Chefs Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard and Beverly Kim are recognized throughout Chicago and beyond for their critically acclaimed restaurants and their culinary prowess on competition series like Top Chef.
They’ve also leveraged their fame and influence to benefit a range of charitable causes. On Thursday, Oct. 6, the chefs will come to Elmhurst University for “Chicago Dish: A Chefs Roundtable,” a lively discussion about creativity, challenge, and using their seat at the table to advocate for others. The discussion, part of the Roland Quest Lecture Series, will be moderated by veteran food and culture reporter Monica Eng.
More about the Roundtable participants:
Rick Bayless is known most widely for winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. His highly rated public television series, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, is broadcast coast to coast, and his Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” designation from the James Beard Foundation. As a philanthropist, Bayless established the Frontera Farmer Foundation to support small Midwestern farms. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago; and founded Impact Culinary Training, a restaurant job readiness program on the city’s West Side. The Government of Mexico awarded Bayless the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people.
Stephanie Izard is the executive chef and owner of five Chicago restaurants: Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat, Cabra, as well as bakery Sugargoat; and two Los Angeles restaurants, Girl & the Goat LA and Cabra LA. She is a 2013 James Beard “Best Chef: Great Lakes” recipient and a 2011 Food & Wine “Best New Chef.” Izard also won Iron Chef in 2017 and was the winner of Top Chef in 2008. In 2020, she became board chair at Equality Should Be Normal, a group that works to eradicate anti-Black racism by providing educational opportunities and aiding people in need.
Beverly Kim is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur who was a contestant on Top Chef in 2011 and co-owns the Michelin-starred Parachute and Wherewithall restaurants in Chicago. As one of the few female chef/owners in the industry, she started a nonprofit organization during the pandemic, The Abundance Setting, to address gender inequality in the culinary and hospitality fields. The Chicago Tribune awarded The Abundance Setting “Best New Industry Resource” of 2020, and her leadership is featured in the October 2021 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
Monica Eng is a veteran Chicago journalist who specializes in food, health and culture. Currently one of two senior reporters at Axios Chicago, Eng wrote and edited at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ for three decades. Her work covering chefs, food policy, food culture and Chicago restaurants has been nominated for five James Beard Awards.
Cookbooks by the chefs will be available for purchase, and a book signing will follow the lecture.
“Chicago Dish: A Chefs Roundtable” will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. Admission is $20 for the general public and free for Elmhurst University students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available using the link below. Sponsored in part by Chicago magazine.
On the night of the event, Phi Mu sorority will be conducting a food drive to benefit the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry, so event attendees are encouraged to bring an item to donate. A list of most-needed items is at eyfp.org/food-drive.
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