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Celebrate Chicago's Awesome Women Chefs At Dinner Showcase

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jan 15, 2016 4:57PM

The interior of Lula Cafe. Photo via Facebook.

By Heather Lalley

Some of Chicago’s most-innovative chefs (who happen to be women) are banding together for a pop-up dinner later this month.

Proceeds from the All-Star Women Chefs dinner at Lula Cafe will benefit a well-respected area farmer (who also happens to be a woman) who lost much of last summer’s crops to flooding. “This is in no way some sort of girl-power event,” says dinner organizer Sarah Rinkavage, Lula’s chef de cuisine. “But there really is so much talent and women rising up in Chicago. To have everyone in the same room is so cool.”

“Everyone” in this case includes kitchen powerhouses Iliana Regan of Elizabeth, Beverly Kim of Parachute, Abra Berens of Stock Café at Local Foods and pastry chef Dana Cree of 1871 Dairy. Diners will sip wines from women producers, curated by Lula’s beverage director Diana Hawkins. Lula’s pastry chef Kelly Helgesen and Rinkavage will also prepare dishes.

Proceeds from the six-course dinner (which also includes a cocktail hour) will benefit Vicki Westerhoff, the farmer behind Genesis Growers in St. Anne, Ill., about 70 miles south of Chicago. Westerhoff is a Green City Market mainstay and her produce appears on menus around the city. Flooding all but decimated her crops last summer. “She is so amazing,” Rinkavage says. “Such a strong little woman. So tough.”

Chefs are still working out their dishes for the night. Berens is planning a cold appetizer of Winter Bagna Cauda, featuring platters of vegetables (both roasted and un-cooked) topped with a rich, garlicky, citrus-spiked sauce with fresh herbs. “The food is going to be really great,” Berens says. “These are all exciting women in the food world.”

The All-Star Women Chefs dinner at Lula Café, 2534 N. Kedzie Blvd., takes place at 6 p.m. Jan. 25. Tickets are $95 (including drinks and tip).