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Candid Candace: Food and Drink

Food and Drink


Happy 2024! I think we are all hoping for a bigger, better year. I have some resolutions/goals on my wish list that I’m hoping to achieve. Number one is to spend more time with you! I don’t Shutterstock_2405245867want to miss sharing any nonprofit news that, to me, is like the engine that helps Chicago remain the City of Big

Headshot 2023
Cheers! Here's to YOU, I'm so grateful!

Shoulders. I pray for more kindness in the world but all I can manage is my end of things so I hope to be more  empathetic and give where I can. I hope to be able to spend more time with friends too. I’ve sadly missed out on so many friendly get-togethers and I would like to see this change in the New Year. I pray for continued good health for my loved ones and thank God for my blessings. I’m so appreciative of all who read Candid Candace, especially those who have been with me from the very beginning, in 2008! I’m grateful for my advertisers who believe in me as well as all those who send me items they would like to see included. I love shining a light on Chicago, its events and the people who make it great, like you.


Co-chairs Lezley Hodes, Debi Catenacci and Karen Peters.

Santa came early this year for the Service Club of Chicago! During the nonprofit’s annual holiday luncheon on Dec. 5, President Jean Antoniou announced a surprise $1 million

April schwartz photo
Sheree Schimmer, April Schwartz, Simona Garcia and Mark Olley. (Photo by April Schwartz)

endowment from the SC’s late, longtime member Marguerite Hark (from the Marguerite DeLany Hark Trust). Her service to the club had lasted over 62 years before her resent passing. A toast was raised in her honor. Since 1890, the ladies of The Service Club of Chicago, have been giving back to Chicagoland. And their philanthropy continued at the organization’s holiday luncheon held this year at the elegant Union League Club. It was a sellout crowd in the Lincoln Ballroom with a

Sherrill Bodine and her grandson Santa.

festive tree that towered towards the ceiling. Supporters were encouraged to bring unwrapped toys for this year’s designated nonprofit, Chicago Youth Centers.  A table was stacked high with gifts that was delivered to kids who

Ann Wallace and Shauna Montgomery-- The Chicago Lighthouse's 2024 honoree.

benefit from the Centers’ services and programs (from age 15 mos. to 18 years). Co-chaired by Debi Catenacci, Lezley Hodes and Karen Peters (with presenting sponsor Sherrill Bodine), the afternoon event included holiday shopping from nearly 20 vendors - Mary, Mary, Fumee Claire Candles, Accessorize, Arcangel Jewelry, Barbara Parker Jewelry, Eda and Betty, Heidi Hess, Isabelle Guggenheim, Lauren Lein, Lee Alison Company, Malka Chic, MKP, Mona Lisa Boutique,

Tracey Tarantino DiBuono and Cheryl Coleman.

NINA, Only One Boutique, Paula Marie Collections, Selleria Veneta, Greg Hyder artwork and more. There was something there for everyone on your list! Jean Antoniou, SC president, welcomed the crowd before the traditional sing-along of the Twelve Days of Christmas, led by the “Queen of Cabaret” Denise Tomasello. Denise was also joined by Greg Hyder and Shaun Rajah to the tune of “Santa Baby.” The funds raised will go into the organization’s Philanthropic Fund which provides grants that expand facilities, improve equipment and initiate new programs for Chicagolands 501(c)(3) organizations.



Queen Nikki Friar

There were so many holiday parties! I still think we are making up for lost time after Covid. I especially loved

Nikki and her dear friend Kathy Piccone.

celebrating Nikki Friar. Beloved by all, she will returning to her Scottish homeland in February. The room was packed at Marchesa for this early send-off with Nikki's dear friend, D.J. Madrid Perry playing the hottest beats- no one wanted to leave the dance floor! Her friend/boss Kathryn Alvera read a sweet letter from her friends before an amazing cake that looked exactly like a Louis Vuitton suitcase (complete with an edible passport on top) was cut. Nikki made a dramatic entrance down the staircase dressed in a hot pink, hi-low dress with a tulle edging that brought oohs and ahhs from the loving crowd. Even though she's not leaving until Feb., Chicago already feels like it has a piece missing.


Sherry Lea Holson hosting her annual Christmas Extravaganza.

