What a difference a year makes.
Last summer, Crop Bistro’s Steve Schimoler assembled a couple dozen chefs and restaurants for the Rock and Roll BBQ at the Beachland Ballroom. The outdoor event was largely a success, with several hundred foodies and music lovers enjoying the tasting plates and hipster atmosphere.
This year's event totally upped the ante, re-branding itself as Chef Jam and taking place at the Rock Hall.
A sold-out crowd of 1000 jammed the multi-level concourse, again nibbling on tasting plates from some of the city’s top restaurants and enjoying the music of service industry pros and special guest Todd Rundgren.
With each restaurant adopting a band, song, or rock & roll theme for its food, the entire night took on a new twist.
Highlights included Greenhouse Tavern’s Black Keys inspired grilled pork ribs, Johnny’s Frank Zappa “Yellow Snow” ceviche, and Momocho’s Beck inspired wild boar tacos.
With 26 restaurants and chefs participating, there was plenty of food to go around, even as patrons swarmed around the tasting stations and made it uncomfortable at times.
As the night went on, the eating began to slow down as people walked around the museum or listened to one of the four bands’ sets.
The dessert stations became a popular destination too, with Moxie’s Dark Side of the Moon pies and Bistron on Lincoln Park’s grilled “Eat a Peach” peaches with cracked black pepper ice cream leading the cause.
Hopefully, this continues to be an annual event that grows. For the second year in a row, everything went smoothly and proved that two of our city’s finest traits, music and food, could come together for a memorable night. —Aaron Mendelsohn