If you like food, specifically good food, then you need to clear your calendar on March 24 for this year’s Good Food EXPO. The aptly named festival centers on local and sustainable food and a laundry list of culinary superstars will be in attendance. Forget the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen — the Good Food EXPO is in your own backyard. Here are four reasons you can’t miss it.
1. Monteverde’s Sarah Grueneberg will be there — need we say more?
Okay, we’ll say more. If you haven’t heard of Grueneberg yet, she’s the wildly talented chef and partner behind the truly spectacular handmade pastas at Monteverde. Oh, and she won the 2017 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” and Monteverde picked up the 2018 Jean Banchet “Restaurant of the Year” award. Before that, she was on “Top Chef” (no big deal) and the executive chef at the beloved Italian mecca Spiaggia. She’ll be receiving FamilyFarmed’s “Good Food Chef of the Year” award and will conduct a cooking demo. Run, don’t walk.
2. Three words: Vinegar. Master. Class.
If you’re even moderately interested in home cooking, you know that vinegar — or any form of acid — is a crucial component of delicious food. So don’t miss out on the Master Class about the culinary uses of vinegar (which requires a paid ticket), led by Michael Harlan Turkell, author of the exceptionally well-reviewed book “Acid Trip: Travels In the World of Vinegar.” Hey, if J. Kenji López-Alt, the managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of “The Food Lab,” says you should read it, go read it.
3. It’s the perfect opportunity for star-watching
It doesn’t stop at Grueneberg — there will be a number of other mega-chefs in attendance. Like, oh, some guy named Rick Bayless — the Mexican-food king of the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare (and a stable of ludicrously successful restaurants). Jean Banchet “Chef of the Year” award winner Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia and Proxi, and “Breakfast Queen” Ina Pinkney will also be there, along with other members of Chicago’s culinary elite.
4. It’s free!
Yes, you read that right: This massive, star-studded expo is entirely free. All you have to do is pre-register. That’s a serious deal considering the fact that attendees will be able to take part in workshops (choose from topics like reducing food waste, food as medicine, and more), watch celebrity chef demonstrations, participate in soil testing for your own gardening on the Organic Valley Good Food Commons, connect kids to food with the Purple Asparagus Kids’ Corner and Scavenger Hunt, eat at the Good Food Court, and much more. See you there!
Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry.