SOURCE: Common Threads

Common Threads

February 23, 2010 11:32 ET

Common Threads Hosts 5th Annual World Festival March 1

Ingrid Hoffmann and Nigella Lawson Are Among This Year's Participants in the Annual Culinary Event to Benefit Health Education for Chicago Youth and to Celebrate Art Smith's 50th Birthday!

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - February 23, 2010) - Some of Chicago's and the world's most notable chefs will bring their culinary expertise together for Common Threads' Fifth Annual "World Festival" on Monday, March 1st from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Soldier Field. Ingrid Hoffmann, Stephanie Izard, Nigella Lawson and Ming Tsai are among this year's celebrity chefs who will serve up global gourmet cuisine in the annual culinary event to benefit health and nutritional education for Chicago youth, and also Common Threads' co-founder Art Smith's 50th birthday.

In addition, actor and comedian Tim Meadows, formerly of Saturday Night Live, and Second City's Brad Morris will emcee this year's live auction blending comedy with the culinary excellence on display.

General Admission is $250 per person and VIP tickets are $500 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at

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. The live auction 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.

Following the main event, chefs and VIP guests will groove and mingle to the music of Sara Wasserman at the stylish James Hotel.

This year's host committee includes Lee Blackwell Baur, Katherine Chez, Lisa Erspamer, Candace Jordan, Brian McCaskey, Sue & Mike McCloskey, Ken O'Keefe & Jason Stephens, Mayari Pritzker, Patrick Sheahan, Marilyn Vitale, and Linda Yu. The Honorary Chair is Gail Simmons from Food & Wine and Bravo's Top Chef. Lead sponsors of the event are Allen Brothers, Harris Bank, Anheuser-Busch, Sara Lee, Chicago Magazine, American Airlines, Nestle Waters, The James Hotel, Studio AG and Food & Wine.

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

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:
    Eleanor Leichenko
    Email Contact
    312-329-2501 ext. 209

    Terri Hickey
    Public Relations Committee Chair
    Email Contact