There are many reasons why Chicago has one of the most vibrant restaurant and hospitality scenes in the U.S. Indeed, we have the perfect environment for emerging chefs to grow and veteran chefs to launch new concepts. But, the industry wouldn’t have shown so much resilience and sustainability through the past few years without how supportive our city is to Chicago’s youths who have the ambition to enter the restaurant industry.
Dine for a cause at the 2nd Annual Culinary Futures Fundraiser benefiting No Matter What on Sunday, March 5th, 2023 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. Hosted at Zhou B. Art Center in Bridgeport, the evening will feature delicious bites prepared and served by Chicago Public School (CPS) students, an open bar, live music, and a silent auction – all to support the youth of Chicago’s community.
No Matter What is a not-for-profit organization founded by Kenneth Griffin dedicated to the youth of Chicagoland. The organization creates programs to support CPS students in their career endeavors within the restaurant and hospitality industry through mentorship, career readiness training, and mental health healing to help the students reach their highest potential. The annual Culinary Futures event raises crucial funds to support these programs.
Attendees can expect heavy appetizers of sweet and savory varieties as well as an open bar with an assortment of wine, craft beer, and spirits. Food for the evening will be mostly prepared and catered by High School Culinary Arts Programs. More than 100 CPS students will be participating in the evening’s preparations from schools including Charles A. Prosser Career Academy, Neal F. Simeon Career Academy, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, and others.
A few dishes from past years include Chicken Liver Mousse on Crostini with Pickled Mustard Seed and Parsley, Mini Puff Pastry Tarts with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, & Goat Cheese, Pork and Spinach Hand Pies with Tzatziki Sauce, Prime Ribeye Steak with Duck Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cognac Sauce, Southern Five Spice Pork Belly with Crispy Rice, Strawberry Crunch Cake Petit Fours, Thai Curry Scallops, and Vanilla & Raspberry Petit Fours. Supporting food and drink services will be provided by friends of No Matter What.
Enjoy a live performance from two-time GRAMMY nominee John Primer, the former bandleader and guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Magic Slim & The Teardrops. A silent auction will be held online with prizes including restaurant gift cards, tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a MARCATO Atlas 150 pasta machine, a gift basket from Tito’s Vodka, a Cancun vacation, and more!
250 guests are expected to attend this year’s fundraiser at Zhou B. Art Center. In 2022, the premier Culinary Futures event raised over $47k for No Matter What. Money raised during the fundraiser is crucial for programs the organization leads like the D.T. Memorial Garden built and opened to the public in 2022 which has become a tool for students to learn about cultivating the land and growing their own food.
Programs that this year’s fundraiser will directly impact include summer camp scholarships for CPS students as well as an upcoming trip to Ireland. No Matter What will choose 10-20 students to participate in a week-long international adventure to immerse them in a different culture with visits to museums, shows, historical sites, and more. Students will shop in local markets and prepare many of their own meals to get a taste of what it’s like to live in another part of the world.
Tickets for the Culinary Futures Fundraising Event are $125. Those looking to make a larger, direct impact are welcome to donate to the 2023 Culinary Futures Scholarship Fund. Donations begin at $1,000 and are put towards the No Matter What scholarship program awarded to four CPS students attending college/university to study culinary arts, hospitality management, and baking & pastry majors.
Zhou B. Art Center is located at 1029 West 35th Street. For more information and to purchase tickets or a sponsorship, please visit https://nmwchicago.org/culinary-futures-2023.
Featured Image: No Matter What