Choose Chicago and Illinois Restaurant Association Welcome Return of James Beard Awards®

Chef Darnell Reed Luella’s Southern Popcorn.

 In honor of the occasion, Choose Chicago, Illinois Restaurant Association, and Here Here Market collaborate on curated boxes in honor of Chicago’s James Beard Award-nominated chefs.

Chef Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde

Choose Chicago is partnering once again with the Illinois Restaurant Association in welcoming the James Beard Awards Presented by Capital One to Chicago Saturday, June 11 through Monday, June 13, 2022. Foodies and fans who are unable to join in the weekend-long celebrations can bring the ultimate taste of Chicago home starting June 1st with special orders of the Celebrate JBF Chicago Alumni Collection boxes, created in exclusive collaboration with Here Here Market, Gordon Food ServiceChoose Chicago, and the Illinois Restaurant Association.

The Celebrate JBF Chicago Alumni Collection boxes bring together a dream team of Chicago chefs in take-away form. Purchases will directly support both acclaimed local chefs and up-and-coming culinary talent through a dedicated scholarship offered by the James Beard Foundation. Imagine the ultimate foodie day with Mott St.’s Miso Caramel drizzled over waffles, followed by a bowl of Monteverde Gnocchetti for lunch’ Then it’s time for a munching intermission of Luella’s addictively crunchy Baye’s Mix Popcorn in between a Charles Joly-inspired happy hour and a fish taco dinner made with Chef Stephanie Izard’s This Little Goat Yucatan Everything Sauce or a yummy noodle dish featuring Mott St.’s sweet and savory Everything Sauce. 

Two box options include:

Sauce, Spice, & Everything Nice Box | RETAIL: $37 (shipping throughout most of the U.S.)

●       This Little Goat Tokyo Everything Sauce

●       Monteverde Lemon Pepper

●       GT Fish & Oyster Burn (green) Hot Sauce

●       Mott St. Everything Sauce

Charles Joly Crafthouse by Fortessa

Chicago Alumni Deluxe Edition | RETAIL: $73 (free shipping throughout most of the U.S.)

●       This Little Goat Yucatan Everything Sauce

●       Monteverde Gnocchetti

●       GT Fish & Oyster Smoulder (red) Hot Sauce

●       Mott St. Everything Sauce

●       Mott St. Miso Caramel

●       Luella Baye’s Mix Popcorn

●       Charles Joly Cocktail Jigger

To gain access to this exclusive collaboration visit Here Here Market: JBF Chicago Alumni CollectionTo learn more about the James Beard Awards weekend in Chicago, visit www.choosechicago.com/jbf

The James Beard Awards weekend in Chicago provides a particularly proud opportunity to celebrate the city’s vibrant hospitality community through a wide array of public events, including cross-country restaurant collaborations, education sessions, special menus, backyard BBQs, and now Here Here Market’s exclusive Celebrate JBF Chicago Alumni Collection boxes.

About Choose Chicago

JBF Sauce, Spice & Everything Nice

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit www.choosechicago.com and follow @choosechicago on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #CaptureChicagoExcitement

About Illinois Restaurant Association

Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The IRA owns and produces Chicago Gourmet – the annual food and wine festival uniting hundreds of restaurants, chefs and beverage experts for a weekend filled with food and drink tastings, entertainment and more. For more information, visit www.illinoisrestaurants.org and follow @illinoisrestaurants on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Here Here Market

Bill Kim, Mott St.

Here Here Market is an online marketplace for food and drink enthusiasts to discover and buy specialty products from chef-preneurs, small-batch artisans, and local product makers, delivered right to your door nationwide. Launched in 2021, Here Here Market’s mission is to support and enable culinary creators at any point in their journey through a platform to share their talent and products with the world. Co-founded by Disha Gulati and Nicholas Florek, Here Here Market is a woman, minority, and LGBTQ+ company based in Chicago with a goal to uplift a diverse community of culinary creators. For more information, visit www.hereheremarket.com and follow @hereheremkt on Facebook and Instagram.

