Chicago Park District and Green City Market Junior Board host Big Table Dinner at Washington Park

Photo by Eddy “Precise Lamarre for Steed Media Service

How would you feel about having dinner with 100 strangers in a city park? Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it is! Green City Market Junior Board in partnership with Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks presented the Big Table Dinner. The Big Table Dinner is a family-style, farm-to-table dinner for 100 guests active in their respective communities. The most recent Big Table event was held at Washington Park on the South Side of Chicago.

The menu consisted of slow-roasted Jakes Country Meat pork shoulder with Wisconsin fermentation black garlic BBQ sauce, wood-fired Catalpa Farms leg of lamb with Smits chimichurri provided by chef Jared Baston of The Nomad Food Co.

Grilled watermelon salad, white grape almond emulsion, Prairie Farm goat cheese, balsamic, featuring Werp Farm was provided by chef Matt Sliwinski of the Promontory.

Chef Anne Dannhausen of OMango provided roasted Nichols Farm fingerlings, roasted cherry tomatoes, arugula, basil and garlic salad.

Chef Donald Curry of The Southern Pitch Food Truck provided Effa Manley’s collard greens with smoked turkey, and olive oil and garlic sautéed collard greens.

Desert was an assortment of mini cupcakes provided by by chef Stephanie Hart of Brown Sugar Bakery.

To say that the meal was delicious would be an understatement. Dinner was amazing. The most fulfilling part of this dinner were the conversations and new relationships formed with strangers while breaking bread.

Angela Brooks of CHA and Sandria Washington of (Photo by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre for Steed Media Service)

When asked about her thoughts on the Big Table Dinner and the significance of it being held in Washington Park, current resident Angela Brooks said, “I think it’s a great idea. I love seeing a lot of my neighbors. The thought of bringing community together over food is pretty much a common theme, no matter what somebody’s background we all have to eat. It’s a good way to bring people together. My favorite dish was the dream-sickle cupcake from Brown Sugar Bakery.People always ask me why I choose to live in Washington Park based on all the demographics, but this is one of the best parks in the city and it is underutilized. It’s kind of sad that we don’t use this great space better because it’s designed for this kind of stuff.”

The next Big Table Dinner is Sunday, Sept. 20 at Davis Square Park from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the website

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