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Event Wed Jul 09 2014
The Taste of Chicago, which has long been a giant garbage can stuffed with barbecue sauce-smeared paper trays, begins its 34th season today at Grant Park (Jackson and Columbus). It's been scaled down considerably after many years of being a financial drain and a magnet for unfortunate incidents, and while the idea of crowds and heat is still my personal hell, one of the brighter points of this year's offerings is the Pure Leaf Celebrity Chef du Jour series, which lets chefs from restaurants that would never be seen at the Taste serve a multi-course menu to a smaller crowd with the help of students from Washburne Culinary Institute. Admission is $45 per person (drinks not included), and the event takes place in a separate, air-conditioned tent. Seats are still available for Friday's event with Paul Virant (Vie, Perennial Virant), Erling Wu-Bower and Amanda Rockman (Nico Osteria) on Saturday, and Matthias Merges (Yusho, Billy Sunday) on Sunday.