July 13, 2010

Mayor Daley Says "Chicago Gourmet" Raises City's Profile As Culinary Destination

Millennium Park Event Supports City’s Hospitality Industry, Which is Critical to Future of Local Economy
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Mayor Richard M. Daley said today the third “Chicago Gourmet” event, which will be held in Millennium Park September 25-26, draws attention to the City’s culinary heritage and supports Chicago’s hospitality industry, which generates more than $4 billion in payroll income and almost 132,000 jobs for Chicago area residents.

“As we look to transform Chicago’s economy so we can continue to compete globally, one of the biggest steps we have taken is to re-focus our ongoing workforce and education programs on fast-growing, future-oriented sectors of the economy such as the hospitality industry,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.
“We have undertaken many initiatives to enhance our position as a destination for travelers from everywhere, and ‘Chicago Gourmet’ fits perfectly into that strategy,” he said.
“Chicago Gourmet,” in its third year, was created by the Illinois Restaurant Association and the Anton Family Foundation to celebrate and honor Chicago’s culinary achievements and to highlight the city as an international culinary destination. This year, Bon Appetit Magazine has joined the event as title sponsor.
It brings together hundreds of the City’s top chefs, master sommeliers, winemakers, brewers, and distillers take part with the public in a variety of food, wine, spirits and beer tastings, celebrity chef demos, educational seminars, book signings and more.
Daley said that Chicago already is recognized as one of the world’s greatest cities for food and wine. For example, in May, the millions of travelers who use the “Trip Advisor.Com” web site chose Chicago as the 5th best food and wine destination in the world.
“That is an important message for us to communicate clearly all around the world, and ‘Chicago Gourmet’ helps us do that,” the Mayor said.
“Through the efforts of some of the greatest wine and food people in the world, we’ll draw attention to the diversity and vitality of our dining scene and our entire city,” he said.
Daley praised Chicago’s chefs as “truly creative artists’ who have already helped elevate Chicago’s profile and bring thousands of visitors here.
“Chicago Gourmet enhances our reputation as one of the world’s greatest cities for fine cuisine and culture,” the Mayor said.
“In turn, that brings visitors to town, encourages our own residents to take advantage of Chicago’s great restaurants and helps support all the thousands of employers and workers who make up the hospitality industry,” he said.
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