Once again year we are excited to have these celebrity judges from the local area. They will be the first to sample the beer and BBQ and cast their vote.
Barry Sorkin - Smoque BBQ
Barry Sorkin is the principle partner, founder, and chef of Smoque BBQ, a little BBQ joint that opened in 2006 in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood, and quickly developed a reputation for serving some of the best BBQ in Chicago and has garnered national attention for bringing real Southern BBQ to the big city. In its first two years, SMOQUE was featured in dozens of media outlets including Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and The New York Times. Smoque is still widely recognized as the standard bearer for Chicago BBQ and continues to receive recognition and accolades for serving some of the best BBQ in the country.
Mr. Sorkin is also co-founder of the Illinois BBQ Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting BBQ in Illinois and leveraging the local BBQ community to feed those in need.
Jennifer Breckner - Beer Education Expert
Jennifer Breckner is a writer, educator, event producer and speaker at the juncture of slow food, craft beer, art and culture. Most recently, she taught a sold-out hop-focused beer tasting session at the 2018 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. For the last five years she's conducted beer education workshops on behalf of Brooklyn Brewery in Chicago at venues such as Binny's Beverage Depot, Whole Foods and several restaurants, as well as team training sessions. She also assists in organizing the Chicago leg of Brooklyn’s international touring event, Beer Mansion. In 2017 she was thrilled to visit Elk Mountain Farms in Idaho to learn firsthand about hop farming and production. Selected as a 2014 U.S. delegate to Slow Food International's Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy, Jennifer participated in a host of international beer tasting workshops that initiated her interest in the culture, history and gastronomical potential of this beverage. What excites her most, though, is to engage the public through fun food and beer pairing events that focus on the culture, history, and taste of craft beer and where maybe, just maybe, she gets someone to try something new.
Lisa Fosler Kelly
Lisa is the co-owner and co-operator of Bread & Wine, a restaurant and wine market in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. Bread & Wine opened in 2012. She obtained a Culinary Certificate from Kendall College in 2011. Prior to owning a restaurant, Lisa graduated from Creighton Law School in Nebraska and practiced law in Chicago. She lives in the OIP neighborhood with her husband, Mark, and their two daughters, Eliana and Delaney.
Rob Levitt - Butcher & Larder
The Butcher & Larder, a modest storefront at Milwaukee and Noble, is Levitt's contribution to the nationwide resurgence of butchery as it was done a century ago, when meat wasn't entombed in plastic and Styrofoam but carved fresh from the carcass by a skilled tradesman. Levitt announced his plans to open it the day after Halloween, when out of the blue he, his wife and pastry chef, Allie, and other key staff left Mado, the pioneering Wicker Park restaurant they'd run for two and a half years.
Kevin Corsello - Pork & Mindy's
Kevin founded Get a Grip Cycles in 2000 on a boot-strapped budget. Having worked in the bicycle industry since 1989, Kevin saw a need to develop a new concept in the bicycle market in Chicago, and a model that delivered true value to clients and clear differentiation for competitive advantage. Get a Grip Cycles established a best-in-class benchmark bicycle fitting process that changed the way high-end bicycles are purchased throughout the country. Get a Grip Cycles has earned numerous 'Best Of' awards, most recently named Best Bicycle Shop by Chicago Magazine and Competitor Magazine and has achieved national recognition. A true entrepreneur and recent graduate of Harvard Business School, Kevin recognized the tremendous white space in the fast casual slow smoked sandwich space and developed the concept of Pork and Mindy’s. Utilizing his BBQ championship winning techniques and recipes as the core, Kevin has assembled a team that will ensure that the quality of the food, culture and vision of Pork and Mindy’s will be executed at the highest level and truly bring a unique and delicious experience for consumers.