Sherry Lea Holson hosted her annual Christmas Extravaganza at Knollwood Country Club in Lake Forest recently with around 150 of her closest friends. Her parties are always wrapped in kindness, with invitees to Facetune_15-12-2023-22-55-43this event encouraged to bring a toy, this year, for the kids at The Chicago Lighthouse, a nonprofit that is near and dear to her heart. (She was the organization's honoree in 2022). Ladies mixed and mingled in the club's beautifully decorated rooms before the lunch chimes rang. Then, all the festively dressed guests moved to the ballroom, which was truly a "White Christmas." Sherry had the room decorated all in white from the table linens to the ornaments on the tree, it was a beautiful vision.

Rhonda Sanderson, Tracey DiBuono, Peach Carr and Rosemary Fanti.

Long tables displayed exquisitely wrapped ornaments for the ornament swap and gifts for the kiddos overflowed under the tree. One of the hallmarks of Sherry's party is

Dr. Janet Szlyk, Almira Yllana Martin, Lindsay Inglis, Tracey DiBuono and Karoline Kijowski. 

always the "table skits" where table-mates huddle together in private spaces to choreograph a skit performed to a chosen Christmas song. I've been lucky to sit with professional choreographer Tracey Tarantino DiBuono every year, which in my opinion, makes us an automatic winner! Tina Weller offered an inspiring toast to Sherry and, in one skit, professional singer Irene Mojica, performed the Christmas song herself for her table skit. In the past, Sherry has selected a variety of charities to receive the bounty of toys. She truly walks the walk in defining the spirit of Christmas. Cheers to you Sherry and congrats on another wonderful afternoon of camaraderie, holiday cheer and giving back.

A few of the glam party guests!


Bears coach
Bears Coach Matt Eberflus beside a David Yarrow photograph.

Coming off a Bears win on a Monday night, the mood was celebratory at Art + Athletics, An Evening with World Renowned Artist & Storyteller David Yarrow recently. Chicago Bears Coach Matt Eberflus was presented with the Iron Horse Award, named in honor of Lou Gehrig, who battled ALS, just like Matt's dad, Stan Eberflus, Jr. “It was an honor for our charity to be the recipient of this wonderful evening. ALS United Greater Chicago is forever grateful to the Bears organization, Coach Eberflus, Arica Hilton and David Yarrow. It’s an evening we will never forget,” said Julie Sharpe, President and CEO of ALS United Greater Chicago. Lou Canellis, Fox 32’s sports

Arica David Ryan Poles Eberflus'
Arica Hilton, David Yarrow, Ryan Poles, Matt and Kelly Eberflus.

director, emceed the event at Morgan Arts Complex where the Hilton Contemporary Gallery is showing Yarrow’s latest works. After Yarrow’s exhilarating and breathtaking presentation of his photographs of wildlife, models and sports superstars, some all in one photo, the world-renowned artist and storyteller offered prints of a

Coach Eberflus and Julie Sharpe
Coach Eberflus and Jule Sharpe.

photograph he took of a bear in Iliamna, Alaska, to the guests for $2,000 each. Yarrow was signing, framing and sending them to all who made purchases. “The event raised over $100,000 thanks to Mr. Yarrow’s generosity and incredible talent. We are overwhelmed by it all,” continued Ms. Sharpe. The Iron Horse Award is given to the individual who displays the exact characteristics Lou Gehrig, the original Iron Horse, displayed on and off the field. Lou Gehrig was known for his humility, courage, strength, love for his family and a willingness and desire to stand back in the shadows while being part of an incredible team. He was a man’s man, who spoke the way he lived his life and not through words. The mission of the ALS United Chicago is to foster bold research initiatives, advance national and state advocacy efforts and provide comprehensive care and support to individuals and families affected by ALS. (Photos by Mila Samokhina)

Yarrow Chicago Bear
'Chicago Bear' photograph by David Yarrow._______________________________________________________________________
Butcher and the Bear rendering, set to open at 2721 N. Halsted.

The hotly anticipated  Butcher and the Bear will be opening soon in Lincoln Park! The boutique, chef-driven restaurant, located at 2721 N. Halsted, is described as “where the classic speakeasy meets the timeless allure of

Susie and Chris Maloyan--Second City Prime Steak and Seafood.
Susie and Chris Maloyan (owners Second City Prime Steak and Seafood).

a premium steakhouse.” Owned by Susie and Chris Maloyan (of Second City Prime Steak and Seafood fame) and Kosti Demos (owner of Sapori Trattoria in Lincoln Park), the restaurant’s menu will be led by partner/Chef Saul Ramos and pay homage to the age old art of butchery. The menu will feature a variety of delicious dishes including Faroe Island salmon, grilled

Butcher and the Bear menu with a variety of sure-to-be delicious offerings.

