September 2, 2011
Words & Photos by Lauren Pirritano
Chicago’s Street Food Artistry festival premiered Aug. 14, making its debut amidst the robust world of Chicago summer festivals.
Galleria Marchetti housed the event, which featured some of the city’s best street inspired food. The event included food trucks, tables set up by some of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, live music, art and classes geared toward honing attendees’ skills in the kitchen and behind the bar. It was also for a good cause; the festival held a silent auction, with proceeds going toward Chicago Street Musicians, Common Threads, and the University of Chicago Charter School.
Founders Patrice Perkins and Alicia August-Wright said that in organizing the event they were influenced by an admiration for art and an interest in the potential of good trucks in Chicago.
“We’ve really admired the arts performing arts and everything about chicago,” Perkins said. “But last year when the food trucks really started to blossom we realized the food trucks really are a form of art and we could tie it in with everything that we already loved, which was food performing and visual arts.”
Arrf Scarf, Bergsteins, NY Deli, Forever Yogurt, Macy’s Chefs A-Go-Go mobile, Mobi Munch Truck, Old School Root beer floats, and Puffs of Doom Cart were some of the food trucks in attendance.
Chicago’s food truck scene is on the come up, but it isn’t booming on the same level seen in other major cities like New York and Los Angeles. That’s why Perkins said she had a lot of respect for chefs at the festival.
“They definitely have a lot more to over come than some of the more traditional chefs with a brick and mortar restaurant,” she said.
The co-owner of the Bergsteins NY Deli truck, William Davis said the city should show food trucks more love.
“Right now they’re kinda making it hard to co-exist with other restaurants,” he said.
Aside from the trucks, patrons were presented with delectable options from tables set by some of the Windy City’s hottest restaurants. Chefs and representatives from Bistro One West, Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen, Dark Matter Coffee Company, e.leaven Food Company, Herby PoP shop, English Bar and Restaurant, Porkchop, and Wow Bao attended the event.
Chef Abel Cortez of e.leaven said he was satisfied with the event.
“I would definitely come back again next year,” said Cortez, whose establishment offers dishes inspired by a fusion of South American, French and American cuisine.
Food wasn’t the only thing served at the festival; there was also music, entertainment, and even kid-friendly activities. August-Wright said diversity was meant to be a focal point of the event.
It wouldn’t be a party without the music and entertainment provided by Chicago street musicians’ Meisha Herron, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, The Real Connection, Soul People, and H20 Soul. Geraldine Rodriguez Photography also contributed to the gig featuring a live photography exhibit titled “E.T. Meets Willy Wonka” where a model dressed in a costume made of candy.
Maya-Camille Broussard of The Three Peas Art Lounge also came out to celebrate street culture, bringing with her a small exhibit of street inspired painting and photographs many of which were created by Chicago artists. “We selected artists who pulled elements from their graffiti art experience and applied it to their style” said Broussard emphasizing the connection between high art and street art in the works of the artists feature in her gallery.
A private cooking class lead by Chef Julius Russell was also an option for VIPs. Even the kids were included in the festivities with a Kids cooking demo by Chef Eric Paul, the self-proclaimed “healthologist”. Covered in face paint children and their parents enjoyed a demonstration of how eating well isn’t just good for you, it can be fun too. That’s why the Guerrero family said they came out to the festival.
“We probably wouldn’t have been able to bring our son if the kids tent wasn’t there,” Mrs. Guerrero said.
Some VIP guests were treated to interactive, educational experience via a mixology class taught by Lynn House, the chief mixologist of Blackbird. She stressed the importance of incorporating fresh ingredients into drinks. With the aid of a few audience participants she concocted daiquiris, caipirissimas, and margaritas , all with natural and fresh ingredients. House told Flypaper that after working in the restaurant business for about 20 years she sought a way to be creative with her love of spirits and drinking in the world of fine dining.
“It all comes up from expression, it all ties together and makes sense to me,” she said, adding that “it was a really fun event.”
“I hope to be here next year,” she said.
The event proved to be a savory Success. Despite this being the first year for Street Food Artistry there was little hesitation on the part of foodie fans to come out and enjoy the local grub.