From September 3–5, 2015 in Chicago’s sister city of Milan, Italy, Chicago Sister Cities International presented Chicago-themed events to highlight the strong relationship between the two cities during Expo Milano 2015, the world’s fair. Over 40 member of Chicago’s business, cultural, culinary and civic communities comprised the delegation who traveled to Milan to celebrate the Chicago-Milan sister city relationship.
Sponsors and programming partners of Chicago Week in Milan included LensCrafters/Luxottica & CooperVision; World Business Chicago; Illinois Restaurant Association; Kendall College; Pilot Light; The Hideout Chicago; Lagunitas Brewing Company; The Eli’s Cheesecake Company; Bella Bacinos’s Italian Bistro & Pizzeria; Lula Cafe; Quartino Ristorante; Yusho; and the Waters Family.
Featured cuisine at the events was prepared by Chef John Coletta of Quartino Ristorante; Chef Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe; Chef Matthias Merges of Yusho. Also featured was Chicago deep dish-style from Bella Bacinos Italian Bistro & Pizzeria and cheesecake from Eli’s Cheesecake.
Also served at the events was Mozango!, a special beer created exclusively to celebrate Expo Milano 2015 and the sister city relationship between Chicago and Milan, from Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Representing the sounds of Chicago was JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, a modern funk and soul band who entertained guests with music infused with Chicago’s past and present.
Events as part of Chicago Week in Milan included:
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Reception Celebrating the Chicago Milan Sister City Relationship
Over 200 guests from Milan and Chicago gathered at Milan’s City Hall, Palazzo Marino, to celebrate the Chicago-Milan sister city relationship. The event featured food by Chicago Chefs John Coletta, Jason Hammel and Matthias Merges; Bella Bacinos Italian Bistro & Pizzeria; Eli’s Cheesecake; and traditional Milanese dishes. Lagunitas’ Mozango! was served. JC Brooks performed for the crowd after a speaking program featured representatives from both cities.
Friday, September 4, 2015
Chefs John Coletta, Jason Hammel and Matthias Merges joined with famed Italian Chef Gualtiero Marchesi at his restaurant Il Marchesino for a special luncheon. The four chefs each prepared a course for 75 guests.
Pilot Light Culinary Education Program
Pilot Light representatives Chefs Jason Hammel and Matthias Merges, along with Pilot Light Executive Director Alexandra DeSorbo-Quinn, taught 30 teenaged school children from Milan the history of Chicago through the Chicago Hot Dog. The teens learned about Chicago and had the opportunity to try Chicago’s own version of the hot dog.
Soup and Bread Fundraiser
Based on Chicago’s own Soup and Bread at the Hideout Chicago, Chefs John Coletta, Jason Hammel, Matthias Merges and Gualtiero Marchesi each prepared a special soup that was served to over 75 guests. Guests donated funds that were given to Pane Quotidiano (Daily Bread), a not-for-profit organization that works on food security issues in Milan.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Chicago Concert with JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound and Ray Band
Chicago’s own JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound performed a free outdoor concert at the famed La Triennale di Milano, with Ray Band opening the evening with classic Chicago blues and rock.