Food Festival Edition: Chicago Gourmet 2019, Lights, Camera, Napkins!

Lights, Camera, Napkins! “ Rain or shine it’s Chicago Gourmet time !”

Grey Skies are gonna clear up! Millennium Park.

It was a dark and rainy Friday night on the eve of the Chicago Gourmet. I had prayed and asked God, “please let the sunshine come out to play on the Chicago Gourmet festivities presented by Bon Appétit.” However, the grey clouds hovered over the city of Chicago’s Millennium Park, as the Illinois Restaurant Association prepared to set up over fifty exhibitor tents, water stations. and celebrity chef demo stages for the best annual outdoor food event of the year.  There were over 11,000 attendees, that came to taste the bites and the spirits.

 Then, Saturday morning arrived and volunteers and staff were ready to do their best to execute Chicago Gourmet, without any fears or cares for gloomy rainy weather, as the festival must go on! The demo shows, wine seminars, and exhibitors were ready to show off their talents, whether it rained or shined.  Chicago Gourmet brought had sunshine to the overcast day.   

When the gates opened for the festival, thousands upon thousands of attendees walked in and explored from tent to tent and bonded over food and spirits.  It grand sight to see both attendees and exhibitors enjoying the festivities. Food and wine helped us ignore the rain and muddy grounds. 

  People come from all over the place to attend this wonderful upscale festival because they know the best restaurants and spirits are here at Chicago Gourmet.  It was hospitality at its finest moments.  However, I had still hoped for a break in the clouds for a little sunlight to warm up the my face.

Then suddenly around 4:30 pm in the afternoon, the sun cames bursting forth with some light at the last hour of the festival before sunset.  I felt that bit of sun’s warmth.  It was beautiful sunsetting sunshine that had come through the clouds and I looked up and felt grateful for the moment of light.

How do I know so much about what goes on at Chicago Gourmet?  I’ve been a volunteer for the past five years and have witnessed and seen the dedication of participates. I’ve helped out in various tasks; in all sorts of ways to make sure everyone enjoyed what Chicago’s best restaurants offer, all in one place. I’ve been through the hot heat, humid forsaken days at Chicago Gourmet to the cold and rainy days that descends on Chicagoland this past weekend. Every year and every moment has been amazing and fun. To work hard for a day is rewarding and makes me enjoy and appreciate the festival even more!

As Sunday rolls in, I accept the rain will be pushing on through. I got the privilege to attend Chicago Gourmet as an attendee this time, how cool!  I flowed along from tent to tent and stage to stage tasting the culinary artistry bites, I noticed everybody having a great time walking through some muddy grounds. Chef’s made amazing food. We were glad to have extra-absorbent napkins, Vanity Fair that helped to wipe up our messes and spills.! Everyone needs a quality napkin for cleaning up messes.

Food to share and memories to make each year.  I’ve been both attendee and volunteer, giving me a sense of hard-working appreciation for the staff and sponsors, who make this festival go off without a hitch!   “Lights, Camera, Napkins” opened with sunshine despite the rain and it ends the last days of September at Chicago Gourmet.  So we cut to the next scene, come what may as Fall hits Chicago days. Chicago Gourmet showed me we can have a good time whether rain or shine we will have a good time!

Below are some of my memories that made this year shine! Along with these amazing chefs and exhibitors, we had major sponsors like Vanity Fair Napkins!

Some highlights of the “Chicago Gourmet, “Lights Camera Napkin!” Photography by  Daniel Yeo