My Suburban Life

Elmhurst University’s ‘Chicago Dish’ discussion to feature Bayless, celebrity chefs

Chef Rick Bayless

Chefs Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard and Beverly Kim are recognized throughout Chicago and beyond for their critically acclaimed restaurants and their culinary prowess on competition series such as “Top Chef.” They’ve also leveraged their fame and influence to benefit a range of charitable causes and will discuss their work at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at Elmhurst University.

The chefs will take part in “Chicago Dish: A Chefs Roundtable,” a discussion about creativity, challenge and using their seat at the table to advocate for others, according to a news release. The discussion, part of the Roland Quest Lecture Series, will be moderated by veteran food and culture reporter Monica Eng.

Bayless is known most widely for winning the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” His highly rated public television series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time” is broadcast coast to coast, and his Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo each received the Outstanding Restaurant of the Year designation from the James Beard Foundation.

As a philanthropist, Bayless established the Frontera Farmer Foundation to support small Midwestern farms. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago and founded Impact Culinary Training, a restaurant job readiness program on the city’s West Side. The government of Mexico has awarded Bayless the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefited Mexico and its people.

Izard is the executive chef and owner of four Chicago restaurants: Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat and Cabra, as well as bakery Sugargoat; and two Los Angeles restaurants: Girl & the Goat LA and Cabra LA. She is a 2013 James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes recipient and a 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef. Izard won “Iron Chef” in 2017, and was the winner of “Top Chef” in 2008. In 2020, she became board chair at Equality Should Be Normal, a group that works to eradicate racism by providing educational opportunities and aiding people in need.

Kim is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur who was a contestant on “Top Chef” in 2011 and co-owns the Michelin-starred Parachute and Wherewithall restaurants in Chicago. As one of the few female chef/owners in the industry, she started a nonprofit organization during the pandemic. The Abundance Setting addresses gender inequality in the culinary and hospitality fields. The Chicago Tribune awarded The Abundance Setting the Best New Industry Resource of 2020, and her leadership is featured in the October 2021 issue of “Bon Appetit” magazine.

Eng is a veteran Chicago journalist who specializes in food, health and culture. One of two senior reporters at Axios Chicago, Eng wrote and edited at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ for three decades. Her work covering chefs, food policy, food culture and Chicago restaurants has been nominated for five James Beard Awards.

Cookbooks by the chefs will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow the lecture.

The event will be presented in the Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst (elmhurst.edu/campusmap). Admission is $20 for the public and free for Elmhurst University students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available by visiting elmhurst.edu/cultural. The event is sponsored, in part, by Chicago magazine.

On the night of the event, Phi Mu sorority will conduct a food drive to benefit the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry. Event attendees are encouraged to bring an item to donate. A list of the most-needed items is at eyfp.org/food-drive.