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Truffled Lollipops and Caviar Hit it Big at StarChefs' Rising Stars Revue

Les Nomades chef Christopher Nugent prepared rabbit-squab torchon with sauce d'epice. Photo: BizBash

Les Nomades chef Christopher Nugent prepared rabbit-squab torchon with sauce d'epice.

Photo: BizBash

On Monday night, 14 local chefs, each of them named “Rising Stars” by Starchefs.com, set up shop on Trump International Hotel and Tower's 16th floor for the Rising Stars Revue. Kerrin Albert, events manager for the culinary Web site, planned the traveling event in four cities. (Besides Chicago, the revue takes place in Palm Beach, New York, and Las Vegas.) Working from her home base in New York required “a lot of phone calls, emails, and organizing from our end,” she said, adding that “the Trump property is an amazing partner, and they've made it an easy planning process.” Arranging for guests to follow a walk-around tasting path of lightest to heaviest foods and pairing each food station with a wine, Albert said that she intended for everything “to flow like a track.” We asked guests what stood out for them most about the event. (Spoiler alert: A lot of feedback was food-related.)

“I think this is fabulous. It's a great setting. And the hors d'oeuvres were great—I loved the trollipops [truffled lollipops].”
—Gus Holt, marketing manager, Icon

“The food is in two separate rooms, which doesn't seem to be that clear to people. I also wonder why some chefs are in the ballroom and others are in the smaller room—was it some sort of a lottery system?”
—Suzanne Carmel, freelance food writer

“I love the cocktails; I have to give props to the Violet Hour.” [Violet Hour mixologist Toby Maloney was on hand to shake up gin-based drinks.]
—Meghan Goulette, marketing manager, Gen Art Chicago

“I'm not a large fish eater, but I was drawn to the caviar. It was subtle and very good—I liked that best.”
—Gina Lovejoy, IT consultant, National Diagnostic Clinic

“This is a nice event and a little unique. I go to a lot of charity events, and this is something different—it's nice to see all the 'rising stars.'”
—Roslyn Ford, sales, Equinix

“As a lover of potatoes, I have to say that this dish that Christopher Nugent just did [the Les Nomades chef prepared a potato-topped torchon of rabbit and squab] was one of the best I've had. Very complex presentation.”
—William Dugan, owner, Wellfleet Restaurant

“This event is very well organized. It feels like a wonderful, comprehensive showcase. It gives the general public an opportunity that they may not otherwise have: to catch the personality and the culture of the menus from all these great restaurants and to recognize the 'rising stars.'”
—Tracy Monko, personal assistant to musician Rachel Barton Pine

“When you get together a group of chefs like this, for an event that's in Chicago, it just affirms what a great city this is.”
—Beth Kuczera, president, Equipment Dynamics Inc.

“Initially, the event didn't seem to be very well organized. When we arrived, no one could tell us where the V.I.P. event was—they didn't even seem to know that there was such a thing. But once we got in, everything was very nicely spaced out. I like that each dish is paired with a wine; usually, it's food and wine [presented separately].”
—Michael Murzaniski, partner, Central Steel Fabrications

“I think the food represented here is a complete representation of each chef's personality.”
—Rebecca Taras, marketing manager, Cornerstone Restaurant Group


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