CHICAGO | Do you love Mac & Cheese? If you want to find the best Mac & Cheese in Chicago you must attend the Third Annual Mac & Cheese Fest. The festival celebrates everything we love about the dish, with local chefs whipping up variations to satisfy just about everyone. Chicago chefs will be carefully preparing exquisite versions of mac & cheese; participating restaurants will offer a distinct variety, each of which will be paired with various beer, wine and spirits.
There will be 2oz or larger tasting portions of mac & cheese from a plethora of restaurants (nearly 50 announced to-date). The City Lane Chicago is saving our appetite to attempt to taste them all, and it will not be an easy task! Our favorite part of this festival is contributing to the crowning of the ‘Golden Noodle’, which is chosen by an expert panel of judges, along with attendees of the event. Who will take the coveted Golden Noodle award in 2016?
We sat down with event creator Ozzie Meza to understand a bit more about the inspiration for the event.
How did you come up with the idea for Mac & Cheese fest?
One of the producers of the fest was born and raised outside of the USA and she fell in LOVE with mac & cheese when she first arrived to the states. You know how some people celebrate a good day or successes with a shopping day? Well she celebrated her successes with a bowl of delicious mac & cheese. As “cheesy” as it sounds, it is completely true. Also, Chicago is known as a foodie city. It was a no-brainer Chicago needed an event like Mac & Cheese Fest.
What do you like the most about setting up an event like Mac & Cheese fest?
Mac & Cheese Fest takes a full year to plan. We have to search and on board many restaurants, brainstorm new ways of making the fest better than the year before, and actively market the event any time we can through the media. We are a small, nimble team, but what makes it all worth it is the impact it makes for the restaurants and our charity beneficiary, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.
For participating restaurants, the event has been able to give them another platform to market their business and have a good time! For our charity beneficiary, we have been able to donate over $25,000 dollars in only 2 years. Knowing every dollar makes an impact to families in need is all worth it.
Any favorite stories from the past year’s events?
Our favorite stories always include our guests. We have people from all over the Midwest that drive hours to visit us. Last year, a couple got engaged at the fest and the year before we had a couple who traveled from Iowa just to take a picture with our mascots. The fest brings people from all over the world for one day to celebrate together and indulge in America’s favorite comfort food
To find out more about the Third Mac & Cheese Fest, visit the official site. See you there!
Third Annual Mac & Cheese Fest
When: Saturday 5 November, 12:00am to 3:00pm; 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Entry: General Admission $65.00 + booking fee. Includes all you can taste mac & cheese, five drink tickets for beer, wine and spirits, and a vote for who has the best mac & cheese.
VIP Admission $105.00 + booking fee. Includes the same as General Admission plus priority check-in, in and out access to VIP section and a Mac & Cheese Fest official t-shirt.
Where: The UIC Forum. 725 W Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois