Our fundraiser, Smart Cookies: Chefs Above the Rest, is just around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited!
We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, September 12, from 6-9pm, at Gallery 1500 (1515 N. Halsted, Chicago). All proceeds benefit the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
This year we are honoring six local chefs, women who are trailblazers in Chicago’s culinary scene. We think our Smart Cookies honorees give you six amazing reasons to attend this amazing event! Learn more about each chef below.
1. Diana Dávila, Chef, and Owner of Mi Tocaya Antojería
Mi Tocaya Antojería is a Logan Square neighborhood Mexican restaurant from acclaimed Chef Diana Dávila. The menu is composed of Diana’s takes on familiar Mexican favorites, less known regional specialties, and completely new dishes that are inspired by her Mexican heritage. Diana has received numerous accolades, including:
- Food & Wine magazine’s America’s Best New Chefs in 2018
- 2018 James Beard Foundation semi-finalist
- 2018 Jean Banchet Awards’ Rising Chef of the Year
- Eater Chicago’s 2017 Chef to Watch
- 2017 Michelin Bib Gourmand designation for restaurant Mi Tocaya
2. Nicole Hamilton, Owner, and Caterer at Simply Sweetness Food Design
Simply Sweetness Food Design specializes in providing catering, event planning, and decor services to create an experience that is sure to leave an impression. Nicole, the owner for fourteen years, found her niche in both the corporate and creative realms by creating edible marketing for her customers.
3. Ellen King, Co-Owner and Head Baker at Hewn Bakery
Bread fanatics will love Ellen King, co-owner and director of baking operations at Hewn Bakery in Evanston, IL. Everything at Hewn is made in-house, from scratch daily. All ingredients are locally sourced for their hand-mixed, hand-shaped bread made with naturally fermented yeast. Fun Fact: The starter (levain/sourdough) was initially created by Ellen several years ago!
- Ellen’s new cookbook was named by Modern Luxury magazine as the Best Upcoming Cookbook in 2018
- Heritage Baking: Recipes for Rustic Breads and Pastries Baked with Artisanal Flour will be available October 23, 2018, but you can pre-order your copy now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound
4. Emily Nejad, Owner of Bon Vivant Cakes
After receiving a red KitchenAid mixer as a gift, Chef Emily soon became obsessed with making cakes. Fast forward, and Bon Vivant Cakes was born!
Emily is known for creating unique, personalized, and delicious cakes for all occasions. Ever artful and always fondant-free, Bon Vivant exclusively uses Swiss meringue buttercream and decorates each cake to the nines with anything from edible lace, cookies, flowers, handcrafted chocolate crowns, lollipops, and lots of sprinkles. Can you say #aesthetic?
- Named one of the 10 Most Influential Women in Chicago by Chicago Woman Magazine
5. Anna Posey, Pastry Chef and Co-Owner of Elske Restaurant
Elske means love in Danish, a nod to co-Owner and husband David Posey’s Danish mother and the fact that he and Anna got engaged in Copenhagen. Anna has a B.F.A. from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in painting and drawing. After returning to Chicago, Anna began working towards a culinary career. She has worked in kitchens including Le Bec Fin (Philadelphia), Blackbird (Chicago), Everest (Chicago), consulted for Boltwood (Evanston), and was then the pastry chef of the Publican and Publican Quality Meats (Chicago). She finished her first illustrated cookbook in 2017, called “Hello, My Name is Ice Cream”, by Dana Cree. She also is a prolific artist and does most of the creative for the restaurant.
- Anna was named Pastry Chef of the Year at 2018 Jean Banchet Awards
- Named by Eater magazine as one of the Hottest New Restaurants in Chicago
- Elske is honored with one Michelin Star
- Named by Bon Appetit Magazine as #2 of America’s Best New Restaurants 2017
- Elske was featured in the New York Times
6. Elaina Vazquez, Founder and CEO of Boutique Bites
Boutique Bites is a creative and custom catering and events company that produces events throughout the city of Chicago and suburbs. Boutique Bites was founded in 2008 by executive chef Elaina Vazquez. The beautiful food and attention to detail are what inspired Elaina to bring this restaurant-style experience to catered events. In 2014, they expanded into their new West Loop headquarters which includes a 4,000 square foot commercial kitchen, as well as a new private event venue, BRIQUE.
Tickets are available now!