Dover sole, caviar, house-made pasta, as well as the finest cuts of meat, including steak and Australian/Japanese Wagyu tasting boards. Dark wood, dimmed lighting and plush leather banquettes will create an atmosphere of understated luxury. A vintage-inspired cocktail menu, curated by expert mixologists, will add an extra layer of nostalgia to the experience. The restaurant’s name refers to Chris Maloyan, representing the butcher, and Chef Ramos as the bear. The space was formerly the Mayan Palace Mexican restaurant. Co-owner Maloyan shared on his Instagram, “From the blueprint to the plate, we’re scripting a culinary love story.”  And we can’t wait! (Butcher and the Bear, 2721 N. Halsted (Lincoln Park),


With 2024 upon us and, as with everyone, it’s time for reflection. The past year has been both good and bad, with the good winning out, fortunately. First off, I feel that every day Shutterstock_2406742309we’re above ground is a good one so there’s that. Secondly, any day that my husband is happy and healthy is the best day of my life. Everything else is really just gravy. I never like thinking like a pessimist, but our political situation just sucks, and I’ll leave it at that. I Gratitude miss the days when political coverage was few and far between. Now I rarely watch television. On a brighter note, Chicago has never seemed more vibrant. Mind you, I’m looking at this from a writer’s perspective and I’ve never found so much to cover than in this past year. It’s almost like everyone is trying to make up for lost time since Covid. The nonprofits are doing well, with many having record-breaking events. The pop-up experiences have never been more prevalent, it seems like there’s one on every corner now but I’m not complaining. Chicago’s rich holiday offerings have included an abundance of twinkling lights, beautiful decor and a Santa in every store. And, even though Macy’s décor doesn’t come close to the days of Marshall Field’s, at least they’re still trying.

As far as NY resolutions, I think my friend and celebrity chef Jaime Laurita said it best, “I want to be more SELFish” and what he means by this is doing more things YOU want to do and not because you’re trying to make someone else happy.  I was curious as to what resolutions, hopes and dreams some CHI-lebrities might have for the coming year, so I quizzed them. Check out their thoughtful answers below!

IMG_0867Let’s start with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, who has been treasurer since 1998. Her connection with the

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas with her 2024 calendar.

people in Chicago is like no other. She is truly a politician who is looking out for us with her tax refunds to homeowners, ‘random acts of kindness,’ community outreach and so much more. Her hopes for 2024 are:

1)  That no one I love dies.

2)  That Mayor Brandon Johnson gets his act together.

3)  That the happy people in the mountains of Greece never come to know the evils of city living.

The Joffrey Ballet’s Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE, who has been in this position

Ashley Wheater
The Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, MBE.

since 2007, has brought this award-winning company to ever greater heights. His New Year’s resolutions include:

1)  Giving more time to my family.

2)  Finding peace, understanding and tolerance across the world.

3)  Take care of The Joffrey Ballet and our exciting year ahead, both here in Chicago, across the U.S. and beyond.

Chef Jaime Laurita.

Celebrity Chef Jaime Laurita has been a force since he first started cooking for stars like Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Aerosmith, to name a few. He is one of 11 kids born into a proud working-class Italian family. His sister, Caroline Manzo, was a Real Housewife of New Jersey. He and his husband Rich Lane were even married on the show. Here are his resolutions and hopes for a New Year:

1)   Practice putting myself in other people’s shoes to become even more giving.

2)   Mentor more children.

3)   Become more SELFish and allow me to love myself more.

4)   My hopes for 2024 are that the city of Chicago can get a handle on crime and the migrant situation. I’m praying that the world can come together politically.

Rich Lane  The Bullshitz Bros. and Jaime Laurita
Rich Lane, The Bullshitz Bros. and Chef/Designer Jaime Laurita.

Giordano Dance Chicago’s Artistic Director Nan Giordano has led this amazing jazz dance company since her father, the legendary choreographer Gus Giordano, passed away in 2008. GDC, now in its 61st season, boasts a half century of worldwide performances (28

Sophie Elizabeth Darley Casey and Keenan Giordano Casey
Sophie Elizabeth Darley Casey and Keenan Casey with his mom Nan Giordano.
Nan and Gus
Giordano Dance Chicago Artistic Director Nan Giordano and her famous choreographer dad, Gus Giordano.

countries, 47 states and more than 1300 cities). Nan has much to be grateful for as her son Keenan recently married the love of his life, Sophie Casey. But besides this happy news, she also hopes for:

1)   In our splintered world of conflict and turmoil, I want to focus on pushing harder to radiate energy, beauty, and unity into the world through dance.

2)   I also want to celebrate every day as a gift, full of positivity, kindness and love.

3)   And lastly, I am committed to writing it all down every day in my beautiful new journal gifted to me by a dear friend. I have much to be grateful for.

4)   For 2024, I hope the world finds balance and embraces all, despite differences. I hope everyone can lead with their hearts - not hatred, destruction and violence.

Nan Giordano (L) with part of Giordano Dance Chicago company.

Leslie Zemeckis, who along with her filmmaker husband and Chicago native Robert Zemeckis, are only part time Chicagoans, splitting their adventures now between Montecito, Tuscany, Palm Springs, Chicago and other exotic locales. She is an amazing filmmaker,

Leslie Zemeckis
The beautiful and multi-talented Leslie Zemeckis.

award-winning documentarian, actress, author and avid animal-lover. (This year, she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her work telling women's stories and promoting female authors.) She shares:

1)   Generally, I don’t make resolutions but instead goals. In 2024, I intend to reach more people and share the power of stories, especially through my book  recommendations. I intend to grow my mentoring program “Stories Matter” (professional female writers mentoring the next generation of female storytellers).

2)  I intend to spread the word and worth about pigs. Having rescued several, I hope to share their intelligence and charm so people would stop eating them.

3)  My hopes for 2024 are for more adventure, laughter and learning new things and to connect with more like-minded folks! Blessings to everyone for a grand 2024!

Leslie and Robert Zemeckis
Leslie and Robert Zemeckis (a Chicago native) at the premiere of her documentary "Behind the Burly Q."

Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham was appointed to the bench by the Supreme Court to replace then-retiring Justice Anne Burke in Dec. 2022. She will run for this position in

Joy best
Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham.

March 2024 (and has my vote). Justice Cunningham has served at all levels of the judiciary in the State of Illinois and has consistently received high marks in performing her duties as judge. She was elected president of the Chicago Bar Assoc. where she became the first Black woman to lead the nation’s largest municipal bar association. Her New Year’s Eve resolutions are:

1)  I plan to get back to my routine of focusing on physical fitness including jogging and exercising 5 times per week.

2)  I also plan on continuing to do at least one community outreach activity per month in my role as Supreme Court Justice in an ongoing effort to bring transparency to the function of the Supreme Court and the judiciary in general.

Justice Joy Cunningham with first responders giving out "Toys for Tots."

3)  Expand my mentoring program for new lawyers.

4)  I’m motivated to declutter my home in response to an uptick in need by not-for-profit organizations for donations.

One of her most fervent hopes for 2024 is “that the voters of Cook County recognize my dedication and commitment as a Supreme Court Justice and vote to keep me on the court.” She also hopes for a “significant reduction in gun violence and car jackings in our beautiful city and an end to the wars between Russia and Ukraine, Hamas and Israel.”

Lisa Fielding is an award-winning anchor and reporter for Newsradio 780. She brings three decades of news and

Lisa Fielding, award-winning radio show host WBBM Newsradio.

sports, radio and television experience to WBBM. She is also an adjunct professor at Medill School of Journalism and the host of the podcast "Backstage Chicago with Lisa Fielding." She is a talented storyteller and my go-to for afternoon enjoyment. Her resolutions include:

1)  Cook at home more. I need more veggies. I hope a new air fryer will do the trick. Who wants to come over for dinner?

2)  Get organized. Have you seen my closets? 2024 is the year I hope to declutter and purge a bit.

3)  Work less. Play more. You know the saying. (I don’t need much willpower for this one)

4)    Don’t waste time on people who don’t reciprocate your love, effort and energy.


Lisa Fielding in a promo for her podcast "Backstage Chicago with Lisa Fielding."

Jon Jay Harris, the award-winning Executive Vice President and Chief Communications & Networking Officer for Conagra Brands (and a great musician!) has some wonderful and timely advice for “protecting your peace” in 2024. (Follow him on Instagram for more

Jon and Alex Harris
Jon and Alex Harris.

motivational messaging (@jonjayharris).