About the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) celebrates and supports the people behind America’s food culture, while pushing for new standards in the restaurant industry to create a future where all have the opportunity to thrive. Established over 30 years ago, the Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives and is committed to supporting a resilient and flourishing industry that honors its diverse communities. By amplifying new voices, celebrating those leading the way, and supporting those on the path to do so, the Foundation is working to create a more equitable and sustainable future—what we call Good Food for Good™. 

As a 501c3 non-profit organization, JBF brings its mission to life through annual Awards, industry and community-focused initiatives and programs, advocacy, and events. Current programs include the Open For Good CampaignChef’s Bootcamp for Policy and ChangeBeard House FellowsLegacy NetworkScholarship ProgramsSmart Catch, and Women’s Leadership Programs. In addition, JBF celebrates the chefs and local independent restaurants at the heart of our communities with numerous events and partnerships nationwide throughout the year—including the Taste America culinary tour, JBF Greens events for foodies under 40, the soon-to-open Pier 57 Market Hall, food festivals, and more. For more information, subscribe to the digital newsletter Beard Bites and follow @beardfoundation on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinkedIn, and Clubhouse.

Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s Gnocchetti con Pesto

Serves 4

  • 1 pound Monteverde Gnocchetti Pasta
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 4 Tbs cold butter, unsalted, cubed
  • handful basil leaves
  • 1 cup Basil Pesto
  • 1/2 cup whole ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, preferably Italian

Bring a large pot of water to boil, season with kosher salt. Add the pasta to the water and cook 1 minute less than directions specify. Using a skimmer, remove cooked pasta from pot and place in a large sauce pot or sauté pan, along with a 1/4 cup of the pasta water over medium heat.  Stir cubed butter into the sauce until thickened. 

Add basil leaves and serve in bowls, then drizzle basil pesto on top (about 1/4 cup per bowl). Garnish each bowl with a few spoonfuls of ricotta, grated pecorino and toasted pine nuts.

Basil Pesto

Makes around 1 cup

  • 1 ounce basil leaves (3 cups loosely packed), preferably Genovese-style
  • 1 ounce parsley leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil (plus a touch more if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, like Maldon
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Place blender jar in freezer to chill. Meanwhile, submerge the herbs in a large bowl of cold water add a few ice cubes; let stand 5 minutes.

Using hands, gently lift leaves from water. Repeat again, using fresh cold water. Let soak for 15 minutes.  Remove blender jar from freezer. Place the garlic, salt and oil in the blender and blend until smooth.

Working in batches, lift herbs from water, shaking excess but not all water from leaves (a bit of water will make a smooth pesto) add to blender.  Blend using short pulses for each addition, just to breakdown the larger leaves (do not over-blend.) 

Finally, add the cheeses, and blend on medium high until smooth.  Remove and place over an ice bath and chill until cold.  Reserve for drizzling over your favorite pasta.

Flavors of the Sun: Middle Eastern Ingredients from a Century Old Family Business

“Herby and garlicky, with a bright jolt of sumac, this is everything you want in a one-pan meal,” says Christine Sahadi Whelan about her recipe for Sheet Pan Chicken with Sumac and Winter Squash.

         Whelan, a fourth-generation co-owner of Sahadi’s and a lifelong Brooklyn resident, grew up in the James Beard Award-winning specialty grocery store that first opened in 1898. A graduate of NYU with a Degree in Finance and International Business she also trained at the Institute for Culinary Education, she also made mamoul with Martha Stewart. She brings all this to the table as Sahadi’s Culinary Director and now with her new book, Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients with its more than 120 recipes. The flavors of the Middle East are just steps away from your kitchen with this book.

         Sahadi’s is truly a family affair. Both her children as well as her husband work at the store which is an integral part of their neighborhood and the city of New York as well. Their excellence was recognized as a true American Classic by the James Beard Foundation.

