. Other than Cupcake Wars what cake shows do you enjoy?

I love Cake Boss. I think Sunshine is an unsung hero on that show, she’s so talented. And I’m Italian, so I can relate to all the yelling and hand waving.
It’s not a cake show, but one of my favorite pastry chefs Ben Roche has a show on Planet Green called Future Food. The stuff they do at Moto blows my mind.

6. So which would you rather have a cake decorated like a tattoo or a tattoo of a cake?

A cake tattoo! I’ve noticed that tattoo artists can render a great looking cake tattoo but cake artists aren’t so hot at tattoo cakes.

7. Your look, your personality and even your blog scream personality; what inspires you?

Well thank you. I have been told I burst from the womb shouting “Hey everyone! Look at me!” I draw from so many places – my beautiful city, my fearless son, all the classy TV shows I grew up on like pro wrestling, Married with Children and Headbangers Ball. My friends and family are a huge inspiration, I’m always looking to make them laugh or to embarrass them. So it’s easy- endless inspiration.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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