July 8, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE Launch 5 Days of Virtual Events and Community Meals to Support Neighborhood Restaurants and Nonprofits

“Taste of Chicago To-Go” showcases 42 local restaurants and food trucks, 5 chefs, 7 music and dance artists, and the work of 21 community organizations

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO, IL — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today launched an ambitious reimagining of the beloved summertime tradition, Taste of Chicago. “Taste of Chicago To-Go” will take place between July 8 through 12 and will offer Chicagoans and food lovers across the globe five days of free online cooking demonstrations and virtual music and dance events. In addition to events, there will be an expanded series of “Community Eats” meals provided by neighborhood restaurants and food trucks for nonprofits serving frontline workers and Chicagoans in need.

“While this year is different for all of us, the spirit of Taste of Chicago lives on with community meals and virtual events showcasing Chicago’s diverse and legendary culinary, music and arts scene,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Local restaurants make up the backbone of our neighborhoods and we’re finding creative ways to support both them and the communities they serve while prioritizing health and safety.”

From July 8 through July 12, online cooking demonstrations will stream daily at Noon at YouTube.com/ChicagoDCASE – featuring popular local chefs Carlos Gaytan of Tzuco, Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies, Jessica Romanowski of Care Kitchen Chicago, Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen and Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde.

“SummerDance in Place,” the new, at-home version of Chicago SummerDance, continues on Wednesday, July 8, at 5:30 p.m., at YouTube.com/ChicagoDCASE and on WTTW Prime (11.2) – featuring Bollywood & Bhangra with a 30-minute dance lesson by Bollywood Groove, followed by 60 minutes of music by DJ iLLEST.

The Thursday, July 9, edition of the “Millennium Park at Home” music series will feature local post-punk, Latin rock band The Braided Janes and the Welsh-born, Chicago-based musician and artist Jon Langford beginning at 6:00 p.m., at YouTube.com/ChicagoDCASE.

The expanded Community Eats program encourages Taste of Chicago eateries to host a free, community meal during this five-day period for neighborhood first responders and nonprofit organizations. What started last year with nine community meals has increased to 21 meals this year – for the staff, volunteers and/or clients of Advocate Trinity Hospital, Austin Coming Together, Care Kitchen Chicago, Casa Catalina Food Pantry, Farm on Ogden, Jackson Park Hospital, La Casa Norte, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Lawrence Hall, MADO Healthcare–Douglas Park Center, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New Covenant Community Development Council, The Night Ministry, The Port Ministries, Roseland Community Hospital, Salvation Army Freedom Center, South Shore Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital, St. Bernard Hospital, West Humboldt Park Family and Community Development Council and Westside Health Authority. Many of these community meals will take place in South and West Side neighborhoods severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Taste of Chicago and Taste of Chicago To-Go are presented by DCASE, with advertising support from the Chicago Transit Authority. SummerDance in Place is presented with the Chicago Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Millennium Park Foundation and WTTW. Millennium Park at Home: Music Series is made possible by the Chicago Community Trust and Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For more information on programming, community meals and to learn about this year’s participating eateries, visit TasteofChicago.us and join the conversation on social media using #TasteofChicago.

Taste of Chicago official festival merchandise is also available via TasteofChicago.us. Show off your Chicago pride and support local artists by ordering new, artist-designed t-shirts for Taste and other summer festivals. The limited-edition Taste t-shirt design was created by Nick Adam of SPAN in collaboration with the Design Museum of Chicago. A portion of all sales benefit the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund – providing financial relief to workers and organizations in the creative industries impacted by COVID-19.

Like many other cultural presenters, the City of Chicago and DCASE made the difficult decision to cancel the Taste of Chicago festival in Grant Park out of an abundance of caution related to large public gatherings. Chicago is currently in phase four (Gradually Resume), allowing for additional businesses and public amenities to open with limited capacities and appropriate safeguards. Although progress has been made in order to move to phase four, all residents should continue to abide by important guidance including: physically distancing and wearing a face covering; limiting non-business, social gatherings to 50 persons for indoor events and 100 for outdoors; staying at home if you are considered vulnerable, feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19; and getting tested if you have symptoms. For more information and updates on the City’s response to COVID-19, text COVID19 to 78015, email coronavirus@chicago.gov or visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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