         Whelan notes that the ingredients in her Sheet Pan Chicken like many of the recipes in the book can easily be substituted.

         “Kabocha and delicata squash are good options because they don’t need to be peeled, but acorn squash or butternut work, too,” she says. “I sometimes use a couple of different kinds for visual interest. Either way, you’ll have folks wanting to eat directly from the pan the second you take this out of the oven.”

         The book is an amazing introduction to the wide variety of ingredients such as sumac, pomegranate molasses, aleppo black pepper, and halvah that are best sellers in the store. Whelan shows us how to use them in easily her accessible recipes that are a great way to learn the nuances of Middle Eastern cookery.

Warm Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing

“We are always happy to share recipes with customers who want to try their hand at our family favorites at home, but we love it even more when customers return the favor! This recipe is a variation on one that came to us from longtime patron Steve Marcus, who devised a hearty cauliflower side dish incorporating all his preferred Sahadi’s staples,” writes Whelan in the introduction to this recipe. “It’s well-spiced and tangy, with a hint of sweetness from dried apricots, and a nice cold-weather option when there aren’t a lot of fresh green veggies to choose from.”

SERVES 6 TO 8

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, full or low fat
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped Turkish apricots

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Cut the cauliflower into 2 in [5 cm] florets and mound on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with ¼ cup of the oil and the za’atar, ½ tsp of the salt, and the Aleppo pepper. Spread the cauliflower in a

single layer and roast, turning once or twice as it cooks, until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, whisk together the tahini, yogurt, remaining ¼ cup of olive oil, and the lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with the remaining ½ tsp of salt and the white pepper. Add 2

Tbsp of water to thin to drizzling consistency, adding more by the tsp as needed.

Add the warm cauliflower and toss to coat with the dressing. Gently stir in the parsley and apricots to distribute evenly. Serve warm.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sumac and Winter Squash

SERVES 6

  • 4 lb. chicken pieces, any combination
  • 3 Tbsp sumac
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated with a rasp
  • 1 cup [240 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 kabocha squash (or ½ kabocha squash and 1 acorn squash)
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano or thyme
  • 3 red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Pat the chicken pieces dry and, if you are using breasts, cut each in half to make 2 smaller pieces.

Whisk together 2 Tbsp of the sumac with the salt, dried thyme, dried oregano, and garlic in a large bowl. Add the oil and stir until well blended. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl, turning to coat them with the mixture, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the squash in half through the stem end and remove the seeds.  Cut the squash into ½ inch thick slices and arrange them in a single layer (or overlapping slightly) on a large baking sheet. Scatter the herb sprigs on top, reserving a few for serving. Arrange the chicken on top of the squash, skin-side up, leaving a bit of room between the pieces and tucking in red onion chunks here and there. Dot the lemon slices around the pan. Pour any remaining marinade over everything.

Roast in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Baste the chicken and squash with pan juices and continue to cook for 15 minutes, or until the skin is browned and the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sumac and the reserved herb sprigs. Serve directly from the baking sheet.

Sweet and Spicy Nut Brittle

“One of the best parts of working in this business is that I always have top quality nuts available for snacking or baking,” says Whelan. “This is a fun way I like to use them that also doubles as a nice holiday gift.

MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS  

  • 2 cups roasted unsalted mixed nuts (about 1/2 lb, coarsely chopped 11/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup Amaretto or bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

On a separate rimmed baking sheet, spread the nuts in a single layer and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl and cover to keep warm. (Warming the nuts helps the caramel flowover them more readily.)

In a 1 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, amaretto, honey, and butter. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, then continue to boil until the mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage).

Carefully pour the sugar mixture over the nuts and mix quickly with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, coating all the nuts. Immediately pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread in a thin layer.

Sprinkle with the Aleppo pepper and salt. Let cool completely, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

The above recipes are excerpted with permission from Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients (Chronicle Books, 2021) by Christine Sahadi Whalen. Photographs © 2021 by Kristin Teig