1st Annual Taste Talks in Chicago

October 9, 2014

Taste Talks, a weekend food symposium, launched in Chicago this past weekend, Friday, October 3rd– Sunday, October 5th.  The fest already completed two successful years in Brooklyn and is presented by chef, author, and entrepreneur Mario Batali. The Chicago fest was curated by local Chicagoan and James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Kahan.

The festival brought together some of the biggest names in food and drink, including writers, chefs, bakers, and brew masters, in an effort to discuss the "future of taste". The three-day festival featured panel discussions, underground dinners​ and an All-Star BBQ featuring some of the top chefs in Chicago and beyond.

There were so many fun and interesting seminars and dinners but I had to whittle it down to a couple of events due to my schedule. I stopped by the West Loop's Kaiser Tiger (awesome space, by the way) for a panel discussion titled, "The Wildest Brews in Town". The panel was led by Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting (who was a fantastic moderator), and he was joined by several local brewers to talk about progressive beers. The brewers included John Laffler of Off Color, Eric Olson of Marz Brewing, and Tim Faith of Goose Island. We even got to sample a beer from each of the three breweries. All three were Berliner Weiss style: Goose Island Lilith, Off Color Fierce, and Marz Bubbly Creek. My favorite was from Marz Brewing, which also happens to be the youngest brewery of the three. Their beer has Chardonnay grape juice added at the end, and a lactobacillus culture that is typically found in yogurt. Sounds gross, but don't knock it 'til ya try it!

"The Wildest Brews in Town" Panel
The other event I attended was the All-Star BBQ on Sunday in Palmer Square Park. The event included more than 20 top chefs and their best BBQ dishes. It was a perfect fall day and the park setting was awesome. We walked around to the numerous booths and were able to mingle with the chefs and hear more about the food. By the end of the day I was stuffed, mostly from several short rib dishes, roasted pork and decadent desserts.  Some of the chefs included Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Avec, Publican, Chicago), Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, Chicago), Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate, Chicago), Doug Psaltis (Bub City, Chicago), Edward Kim (Ruxbin & Mott Street, Chicago), Lee Wolen (Boka, Chicago), and Jeni Britton Bauer (Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Columbus, Ohio).

Check out the photos below of some of the seasonal fare we sampled and cross your fingers Taste Talks returns to Chicago next year!

Wood Grilled Porchetta from Bub City
Smoked Short Ribs from Paul Kahan
Grilled Fall Squash from BOKA 
Sherry & Vermouth Juice Pouches from Three Dots & a Dash
My Friend Lauren and Me Enjoying Our Juice Pouches 
Grilled Clam & Mussel Bruschetta from Girl & the Goat 
Korean BBQ Short Rib from Ruxbin/Mott St.
Intelligentsia Black Cat Sundae from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Note: I attended Taste Talks with a media pass; however, all opinions expressed herein are my own.


  1. Is the Black Cat Sundae available at Jeni's scoop shop?? It looks amazing!

  2. Yes ma'am! Here's what's included in the sundae:

    Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso ice cream
    Salty caramel sauce
    Salty graham gravel
    Chocolate blackout gravel


  3. Yummmmmm! Have to get there before it gets any colder...


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