Lack Of Participation, Sales For Taste Of Chicago

With mayor Rahm Emanuel – and many others in online chef programs – calling Chicago one of the food capitals of the world, the heat is on for one of its oldest and most renowned food festivals, the Taste of Chicago.

CBS Chicago affiliate WBBM reported that even though the city scaled back the festival in many ways due to budget cuts, the festival still lost $1.3 million and hasn’t turned a profit since 2008. This past year, Emanuel called on festival officials to scale back on the once immensely popular annual festival held in Millennium Park.

This year, the festival was reduced from 10 days to five, charged visitors for certain events for the first time, included “pop-up” restaurants that were only available to guests for one day and included cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs. Although Emanuel told the source that admission fees for the event are still off the table, the cultural affairs committee will again have to go to the drawing board to see how the struggling festival can survive, causing quite a stir for many people in international culinary schools.

Emanuel claims that the city’s food landscape has changed a lot over the years, making way for more innovative and international events like Chicago Gourmet, which is hosted and produced by the Illinois Restaurant Association.

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