Calling all Chicago celebrity chefs: y’all need to get your shiz together. While summer food festivals around the country become increasingly popular, Chicago’s 32-year old anchor The Taste of Chicago is tanking. Partially to blame is the fact that the festival hasn’t had a revamp in its lifetime, while new ventures capitalize on trendy foodie-ism with high admission costs in exchange for free food and wine tasting and celebrity chef seminars with built-in meet and greets.
The Taste remains a free festival. With no private funding, sponsorships, or events management company overseeing it, the festival has lost some of its luster. Since the past three years have marked financial losses for the event, they’ve begun to charge for concerts, when the music was once free, and shortened the once ten day long festival into just a five days with twenty less restos in attendance.
We’re sure Chicago-based celebrity chefs carry the same warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia toward The Taste as a certain Braiser writer, and so perhaps it’s time to pony up and donate some of your time to making an appearance or two to boost the grand-daddy of all food festivals to its former glory? Stephanie Izard, Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Graham Elliott: we’re lookin’ at you, kids. Consider yourselves called out.
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