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Hot Chocolate Gets Better With Age - 6th Anniversary "BadAss Chicks" Dinner

By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 1, 2011 5:00PM

Last night, the most exciting culinary destination in Chicago was Hot Chocolate. After six years of great success with her restaurant, Mindy Segal threw a party. Not just any party - a "Bad Ass Chicks" dinner party. Since we love to celebrate great women chefs at Chicagoist, we were particularly excited to hear that this year's event would be cooked exclusively by women. As is traditional with Hot Chocolate anniversary dinners, charity, not decadent vanity, was the order of the evening - all proceeds went to Share Our Strength. As the menu said: 6 Years of Hot Chocolate + 6 Craft Beers + 6 Awesome Women Chefs = Share Our Strength." And share we did!

Despite the title, there were more than six awesome women in the kitchen. A few special guests, including friends of Chicagoist Nicole Pederson (C-House) and Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia) showed up to help with the kitchen chores, and all of the non-celebrity staff worked like mules to get everything done on time. Segal herself, in plaid shirt and apron, coordinated frantically. The open kitchen was the best show in town. Perhaps the best part of the night was Segal's opening speech, where she introduced the chefs, talked about Share Our Strength, and introduced the Hot Chocolate staff members who had stuck around since the beginning. Last night, everyone in the house felt like family - eating great food and contributing to a common cause.

The dinner included craft beers from just about everywhere you've ever heard of, including Jully Pumpkin, Three Floyds, Firestone Walker, Goose Island, North Coast Brewin and Piece Brewery. Rodrick Marcus came in with some surprise Perigord truffles, served simply on buttered bread. There were even parting gifts - tea pastries by Sweet and Naro.

Descriptions of all the dishes (and their creators) are in the photo captions. Wish you had been there last night? Tickets will be available soon for Share Our Strength's next event in August, Taste of the Nation. Or, if you got any joy from our pictures, consider throwing a few dollars their way this morning, as a salute to the end of winter. Help Mindy Segal and all of her fellow chefs end childhood hunger in America. The work done by these chefs and their charitable partners is truly inspiring.