When it comes to restaurants, everybody knows Chicago has some of the best along with great food bloggers to tell the tale.
Define what it means to be a taste-maker…
Candace Jordan, Candid Candice: Well, first of all, I’m honored to be considered a taste-maker! I think the definition of a taste-maker is someone who doesn’t follow the crowd, someone who makes his/her own rules in fashion and beyond. I think having taste comes from knowing who you are, what looks best on you and what type of environment makes you feel at home. I know modern design is all the rage, but I live and breathe antiques and traditional furnishings. I will stop anywhere with an “antique” sign out front. As for my fashion, I prefer “simple and elegant” with a touch of drama, be it a statement necklace or earrings down to there. I guess it’s working, because I’m included in this wonderful article!
Whitney Reynolds, The Whitney Reynolds Show: I love setting trends. On my show, with fashion and even in the kitchen!
Beth Peterson, Yummie Nation: As a “born and raised” Chicagoan and a former restaurateur, being a taste-maker means sharing my love of Chicago through it’s incredibly diverse and world-class restaurant and bar scene with the every person on the planet! When friends and collages come visit with me in Chicago…I take them on a food tour of our great city. Now that is a taste-maker!
Ashley Hutchinson, Sed Bona: Being a tastemaker is all about curating a lifestyle of beauty, excitement, and, of course, delicious food. I love being asked for restaurant recommendations or ideas for where to take out-of-towners because Chicago has so many fascinating hidden gems. Being a tastemaker is all about the drive to find the best spots and experiences and then sharing those experiences with others. And Chicago has so many undiscovered spots that it’s never gets boring!
Lawrence Brown, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago: For me, being a taste maker means having the right balance of a few things. It means having enough open-mindedness and confidence to be willing to try new things, having a great sense of taste, both palette and in life, having knowledge to judge whether something is a fad or a new standard as well as the earned trust and respect of others who value your opinion.
Favorite aspect of Nellcôte (european-inspired small plates & cocktails, architecture)
CJ: My favorite aspect of Nellcote is the decor. I know people rave about the food, but I’m all about environments, ambiance and atmosphere. My husband said I would go to a restaurant that served mud as long as I loved the decor. Happily, Nellcote’s chef and menu are awesome so it’s a complete package. I love the old world elegance envisioned in a new way with the mirrored bar and fabulous lighting fixtures. #AllGood
WR: I love small plates because you get to try a little bit of everything.
BP: From the tasty bites and lively libations to the sexy architecture, Nellcote has it all! Do not miss stopping in for one of Chicago’s most fabulously sophisticated and yummie spots.
AH: I adore Nellcote’s commitment to making so many dishes from scratch. Their salted brioche alone proves just how delicious their ingredients are — it’s just a simple bread made perfect by the incredible flavors of the ingredients. All brioche is is bread, salt, yeast, and water so using the best ingredients makes such a substantial difference!
LB: My favorite aspect of Nellcôte (besides the food) is the energetic atmosphere and the cocktails, “Cool, Calm & Collected” and “Rough Justice”.
What are you excited about in Chicago’s restaurant and bar scene?
CJ: I’m excited about EVERYTHING in regards to our city’s restaurant and bar scene! It seems like every single day, a divine new place has opened that we can’t wait to try. Now that chefs have become rock stars, our city has them in abundance–Stephanie Izard, Art Smith, Bill Kim, Graham Elliott, Ryan Pitts, Tony Priolo, Jimmy Bannos, Giuseppe Tentori, Kevin Hickey and so many others who make our city “shine like a diamond.” We love them all and are so very proud to live in a city that just keeps getting better and better on every front (except for taxes!). There’s a reason the James Beard Awards are returning…hellloooo!
WR: All the bbq!!!! Being a southern gal, it’s about time these places pop up.
BP: I’m excited about everything that is happening in the restaurant and bar scene in Chicago. Chicago is at the top of it’s game with some of the best chefs, mixologists, restaurants, food and drink in the world. Hello, James Beard Awards are happening right here in Chicago for a reason!
AH: I’m loving all the tiki bar concepts that have finally made their way to Chicago (like Lost Lake) — they’re so much fun to enjoy during the freezing months of Chiberia. And all of the great fast-casual concepts from some of the city’s most legendary restaurants like Small Cheval.
LB: Being born and raised in Chicago, I have seen our restaurant & bar scene changes over the years, always staying ahead of the game. No matter what your looking for in a bar or restaurant, you can always and easily find exactly what you’re looking for (something I take for granted when traveling).
Lawrence Brown: Not pictured at time of photo shoot.