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posted: 6/17/2014 5:12 PM

Food tasting event to feature 20 local chefs

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  • Cafe Roma chef Frank Redisi will make panna cotta for the Pallet to Palate food and wine tasting fundraiser Monday, June 23, in Elgin.

    Cafe Roma chef Frank Redisi will make panna cotta for the Pallet to Palate food and wine tasting fundraiser Monday, June 23, in Elgin.
    Courtesy of Cafe Roma


Fox Valley foodies can taste a variety of samples from 20 different local chefs at Elgin's first Pallet to Palate food and wine tasting event.

The fundraiser, which will take place 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, June 23, is hosted by Food for Greater Elgin, a client-choice food pantry.

"It's a great opportunity for people to come support the city of Elgin," said Daryl Rubin, director of development at the food pantry. "You have this wide variety of different foods from all these local chefs and restaurants. It's an incredible thing to be able to come and try them all in one place."

At the venue, Elgin ArtSpace Lofts and HOTI Gallery, 51 Spring St., Elgin, chefs will prepare and serve food samples of their choice.

Elgin BBQ Pit, for example, is making pulled pork, jalepeno coleslaw and jalepeno hush puppies. Elgin Country Club will serve Korean beef stir-fry. Glenn Keenan, grand chef at the Grand Victoria Casino, will make garlic parmesan burgers.

Rubin said many of the dishes the chefs are preparing are created with ingredients that can be found at Food for Greater Elgin.

"The idea of the event is that our clients could be able to reproduce these foods if they wanted because they're using items that can be found in the pantry," she said.

Also participating in the event is Frank Redisi, owner and executive chef of Cafe Roma, who will be making restaurant specialties: house-made meatballs and panna cotta, an eggless Italian custard.

"People who haven't heard of us can come try our food," he said. "It's kind of the way we do business: word-of-mouth."

Redisi said he heard about the event from frequent customers, who are "huge supporters of the food pantry," and they asked him to get involved.

Redisi's cousin and restaurant manager will be at the event helping with the food preparation, and his kids might tag along, he said.

"It'll be kind of a family event," Redisi said.

The event will also feature musicians and other forms of artwork, Rubin said.

"The whole idea is to evoke your senses -- to come, to eat, to taste, to embrace Elgin and at the same time, to support the pantry," she said.

Tickets are $40 or $120 for two people, which includes a $40 donation to the food pantry.

All proceeds go toward Food for Greater Elgin. For tickets or for more information, visit

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