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The Chicago Traveler

"Top Chef: Chicago" Has an Art Project

by Matt B on May 5th, 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.

timeThis week's Quickfire Challenge required each chef to create an entr'e in only 15 minutes, using Uncle Ben's Rice as a primary ingredient. (Product placement, anyone?) As you can probably figure out, trying to cook anything in that short amount of time is very difficult, especially when the contestants are trying to impress guest judge Art Smith. I can't even decide what I want to eat in less than 15 minutes!

Art Smith is a talented chef and author originally from Florida. He was personal chef to Oprah Winfrey for ten years and is co-owner of the prestigious restaurant, Table Fifty-Two.

While I would hope that you have more than 15 minutes at a time for a meal, sometimes you need to just pick up your food and keep on movin'. There are hundreds of restaurants in Chicago that allow you to call ahead and/or pick up your food 'to go.' Here are just a few:

In the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to make a healthy, simple, and tasty meal for a family of four using only $10 worth of groceries. Each contestant was then paired with a child from the Common Threads Program, who helped prepare the dish and presented it to fellow kids from the program.

kid cookingCommon Threads was founded in 2004 by Art Smith and his partner, Jesus Salgueiro. (The couple was declared 'Chicagoans of the Year' in 2006 by ChicagoMag.com.)The after-school program educates kids on health, nutrition, and culture through food. Instead of a classroom, children between 8 and 12 years old learn about our world via the kitchen. Along with cooking healthy ethnic cuisine, they plant and harvest vegetables in the garden and practice things like yoga, capoeira, and tai chi. For information on how you can participate, either by volunteering or donating, check out their website: http://www.commonthreads.org/.

Photo credit: (c/o SXC) Willi Heidelbach, (c/o Flickr) jana christy

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POSTED IN: Entertainment, Restaurants

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