Industry News | August 15, 2011

Chipotle to Bring Food, Music, Art to Chicago in October

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Chipotle Mexican Grill will host its first-ever festival celebrating food, music, and ideas on October 1 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. “Cultivate Chicago,” a one-day festival, will occur from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and feature a unique combination of live music, art, and food made with the freshest ingredients possible. Cultivate Chicago is the first festival of its kind to incorporate nationally recognized celebrity chefs, artisanal food and wine producers, and top musical acts as a way to raise awareness of the impact that food has on society.

“This festival is a celebration of many of the things that Chipotle stands for,” says Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle. “We’re bringing together farmers, chefs, thought leaders, artisans, and musicians on a journey that not only celebrates wholesome food, but that also champions the like-minded people who share our vision to create a better food supply and a more sustainable future.”

Celebrity chefs Richard Blais (The Spence/Atlanta), Michael Chiarello (Bottega and NapaStyle/Yountville, Calif.), Amanda Freitag (Food Network/New York), and Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto/New York), as well as Chicago favorites Paul Kahan (Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star/Chicago), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Terzo Piano/Chicago), Bruce Sherman (North Pond/Chicago), and Paul Virant (vie and Perennial Virant/Chicago) will be cooking, speaking, and conducting demonstrations throughout the day. Calexico, Mayer Hawthorne & The County, White Rabbits, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and The Cave Singers are among the musical guests slated to perform.

Cultivate Chicago is intended to get people thinking and talking about food and food issues. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample and purchase food crafted by local artisans, while a beer garden will include craft ales and organic wines available for tasting. Two separate stages will host rock stars of the culinary world as they demonstrate different techniques as well as share their knowledge and love of sustainable food preparation.

Chipotle will be on hand to serve a selection of food based on its traditional menu, with each dish making use of ingredients that are the same or similar to what it uses in its restaurants, but with many featuring unique preparations. Proceeds of the specially created menu (up to $50,000) will benefit FamilyFarmed.org, a Chicago-based organization that aims to expand the production, marketing, and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food.

“At Chipotle, we are committed to making better food, from more sustainable sources, available and affordable to everyone,” Ells says. “Through this festival, we are taking that commitment one step further by combining food, art, and music as a way to elevate the discussion of where food comes from and why it is so important for people to understand that.”

While Cultivate Chicago is a first of its kind event, Chipotle plans to host similar events in other cities as well. Admission to the festival is free.