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Tomato Fest Offers TLC With BLT Challenge

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 17, 2009 9:00PM

Milk & Honey's BLT, a "One Great Sandwich" nominee.

After a temperate and relatively dry summer — and that's putting it mildly — tomatoes are finally starting to grow and ripen just as the fruit is reaching its seasonal peak locally. Chicago Tomato Fest was established by Slow Food Chicago to celebrate the five-week period where sun gold, plum, cherry and other heirloom varieties abound. New to the fest this year is a "BLT Challenge," where they're asking local chefs to commit to using locally grown heirlooms, as well as locally and sustainably raised bacon to promote the farms they sourced the tomatoes and pork from.

Among the heavy hitters who've signed up for the pledge are Blackbird's Mike Sheerin, his brother Pat of the Signature Room at the 95th, Carnivale's Mark Mendez, Phillip Foss of Lockwood, Frank Brunacci of sixteen at Trump Tower and Dirk Flanigan of the Gage. A full list of participating restaurants is available here.