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Bites: The Emerging Chefs Series

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Entrepreneur Michael DeAloia has his fingers in many pots, but it was his Emerging Cleveland series at the City Club that provided his latest brainstorm: Emerging Chefs. "It was the most popular event we ever did under the Emerging Cleveland banner," says DeAloia. "I thought there has to be a business model here somewhere."

So DeAloia joined ranks with Rick Turner from Event Source and David Moss of MossMedia and launched the for-profit Emerging Chefs brand last fall. The monthly food-and-booze events seek to highlight Cleveland's up-and-coming chefs — folks who may not be getting attention commensurate with their talent.

"Our goal is to generate buzz around Cleveland's emerging chefs. We target chefs who are still on their way up, or who have been around for a while and do quality work, but may not be garnering a lot of attention."

Not only do the dinners feature world-class cuisine, but also unparalleled access to chefs like Dim and Den Sum's Chris Hodgson and Bar Cento's Mike Nowak. "Chefs are the new rock stars," DeAloia says. "People get really excited to meet the chefs and talk to them. And these events allow more personal attention than a restaurant."

Settings have included a cordoned-off city street and the subterranean hangout Speakeasy. But it's the January 26 event, in the exclusive back room of the Velvet Tango Room, that has many foodies drooling.

"A lot of people bought tickets just so they could hang out in the back room," says DeAloia. "I think that's what sets us apart from other events. We believe that the food is an experiential thing and so the environment should be too. We want to engage people's five senses when they attend an event."

Along those lines, the February event is slated to take place in a church. The working title? Sacrilicious.

Learn more at emergingchefs.com. — Trattner

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