Futures Industry Expo Party Offers Culinary Tour of Chicago Neighborhoods

Photo: Think Leigh Photography

The Futures Industry Association's Futures and Options Expo took place at the Hilton Chicago October 10 through 12, offering 5,200 international guests a look at new risk management products and trading tools—and offering, as well, a smorgasbord of international fare on Tuesday night. At Union Station, 1,700 expo attendees attended a reception hosted by CME Group Corporate Marketing with a “Taste of Chicago” theme.

“The goal of the event was to bring together members of the industry to network with their colleagues, and enjoy great food and fun,” said Lauren Martinez, manager of public affairs at CME Group. “Last year, our theme was global to highlight that CME Group is a global exchange. This year, we wanted to highlight Chicago as a global financial marketplace and the different cultures that make up this great international city.”

Martinez and her team tapped Kehoe Designs and Blue Plate Catering to help bring the theme to life in the downtown train station. “The design aimed to interweave the look and feel of actual Chicago neighborhoods with high-end, creative elements, representing some of the most popular communities,” said Lindsey Lider, an event producer at Kehoe. Thematic bars, lounge areas, and colorful lighting from Frost evoked six neighborhoodsl: Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown, Wrigleyville, the South Side, and downtown. 

Blue Plate created separate food stations for each mini neighborhood, and offerings ranged from Kung Pao chicken to fusili alfredo and gyro sandwiches. In the Wrigleyville and South-Side-inspired area, which had giant Cubs and White Sox logos, the Gaztro-Wagon food truck doled out cheeseburgers, stromboli, and roasted corn. It was the first time a food truck had appeared at an event inside the station, and the novelty was not lost on guests. “The food truck was the talk of the night,” Martinez said.

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