Once again, on Saturday we will throw open the doors of the UIC Forum and welcome the general public to our Good Food Festival — our big, family-friendly celebration of the fast-growing Good Food movement.
Here are just some of the best reasons to attend the Festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Free Admission: Let’s start with the breaking news… for the first time, admission to the Good Food Festival is free! All you have to do is register on the Ticket page on this website. Donations will be welcome, of course, but in keeping with our motto of Good Food on Every Table, we want to make sure everyone with an interest in better eating can attend.
- Good Food Chef of the Year: FamilyFarmed will present its 2017 Good Food Chef of the Year award to Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken, whose delicious food — much of it locally and sustainably sourced — comes with a large side of social conscience. Christine and Josh will conduct a chef demo on our Chefs at Play stage after a brief awards ceremony.
- And More Great Chef Demos: As always, our Chefs at Play stage will feature some of Chicago’s biggest culinary stars. Along with the Honey Butter Fried Chicken chefs, the lineup includes Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurant group, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year; Rob Levitt, the award-winning head butcher at The Butcher & Larder at Local Foods; Paula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Company; and Aaron Lirette of Green River. And there will be an amazing demo by the Artisan Grain Collaborative on growing and milling artisan grain — and then baking the flour into delicious, locally sourced sourdough bread.
- Food and Health: With the medical community taking bigger steps to integrate food and nutrition into their thinking on health care, we will present great panel on Good Food is Good Medicine and Mood and Food.
- Family-Friendly Fun: We always encourage parents to bring their children, and accommodate them with kid-friendly programming. Purple Asparagus will do a presentation on the Chefs at Play stage, with Chef Tom Van Lente, on its efforts to bring fun food programs to classrooms, followed by a panel on Good Food Programs in Schools.
- Urban Farm Bus Tour: For a ticket charge, you can go offsite and visit three new cutting-edge urban farms. This year’s tour will be led by Breanne Heath, certified organic farm owner, certified horticulturist, Edible Garden educator and garden manager.
- The Organic Valley Good Food Commons: Cultivate your curiosity and learn new skills at informal, 20-minute micro-workshops.
- The Exhibit Hall! And spend some leisurely time with the dozens of vendors, many of whom will be sampling their delicious foods — and will have products for sale (we urge you to do some food shopping while you’re there!). For a meal, visit our Good Food Court, where great local eateries will have items for sale.
Be part of a live broadcast of The Mike Nowak Show on 1590 WCGO Radio! Mike and co-host Peggy Malecki educate and entertain as they chat with Good Food Festival speakers, chefs, exhibitors and special guests. You will have a chance to ask questions on-air and be part of the program. The Mike Nowak Show is heard Saturdays at 10am on 1590 AM in the Chicago area, with live streaming at www.1590wcgo.com and on various smartphone apps. Podcasts at www.mikenowak.net. Stop by to catch the conversation live on the concourse.
Cultivate your curiosity and learn new skills at informal, 20-minute micro-workshops. Topics include growing and preserving; cooking and culinary techniques; composting; raising animals; and ways to build and strengthen the Good Food movement in our communities. Come ready to learn and bring your questions! Learn from workshops in five great tracks: Raise Your Own!, Make Your Own!, Grow Your Own!, Compost It! and Community Building or download the full Organic Valley Good Food Commons schedule.
Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken are the co-recipients of FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Chef of the Year Award. Honey Butter Fried Chicken, located in the Avondale neighborhood, has been a star of the Chicago fast-casual scene since it opened in 2013. And Christine and Josh have received well-deserved attention for their Good Food principles, including local and sustainable sourcing, fair and inclusive treatment of their workers, and their social conscience embodied in the fact that Honey Butter was the first in Chicago to declare itself a “Sanctuary Restaurant.”
After the award ceremony, Christine and Josh will conduct a cooking demo that will kick off our Chefs at Play program on the main stage.
