Chefs gather for Common Threads World Festival

February 18, 2010 Ingrid Hoffmann, Stephanie Izard, Nigella Lawson and Ming Tsai are among this year's celebrity chefs who will serve up global gourmet cuisine for Common Threads' Fifth Annual "World Festival" on Monday, March 1.

World Festival celebrates food and how it influences the many different cultures of the world around us. In addition to global food stations, guests will enjoy a silent auction including weekend getaways, tickets to sporting events and culinary experiences. Actor and comedian Tim Meadows, formerly of Saturday Night Live, and Second City's Brad Morris will emcee the auction that features a trip to Italy, sponsored by Academia Barilla; an in-home, five-course dinner with Season 5 Top Chef contestant Radhika Desai; and lunch with Nigella Lawson.

"At Common Threads we teach low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals because we believe that through our hands-on cooking classes we can help prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trend of generations of non-cookers, while celebrating our cultural differences and the things people all over the world have in common," says Executive Director Linda Novick O'Keefe. "We are thrilled to be celebrating Art's birthday at World Festival. Art is ringing in his 50th with a sleek new body, plenty of energy and a healthier outlook on life. He's eating at home, making healthier choices and exercising — things we stress to our students and their families every day."

This year's festival attendees will be treated to global delicacies by renowned chefs including Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo; Michelle Bernstein, Michy's; Graham Elliot Bowles, Graham Elliot; Koren Grieveson, AVEC; Kevin Hickey, Seasons, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago; Gavin Kaysen, Café Boulud; Hubert Keller, Fleur De Lys; Anita Lo, Annisa Restaurant; Giuseppe Tentori, BOKA; Ben Ford, Ford's Filling Station; Carla Hall, Top Chef Season 5; Barbara Lynch, Menton & No. 9 Park; and Matthias Merges & Della Gossett, Charlie Trotter's.

Common Threads 5th Annual World Festival will be held from on Monday, March 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Soldier Field in Chicago. General Admission is $250 per person and VIP tickets are $500 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at

Common Threads is also promoting healthy eating through its first cookbook, Eat the World: Good-for-You Food for Families. The cookbook features simplified versions of the healthy, ethnically diverse recipes prepared by students in Common Threads' celebrated after-school program. Recipes have been selected and ingredient lists simplified for easy cooking with just a child and a parent, or a family of four. All recipes are nutritious, economical and full of fresh produce and vibrant flavors, so they're easy and fun for families to make at home. The user-friendly cookbook includes color photos, and reinforces important nutrition information alongside every recipe. Cookbooks are available for purchase and resale at select retail locations and restaurants, or online at

Common Threads, a non- profit organization, was founded in 2003 by Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey, and his partner, Jesus Salgueiro. The organization reaches nearly 1,000 children, ages 8-12, annually across 18 sites in Chicago, two sites in Los Angeles, three sites in Miami, four sites in Washington, D.C., and a licensed Common Threads program that operates independently at the Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club in Kosciusko, Mississippi. For more information on Common Threads, please visit

6 TO 9 PM

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