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The Chicago Traveler

"Top Chef: Chicago" Goes to the Zoo

by Matt B on March 21st, 2008

This season of the Bravo network's Top Chef was filmed here in Chicago, exposing competing chefs from all over the country to all the culinary treats the Windy City has to offer.

This week's Quickfire challenge required each of the chefs to create a dish using no more than five ingredients (excluding salt, pepper, sugar, and oil), either from the Top Chef pantry or purchased at Chicago's Green City Market.

The Green City Market is a farmers' market held outdoors from May through October on Saturdays and Wednesdays. It's great for top chefs along with amateur dabblers, featuring a multitude of products from local producers and farmers. Grab a few luscious berries, some organic tomatoes, free-range chicken, or even potted herbs. When you're all done, stop by the crepes station for some delicious dishes that use ingredients straight from the market itself.

chicago green city marketNot only does the Market offer organic fruits and vegetables, but it also teaches you what to do with them. Cooking demonstrations feature chefs from some of the city's most highly-acclaimed restaurants including Adam Schop of DeLaCosta, Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, and Chris Macchia from Coco Pazzo.

This year's opening day will be Wednesday, May 14, 7:00 a.m. ' 1:30 p.m. It is located at the south end of Lincoln Park, between 1750 N Clark St and Stockton Drive.

lincoln park zooIn the episode's Elimination Challenge, the chefs were split up randomly into five teams of three. Each team was assigned a specific animal: bear, lion, vulture, gorilla, and penguin. The teams had to prepare a series of appetizers based around their assigned animal's diet for a gathering of 200 guests at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The Lincoln Park Zoo was founded in 1868 and is one of the oldest zoos in the country. It is open all year round, and features a children's zoo, paddleboats, a safari ride, and a farm! You can read more about this free attraction in one of my earlier posts: Lincoln Park Zoo.

Photo credit: swanksalot , smussyolay

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