(l to r) Grill-off judge Keith Villa, creator of Blue Moon Belgian White; judge Lee Schrager, vice president of corporate communications and national events, Southern Wine & Spirits of America; judge Lin Brehmer, morning show host, WXRT Radio; judge Barbara Fairchild, editor-in-chief, Bon Appétit magazine; winner Ryan LaRoche, NoMI; Sheila O’Grady, president, the Illinois Restaurant Association; judge Jean-Luc Naret, directeur général, The Michelin Guide; and judge Thomas Keller, chef/owner, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif., and Per Se, New York City*
LaRoche received the judge-selected Allen Brothers Award--a knife set from Zwilling J.A. Henckels--for his 800 Burger, made with ground Allen Brothers Wagyu beef topped with Nueske's bacon, pickled garlic and shallots, Comté cheese, watercress and smoked tomato aïoli on a rosemary ciabatta bun. Hickey took home the People's Choice Award for his Surf & Turf Burger, an Allen Brothers bison patty topped with candied bacon, truffle cheese and lobster salad. A brandy cherry chocolate malt and chorizo cheese fries accompanied his crowd-pleasing burger.
Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appétit, was created by the Illinois Restaurant Association and the Anton Family Foundation to celebrate Chicago's culinary achievements and the creative vision of the chefs, master sommeliers and wine-, spirit- and beer-makers.