From comfort food to the healthiest fare, Chicago Gourmet “Rock the Fork” proved that the city is a foodie’s paradise one bite at a time.
Sponsored by Bon Appetit and COUNTRY Financial, Chicago Gourmet is like a celebration for chefs and the city alike. With cooking demonstrations, food tastings, wine, beer and spirits the Millennium Park festival that’s held every year in September has become the city’s premier food festival.
“One of our key differentiators in our industry is that we continually nurture personal relationships with our clients,” said Joe Gergely, Agency Vice President at COUNTRY Financial. “To us, an individual who selects COUNTRY Financial as an insurance or financial services provider isn’t a number — she or he is a part of our community and we treat them as such.
Associating COUNTRY Financial with noteworthy events provides us with a platform to keep our name visible in the marketplace.”
The three-day festival gave Chicago Foodies, and visitors from around the country, a chance to get up close with celebrity chefs like Rick Bayless, Graham Elliot, Jeff Mauro and more while revealing in the food from local culinary stars like Chef Edward Kim from Mott Street (home of the 2017 Best Burger in Chicago according to Thrillist.com) and Chef Tony Priolo, who was a special guest for COUNTRY Financial from Chicago’s Piccolo Sogno who beat Bobby Flay at his own game.
“When we align with high profile events one of our goals is to create a money-can’t-buy experience — such as the private demonstration and reception with Chef Priolo,” Gergely said.
“As the owner of these experiences, we are able to give our representatives tickets that they in turn use for the purposes of client entertainment. It’s a win-win; our reps are rewarded for their hard work and clients are recognized as valued partners.”
Priolo created his famous pumpkin ravioli, which was the recipe he cooked and won with on “Beat Bobby Flay.”
His number one cooking tip?
“Get the best ingredients possible,” Chef Priolo said.
The best ingredients were certainly on display throughout the festival. From hanger steak and elote from ZED 451, to espresso pork belly from Sable Kitchen and Bar, confit suckling pig McMuffin from Henry Hill, Smoked Labneh from The Bristol, Calypso Beef Soup from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Nonna Meatballs from Formeto, double chocolate gelati from Marianos, almond sable cookie from Floriole and so much more – there wasn’t a bad dish to be found.
“Since there is certainly no shortage of events and properties to sponsor in Chicagoland, it can be challenging to zero-in on which opportunities we think will work well to meet our objectives,”Gergely said. “When COUNTRY Financial initially became involved with Chicago Gourmet in 2014, the farm-to-table concept in the restaurant industry was really gaining momentum. As a company, we are rooted in farming and anything that supports and highlights local farmers catches our attention. Plus, Chicago Gourmet offered a setting to connect with restauranteurs, chefs, and thousands of captive foodies — something no other event or entity in the area could do. All of this was very appealing and set Chicago Gourmet far apart from, say, more neighborhood-focused festivals and or large- scale music-related events.”
This is the 11th year for Chicago Gourmet, which is always held in September. Learn more about the festival on their website here.
Learn more about COUNTRY Financial and the services they offer here.
For more news and events, click here.