On Saturday, March 17, the festival showcases Midwest artisan and farmer exhibitors and offers workshops on growing and making food, chef demos, family-friendly activities and speakers of interest to food lovers.
“Chefs at Play” cooking demos feature Bruce Sherman, North Pond Restaurant in Lincoln Park, Karyn Calabrese, Karyn’s Raw in Lincoln Park and Karyn’s Cooked in River North, Heather Terhune, Sable Kitchen & Bar in River North, Mark Mendez, Vera in the West Loop, and others, paired with local farmers.
Premium sessions include “The Whole Animal: Butchering and Sausage Making Demo” by Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder in West Town; “Preserving Food: A Four-Season Master Plan” with Zak Dolezal of Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake and others; and a bus tour of local urban and vertical farming.
The public festival launches with “Localicious,” food sampling pairing family farmers with chef-driven restaurants from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 16. Participating restaurants include: Autre Monde Cafe; Big Bowl, Big Jones, The Chicago Diner, City Provisions, Duke’s Ale House and Kitchen, Province, Trattoria No. 10, The Bedford, Saigon Sisters, Browntrout, Uncommon Ground and Revolution Brewing Co.
Preceding the public festival, two days of conferences will focus on the food industry. A Thursday, March 15, Financing Conference offers food producers and farmers a chance to learn about funding opportunities and connect with banks and investors. On Friday, March 16, a Tradeshow Conference and Policy Summit presents solutions to the challenges of local food sourcing and brings together food advocates and policy makers to discuss local food systems and food access.
Tickets range from $15 for the Saturday food fest only to $75 for “Localicious” to $250 for an all-conference pass.