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October 2014

Extra! Extra! Chef's Table is Only Two Weeks Away!

Best Year Yet!

Get ready to celebrate the foodservice industry in "Roaring 20s" fashion at the 2014 Chef's Table, presented by Home Run Inn. In honor of the Illinois Restaurant Association's 100th anniversary, the night will be filled with Prohibition-themed attire, music, cocktails, and unforgettable dishes from renowned chefs and restaurants from across the city.

This year, we've added blackjack, craps, and roulette tables to the swinging scene, and hundreds of unique experiences and prizes in the silent auction. We are still in need of silent auction items for the evening. If you would like to add even more thrills to the evening by donating unique experiences or other valuable items, please click here.

The proceeds from the evening benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's Scholarship Initiative and ProStart Program, which provides scholarships and career-connecting resources to the next generation of chefs, restaurateurs, operators, and event planners in the industry.

Make sure to buy your tickets or purchase a table before they are all sold out! Click here to buy yours today!


Government Relations

Reception in Honor of Michael J. Madigan

On October 14th, the restaurant, hospitality, and tourism industry had a reception in honor of House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. The event gave every segment of the industry from around the state the chance to come together and speak with one voice.

The event was a huge success and would not have been possible without our host committee and guests.

Elections Next Week

There are many reasons people in the Illinois foodservice industry need to vote on Tuesday, November 4th. Here are just a few of them:

An advisory referendum to raise the minimum wage on the ballot. The measure asks voters whether they support increasing the hourly minimum wage to $10 by January 1, 2015. The state's minimum wage is currently $8.25 per hour. The non-binding referendum specifically asks, “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?”

On the Federal level, the outcome of the midterm elections will likely play a big part in determining whether much-needed changes will be made to the health care law. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to change the law’s definition of full-time from 30 hours a week to a length in line with accepted business practices, but the Senate has yet to act. Changing the full-time definition is a critical element in preserving employee flexibility. Voting for candidates who support the change can help make it a reality.

On the Federal Level, the elections will have effects on immigration. In Washington, efforts at immigration reform have stalled since bipartisan legislation passed the Senate in July 2013, but reform still remains a hot topic of debate among candidates. Comprehensive immigration reform will ensure that restaurants have access to the workforce they need to keep up with demand and growth opportunities.


IRAEF Update

MOD MEX: World Renowned Mexican chefs lead by Chef Rick Bayless
collaborate to host MOD MEX to benefit culinary scholarship programs.

Chef Rick Bayless welcomed his esteemed contemporaries - Pablo Salas, Curtis Duffy, Fany Gerson, and mixologists Joseph Mortera, Dave Arnold and Jay Schroeder to Chicago for a unique collaboration to benefit culinary scholarship programs provided by the Kendall College Charitable Trust and the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) Educational Foundation . The full-tuition Frontera Scholarship for Mexican-American students has been offered through the Kendall College Charitable Trust in partnership with Rick Bayless since 2007. In 2014, the IRA Educational Foundation awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 67 deserving students to help advance its mission of building the future of Illinois’ hospitality workforce.


Together, the award-winning chefs presented Mod Mex, a two-day program giving food enthusiasts a rare opportunity to explore, taste, and celebrate the evolution of Mexican cuisine with those who have defined and continue to influence this category. The two-day program began with interactive demos and tastings conducted by each of the four chefs at Kendall College on September 14th. Dinner on September 15th was an outstanding collaboration by the four chefs on a five-course, Mod Mex dinner. Each course was expertly paired with wine and spirits at the award-winning Frontera Grill.

Hamburger Hop: Hamburger Hop provides ProStart® students
with industry exposure and career connecting opportunities.

15 high schools students that are studying Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management through the ProStart® program learned first-hand about the catering and event management aspect of their chosen career paths. ProStart® students assisted chefs competing in the Hamburger Hop and assisted Paramount Events with the front-of-the-house management of the event. Students receive job readiness training through the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) Educational Foundation.

Students were very excited to work with chefs and to meet some of the celebrity chefs that were present or competing in the event. Several students received job offers from Chef's Burger Bistro, Good Stuff Eatery and III Forks to name a few. One lucky student from North Grand High School worked with the winning chef, Spike Mendelson.


Don't Miss It

November 5: Are You Ready for the Affordable Care Act?

Join Heartland Payment Systems, Total Insurance & Billy Bauer, owner of Marcello's Father & Son for a presentation on being prepared for the ACA and learn about the unique story that has created significant growth for Father and Son over three generations. For more information, or to RSVP, click here.

Sanitation Certification Schedule for Fall Quarter

The Illinois Restaurant Association's Fall Quarter schedule for sanitation certification classes is now available.

Click here to view the calendar.

Click here to register for classes.



News & Notes

Chefs Hall of Fame

Gale Gand, Michael Kornick, Larry Levy, Stephanie Izard, and Phil Stefani were inducted into the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame at Castle Chicago. We could not be prouder of them for all they have accomplished during their many years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Congratulations!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel honored Phil Stefani, CEO of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants & Events, by proclaiming Monday, October 13, 2014 "Phil Stefani Day" in Chicago. Congratulations Phil!


Fintech Named Finalist in the Industry Achievement Awards

Congrats to Fintech on being named a finalist in the Industry Achievement Awards for the 'Innovative Project of the Year' through the Tampa Bay Technology Forum's 11th Annual Industry Achievement Awards. The Tampa Bay Technology Forum's Industry Achievement Awards honors the individuals and organizations leading the way in the technology community. A panel of judges will select the winners on November 21st at the annual awards gala. Watch Fintech talk more tech trends here.


Hot Doug's Ends A 13 Year Celebrated Run

A fond farewell and congratulations to Hot Doug’s! Click here for more.


New Members

The Association is pleased to welcome:

Maggiano's Little Italy
WGN Radio
Fulton Market Kitchen
CO2 Meter
Red Lion Pub
Lincoln Square Lanes
Stax Cafe
Harczak's Sausage Co.
El Faro Restaurant
Emporium Arcade Bar - Wicker Park
Open Table

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