Chicago is quickly becoming one of the major food cities in the United States, and now it’s sporting one more foodie feather in its 1920’s-style fedora. It’s managed to smuggle the James Beard Foundation Awards out of New York in order to host the event at Chi-Town’s prestigious Civic Opera House, beginning in 2015.
This is great news for the Windy City’s Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who has been spearheading a campaign to drive tourism over the past few years. His efforts have largely been focused on the particular culinary delights Chicago has to offer. He said at the Millenium Park News Conference: “This is a recognition of what all of us have known locally and everybody will know worldwide: Chicago is a culinary capital.”
And while Chicago has become the center of recent pizza-centric scientific studies that analyze the merits of their deep dish cheese pie versus those of New York’s hand tossed species, there is more going on than just pizza. Chicago is home to over 40 JBF award-winning eateries, including joints owned by Rick Bayless, Dave Beran, and the sorely-missed Charlie Trotter.
Speaking of the decision to move the significant ceremony to Chicago, James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro said, “In a city with this many James Beard chefs and award winners, everybody is guaranteed to eat great. I know I have.”
Next year’s event will be the first time the so-called “Oscars of Food” have been held outside of New York in its 25-year history. However, there are no plans to move the JBF headquarters out of the Big Apple any time soon.
The ceremony is set to take place on May 4, 2015, which is plenty of time for Chicago to prove to the world that it deserves the honor.