Announcing Imbibe & Inspire With Will Guidara And Kyle Connaughton


Hosted by the website of the same name, Imbibe & Inspire: The Roots of American Foodways will be an innovative culinary gathering on Sunday, September 29 on the shmancy rooftop of Hotel 71 in Chicago.

The website, Imbibe & Inspire, brings together leaders in the culinary industry in video interviews to share cocktails (imbibe) and stories about how they’ve gotten where they are in their careers (inspire). The inaugural event, an extension on that same theme, will include a day-long conference where chefs, spirit-makers, restaurateurs, and farmers deliver TED-like talks on the topic of the roots of America’s food culture.

While the names of participating chefs are being released slowly to build excitement for the September event, we have exclusive word that Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park is signed on, as well as Kyle Connaughton, the former head development chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen. Tickets for the speeches will cost $75.

The indulgent — and philanthropic — element of Imbibe & Inspire will be a dinner party hosted by the same industry leaders that are set to speak during the day. The aforementioned shmancy rooftop (which was Bruce Wayne’s apartment in Dark Knight, it’s that awesome) will be the backdrop for an intimate affair for no more than 75 people. Of the inspiration for his first-ever event, Imbibe & Inspire founder Stephen Torres told us:

“I think the dinner is just gonna be a fun way to get all these amazing minds together in one place, but the talks I’m making super affordable because I would love for young cooks to be able to come and listen to the ‘big boys’ of the culinary industry talk about the roots of why they do what they do. There’s been a lot said recently about young cooks’ ethics and their way of work[ing], and I think if through Imbibe & Inspire I can inspire them to do better, that’s a pretty cool feat in itself.”

The $500 ticket price will probably help to keep the dinner guest list under control, but proceeds go directly to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which is a personal priority for Torres.

“As a kid I really didn’t have the best diet and I was never really exposed to good food. My diet consisted of McDonald’s chicken McNugget Happy Meals, basically, so I really support what SOS does with No Kid Hungry. I think it’s so important to teach kids to eat properly and healthy.”

We’ll be sure to update as details on the event and the chefs on tap emerge. One thing we can guarantee: there will be no McNuggets.

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