Championship BBQ & Cook-Off Kudos

(for information on the upcoming 22nd Annual BBQ, scroll down)


Championship BBQ & Cook-Off Kudos

Marcos Ascencio (Bar Lupo) won the Jade Grill grand prize for his braised pork belly taco at the 21st annual Championship BBQ & Cook-Off held Sunday, May 20 at Galleria Marchetti during the NRA show in Chicago.  Ryan McCaskey (Acadia) claimed the Vitamix Vita Prep runner up prize for his smoked pork belly, Vietnamese glaze, cheddar grit cake, kale slaw.

Chicago’s top chefs faced off over flames at the BBQ & Cook-Off and fed close to a thousand of the industry’s leading chefs and operators. Thanks to all the champion chefs who donated their time and talents: Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno); John Coletta (Quartino); Cory Morris (Boleo at Gray Hotel Chicago); Martial Nougier (Bistronomic); Brenton Balika (Margeaux Brasserie at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago); and Tom Carlin (Dove’s Luncheonette). And thanks to wine director Belinda Chang and mixologist Adam Seger (iPic Entertaiment).

The prize for Best Décor, an iSi Rapid Infusion, went to Jason Heiselman, executive chef Hearst EDR, Restaurant Associates. He also scored a three liter bottle of J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet.

Heiselman’s Cool Dog, a play on a Chicago Red Hot, featured Smithfield Applewood Smoked Slab Bacon, hot mustard glaze, ramp relish, smoked tomato and shishito pepper. The RA team designed  a booth resembling an automat as a creative way to deliver the Cool Dog. They went all out and designed a logo and Cool Dog t-shirts as well.

It was all for a good cause-- World Central Kitchen, an international organization led by chef José Andrés, which uses its network of world-renowned chefs to find sustainable solutions to end world hunger and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, which distributes the equivalent of 160,000 meals daily. A silent auction by Sportsnation Enterprise also benefitted CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) an organization that supports families of food and beverage employees in times of crisis brought on by medical emergencies, a death in the family, loss of home and other extreme conditions. The auction featured celebrity-signed memorabilia and musical instruments such as a Fleetwood Mac signed guitar.

 Barbara Mathias, former Food Arts publisher, founded the event two decades ago and continues to produce it along with her colleague Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts. Food News Media, publisher of FSR and QSR magazines, is the media partner.

The following sponsors make the BBQ possible: Anheuser Busch, Arc Cardinal, Beam Suntory, Bigelow Tea, Blount Foods, Chefwear, Constellation Brands, DeCecco Pasta, Dinova, Farmer Brothers, Fever-Tree, Frost 321, J Lohr, JBS, Jealous Devil, Jade Range, Nestle Waters San Pellegrino and Aqua Panna, Impossible Foods, The Perfect Purée, Skewdatz, Smithfield, Sweet Street, Tablesafe,  U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Unilever Food Solutions, VerTerra



Here's the official invitation to the 22nd annual Championship BBQ & Cook-Off.  This must-attend party during the National Restaurant Show is open to all industry personnel.  See you there!



The Championship BBQ & Cook-Off is an annual event held on Sunday during the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago that showcases local chefs and brings together restaurant professionals with manufacturers and suppliers.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 Galleria Marchetti
825 West Erie Street, Chicago IL 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Corporate sponsorship benefits include:

PRODUCT VISIBILITY – Each sponsor will be given the opportunity to show- case product at an individual table staffed by either their own chef or mixolo- gist/brand ambassador. In addition, the 15 competing celebrity chefs in the “Cook off” competition will also be given the opportunity to use sponsor prod- ucts in their creations.

TRADE INVITATION-ONLY EVENT – 2,000+ restaurant operators will be invited and sponsor’s logo will be featured in the invitation. FSR and QSR magazines, Food News Media is the event media partner and will send out the invitations and publicize the pre and post event coverage

ATTENDEE DATA – A complete list of all the operator attendees (including names, phone numbers and email addresses) will be made available to spon- sors to connect with attendees post event.

CUSTOMER INTERACTION – As a sponsor you are entitled to submit up to 250 names and email addresses to add to the list of invitees. This is an opportunity to meet with your current and prospective customers in a fun and relaxed en- vironment. Past attendees include f&b executives from Marriott, Disney, Apple- bees, Morton’s, Ritz Carlton, Smith and Wollensky, Myriad Restaurant Group, Nobu and many other independent restaurateurs from all over the country.

GRATIFICATION – Sponsorship fees make it possible to donate generously to The Chicago Food Depository and also to World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés whose mission is to help

eradicate hunger. World Central Kitchen is a chef driven non-pro t focused on smart solutions to hunger and poverty. For more information, visit and

PAST BEVERAGE SPONSORS include Wines of France, Stella Artois, Brown Forman and Wines of Chile etc.


The Championship BBQ & Cook-Off is regarded by food industry insiders as a “must attend,” high-powered networking event.


Each year the best chefs in Chicago face off over flames to feed up to 1,000 of the industry’s leading chefs and operators.

  • The BBQ also attracts many high-quality sponsors integral to the event’s success.

  • Barbara Mathias, former Food Arts publisher, founded the event two decades ago and continues to produce it along with her colleague Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts.


All photography courtesy of Nannette Bedway Studio, LLC.