AMES, Iowa — Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. was proud and prominent at the 12th annual Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet “foodie” event Sept. 28. The Big Chill(i) Cook-Off, an entertaining competition featuring well-known Chicago chefs and local Chicago firefighters competing to see whose creations would reign supreme, was conducted by the Illinois Beef Association (IBA) Checkoff Division and the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC).
The event was held on the Harris Rooftop Theater near the lawn of Chicago’s popular Millennium Park and helped keep beef top-of-mind for both Chicagoland consumers and influential Chicago chefs. “IBIC finds value in investing checkoff dollars in densely populated food markets like Chicago,” shared Chris Freland, IBIC Executive Director. “It helps us to maximize our checkoff investments.”
A panel of judges, including NCBA Executive Chef Dave Zino and Illinois cattleman Scott Wetzell, helped rate the chili dishes. The winner was Chef Kevin Hickey of The Duck Inn whose creation was Jack’s Stolen Chili Recipe, which featured brisket chili with aged cheddar, homemade oyster crackers, scallions and duck chicharrones. Dishes were judged on a range of characteristics, including flavor, creativity and presentation.
“We were excited to be part of the Chicago Gourmet event,” said Jill Johnson, IBA Executive Vice-President. “It’s an honor to showcase beef in a format that highlights beef’s great taste. As we focus efforts in population-dense areas like Chicago, we discovered a vital market for the Beef Checkoff. Partnering with the Iowa Beef Industry Council was instrumental in the success of the event.”
— Iowa Beef Industry Council