The Illinois Restaurant Association will host the 43rd annual Chef’s Table gala presented by Sysco and 8 Hospitality on Thursday, April 21, 2022 from 6 – 10 pm at Theater on the Lake (2401 N Lake Shore Dr.). The annual celebration honors the foodservice industry while raising funds that benefit the IRA Educational Foundation for scholarships and learning opportunities for deserving students. Themed “All Around Chicago,” this year’s gala will honor the vibrant dining scene of Chicago’s neighborhoods with tasting stations from over 25 restaurants, beverages, dancing, and a silent auction.
“Chef’s Table is a moment to raise a glass and to raise funds for the future leaders of our industry,” remarked Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia. “It’s an honor to celebrate the next generation while we are surrounded by the tireless work of this one. It is a wonderful event for a truly great cause.”
Participating restaurants include:
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) and the statewide ProStart® program. This donation allows the IRAEF to provide scholarships and valuable learning opportunities such as internships and career-connecting activities to Illinois’ young adults pursuing careers in the foodservice industry. Through the efforts and generous contributions of restaurateurs, suppliers, and other organizations throughout the country, over $3.2 million has been awarded to date to students pursuing careers in Culinary Arts or Hospitality Management.
Tickets are available now and can be purchased by visiting illinoisrestaurants.org.
Presenting sponsors include: Sysco and 8 Hospitality.
Connoisseur sponsors include: Breakthru Beverage, C-Soap, Employers, Gage Hospitality, Gene & Georgetti’s, Gordon Food Service, HMS Host, Hub International, Mariano’s, Nicor Gas, Pepsi, Performance Foodservice, Plante Moran, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, US Foods, and Wintrust.
Patron sponsors include: Bottleneck Management, Choose Chicago, Ecolab, Food for Thought, Gibson’s Restaurant Group, IGS Energy, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
J&J Gaming, Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, Smith Amundsen, Turano, UnitedHealthcare, and Vaughan Hospitality.
Beverage sponsors include: Bacardi, Breakthru Beverage, Chicago Beverage Systems, Constellation Brands, Dos Hombres Mezcal, El Silencio Mezcal, Elijah Craig, Gérard Bertrand, High Noon, Lakeshore Beverage, Lobos 1707, Mi Campo, Oak Ridge Winery, Pernod Ricard, Proximo Spirits, Saint Michelle Wine Estates, Shaw Ross Wine & Spirits, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Teremana Tequila, Tres Generaciones and Vranken Pommery.
About the Illinois Restaurant Association
Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The foodservice industry in Illinois is the largest private sector employer in the state. To serve the needs of this important industry and support its future, the Illinois Restaurant Association works to provide restaurant operators and suppliers in Illinois with valuable business services, networking opportunities, cost saving programs, and vital advocacy.
About the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization (501 c3) dedicated to build and promote the health and prosperity of the restaurant industry by investing in our youth and our workforce. Each year, the IRA Educational Foundation awards scholarships to Illinois students pursuing post-secondary education in the fields of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. The IRAEF has awarded over $3.2 million in scholarships to date. In 2021 alone, the Educational Foundation awarded $90,000 to 45 students attending 26 different colleges and universities. Since October 2020, it has also provided more than $277,000 in cash relief grants, through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, to hospitality employees facing financial crisis. This program is made possible by the commitment and dedication of foodservice industry professionals that give back in support of our future industry leaders.
ProStart® is a national, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. The curriculum teaches students all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, inspires students to succeed, and sets a high standard of excellence. Connections to the industry through work-based learning is a critical element. The school-to-careers program provides a pathway to the workforce and post-secondary school. ProStart® Illinois is administered by the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to more than 1,500 students at over 30 schools in the state of Illinois. ProStart® students study a rigorous curriculum, can earn industry-recognized credentials while in high school, and are connected with internships in the foodservice industry to help hone their culinary and hospitality skills. ProStart® is a nationwide, two-year high school program that reaches approximately 130,000 students in more than 1,700 high schools across 50 states, Guam and the District of Columbia.