FamilyFarmed presents its Good Food Chef of the Year Award to a culinary star who shares our principles for a better, healthier, more sustainable and more economically productive food system. Past winners are Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurant group, Paul Fehribach of Big Jones restaurant; and Paul Kahan of the One Off Hospitality Group.
How food impacts mood, behavior and learning.
As Hoosier Mama’s old-timey slogan goes, “Save Your Fork, There’s Pie.” Hoosier Mama Pie Company has been one of the Chicago area’s most popular bakers since it opened in 2009, in part because of Haney’s dedication to artisan ingredients. Along with two restaurants, Hoosier Mama Pie is a longtime vendor at Chicago’s Green City Market.
The best way to instill good lifetime eating habits is to start when children are very young. Experts and advocates who bring food education to classroom will discuss at an engaging panel discussion.
It is vital for consumers to factor species sustainability into their seafood choices, and programs such as Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium have greatly raised public awareness. This panel will help guide you on best choices and how to find sustainable seafood.
Chicago is recognized as a national center for urban agriculture and innovative growing practices. This panel will discuss how urban farming contributes to the economy, environment, health and culture of our cities.
Green River, in downtown’s Streeterville neighborhood, opened in 2015 and made its first splash with its mixology program. But the excellent cooking by Aaron Lirette and his team soon received the attention it deserved from diners — and from the Michelin restaurant guide, which gave Green River a coveted star. Green River‘s website says Aaron’s “culinary philosophy stems from his commitment to working with local purveyors.”
The Artisan Grain Collaborative will showcase and demonstrate the process of milling locally grown wheat — and baking a sourdough bread! We will present an up-close opportunity to see and learn the traditional methods of stone milling wheat into flour, and using that flour to bake a healthy and locally sourced loaf of artisan bread. Learn from Gilbert Williams, Lonesome Stone Mill; Dave Miller, Baker Miller;
Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread.
One of the most shocking statistics about our food system is that upwards to 40 percent the food we produce goes to waste. This is a rising issue of concern, and innovators — such as the participants on this panel — are developing ways to reduce this number while providing access to better food for those in need.
Medical training in the United States typically focuses on treating symptoms of illness, and has been lacking in a crucial element — the impact of food on health. But there is rising interest in “integrative medicine” and other approaches that factor food into efforts to prevent illness. This important subject makes this a can’t-miss panel.
Maintaining the health of our nation’s soils is a vital factor in a sustainable future for our agriculture. This panel will discuss the challenges to soil health, what is being done to address them, and soil’s contribution to containing climate change
Rob Levitt studied at the Culinary Institute of America and was a highly regarded chef and restaurateur — before he shifted gears and opened The Butcher & Larder meat shop in 2011. The Butcher & Larder has become a Chicago Good Food icon a little more than five years, serving sustainably and humanely produced meat with a heaping helping of first-rate customer service. First located in a small store in the Noble Square neighborhood, The Butcher & Larder is now part of Bucktown’s Local Foods grocery store.
Rob is fresh off receiving a Good Food Award for charcuterie at a ceremony held in San Francisco in January.
Rick Bayless not only popularized regional Mexican food in the United States through his much-awarded restaurants, TV shows and cookbooks — he did so as a pioneer among chefs in the Good Food movement. He first helped small farmers from the region build a market in Chicago through his ingredient sourcing. Then, starting in 2003, his Frontera Farmer Foundation has provided what now amounts to nearly $2 million in grants to regional farmers to help them succeed.
Rick’s Frontera Farmer Foundation is collaborating with FamilyFarmed on a major fundraising event on April 30 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration will mark the 30th anniversary of Bayless’ landmark Frontera Grill. Rick also will participate on a timely panel titled “Does Good Food Need to Be Local?,” which will take place at 9:15 a.m. on Friday, March 17 during our Good Food Trade Show and Policy Conference, the middle day of our three-day Good Food Festival & Conference.