• The Finalists for Chicago's Local Food Awards Have Been Announced

    by Daniel Hautzinger / WTTW Chicago / November 13, 2023

    While the James Beard Awards and Michelin Guide get all the attention in the food world, there are some homegrown awards that sometimes recognize talent in Chicago that's overlooked by the big national or international awards. The Jean Banchet Awards, named after the chef of the legendary Le Francais in the suburb of Wheeling, which helped cement Chicago's status as an exceptional dining city, have announced their finalists. The winners will be named in a ceremony held on January 28, 2024.

    The Banchets are this year partnered with Chicago Chefs Cook, an organization that has rasied money for Ukraine, Tigray, Puerto Rico, and other places that have been wracked by war or natural disaster. Once partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, this year the Banchet Awards will send proceeds from the ceremony to Erick Williams' Virtue Leadership Development Program, which helps train people of color in the restaurant business, as the beneficiary of the awards. (Williams, the chef and owner of Virtue and other restaurants, was the 2022 Banchet Chef of the Year.) 

    Former longtime Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel will receive the Culinary Excellence Award.

    Here are the finalists in the twelve categories of the 2024 Banchets. Read more HERE




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