Chicago Gourmet announces 2024 dates and a glitzy new theme, with chefs including Sujan Sarkar and Jenner Tomaska

Chicago Gourmet announces 2024 dates and a glitzy new theme, with chefs including Sujan Sarkar and Jenner Tomaska

The upscale food festival Chicago Gourmet returns to Millennium Park Sept. 26-29 with an equally upscale theme: “Fashion, Plated.”

Host chefs will collaborate with local businesses, restaurants and drink vendors in “a celebration of the seamless fusion of food and fashion,” according to the Illinois Restaurant Association.

The organization traditionally holds Chicago Gourmet on the fourth weekend of September in Millennium Park for four days, but this year the festival will include additional, as-yet-unannounced ancillary events. This will be the 17th iteration of the event since it began in 2008.

Association President and CEO Sam Toia continues to name Chicago the “culinary capital of the United States,” citing Chicago Gourmet as an example of why.

“In Chicago, we have everything,” Toia said. “You name it, we have it. New York might argue with me, but I still think we are (the culinary capital).”

Guests who attend Chicago Gourmet’s various individual sessions will be introduced to new chefs, old standbys, and high-end wines and spirits. Most returning events will take place in the usual location of the Harris Theater rooftop at Millennium Park with a stunning view of the Chicago Skyline.

Toia described how some chefs — Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard, Art Smith and Lorena Garcia — return year after year for the festival experience. But the Illinois Restaurant Association also works on developing relationships with up-and-coming restaurants and international chefs.

“Restaurants want to participate in Chicago Gourmet because they want to (get out there and) show the public their new menus or their new plates,” Toia said.

Over 100 chefs are slated to participate, including Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo), Marcos Carbajal (Tacqueria Chingon), Diana Davila (Mi Tocaya Antojeria), Margaret Park (Thattu), Joe Flamm (Rose Mary), Sujan Sarkar (Indienne), Jenner Tomaska (Esmé) and Lamar Moore (Bronzeville Winery).

Host chefs will be announced at a later date, but for now, many of the main events return from previous years.

Tacos & Tequilas ($120) on Sept. 26 promises colorful salsas and tortillas along with drinks and music.

Hamburger Hop ($130) on Sept. 27 brings back the fan-favorite burger competition, where chefs compete to win the celebrity-judged Hamburger Hop Award and the audience-judged People’s Choice. After the competition, attendees can choose to keep noshing, drinking and dancing at the Late Night Gourmet ($75) after-party from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Grand Cru ($255) on Sept. 28 takes inspiration from fashion sketchbooks with an afternoon “blackout party” or an evening “white party.”

Rise and Shine Gourmet ($105) on Sept. 29 is an afternoon event that will end the weekend with a reimagined brunch.

New this year will be a collaboration with local colleges that will see students making food-inspired fashion, as well as a “Best Dressed Dished” competition, where the public will vote on local chefs’ most beautiful dishes.

The festival will support the Illinois Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation, which supports the restaurant industry by investing in industry workers and young people in the city. The nonprofit has provided over $3.3 million in scholarships.

Tickets will be available starting July 23 at

This story has been updated to correct the number of years Chicago Gourmet has run.