1)  It’s okay to cancel a commitment.

2)  It’s okay to not take a call.

3)  It’s okay to change your mind.

4)  It’s okay to take a day off.

5)  It’s okay to speak up.

6)  It’s okay to be alone.

7)  It’s okay to let go.

8)  It’s okay to say no.

John St. Augustine is an award-winning talk radio host and producer, best-selling author, internationally known speaker and so much more. He has been called the “Voice of America” by veteran broadcaster Bill Kurtis. He helped create and launch the “Oprah & Friends” XM Satellite

51iB3tgNoCL._AC_UF1000 1000_QL80_
John St. Augustine, award-winning radio host, author, motivational speaker, and more.

Radio network and was the Executive Producer of “The Dr. Oz Show.” I’m also lucky to have him as the co- host/producer of “Candid Candace – The Podcast. During the course of his long career, he befriended the late John Denver (who was one of his mentors), delivered Ted Talks and, in his recent adventure, authored a book about the great Chicago Cubs catcher Randy Hundley, Ironman,that is getting rave reviews. Here are his simple, yet eloquent suggestions for 2024.

1) Don't make New Year's resolutions-make New Day resolutions. Every morning you wake up is like winning the lottery of life. Spend your winnings wisely, as tomorrow is promised to none of us

2)   Remember that your lifelines are more important than the headlines. Go within and you'll never go without.

3)  Sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry, and laugh more, worry less.

Mark Olley
The always dapper Mark Olley relaxing at Le Colonial.

And, last but not least, man-about-town, beloved philanthropist and Manager at Chicago Financial Services,  Mark Olley, shared some great advice (“rules of life”) that he said his dog Grayson found on the internet!

1) Be present.                                                                              Mark's rules of life

2) Give it time.

3) Be grateful.

4) Exude kindness.

5) Let it go.

6) Don't compare.

7) Take responsibility.

8) Embrace change.

9) Cultivate resilience.

10) See the light.





Fashion Group International of Chicago will honor one of our very own, Tina Koegel, at Lux Bar, 18 E. Bellevue, on Jan. 31. Tina is the Brand Experience Manager at Neiman Marcus Michigan Ave. She has done so much to support, not only the fashion community, but almost every nonprofit I can think of. She says 'yes' whenever she can and I can't wait to celebrate HER! I hope you can join me! For tickets, $90- $120), click here!

Tina Koegel invite_______________________________________________________________________

Nancy Traylor and family.

Nancy and Glenn Traylor hosted a joyous holiday party at the elegant Astor Club Chicago recently. I remember when it was Maxim's and, thankfully, its darling owner Adam Bilter, didn't change it much from the gorgeous original that was a replica of the original Maxim's de Paris, that has operated on the Rue Royale since 1893. 

Philanthropist Lee Blackwell Baur and her co-host David

Jane Lepauw, Japanese consulate and Lee Blackwell Baur.

Hiller, former Chicago Tribune publisher, opened their lovely homes in the Gold Coast to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Benjamin Marshall Society. The ongoing celebration reflects Marshall's impact on Chicago as a Beaux Arts architect, urbanist, real estate financier, interior designer, art collector, fashionista and an influencer of the swinging '20s.

Chilli Pepper celebrates her birthday.

The one and only Chilli Pepper was feted by friends at Mia Francesca recently. Party guests included Todd Hatoff, Frank Jeffery, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Andre Walker, Chuck Jordan, Alpana Singh, Justice Joy Cunningham, Dr. John Hefferon, Bunny and Howard Frum and so many others. Here's to a 100 more Chilli!


Jessica George with Chef Paul Virant.

Felix Magazine hosted the first of its Charity Dinner Series at Joy District recently. The event was hosted by Meredith Marks, of the Real

Fete Magazine founder D.C. Crenshaw with glam friends.

Housewives of Salt Lake City, and The Linz Shop (Linz angus meats), along with Jessica George (founder of Felix Mag and the Aparecio Foundation). The elegant three course sit down dinner was literally a feast for the senses, beginning with Meredith's signature caviar brand, Meredith Marks' Diamond Ossetra Caviar. The evening served as a fundraiser for the Aparecio Foundation to help them deliver food boxes to schools for the holidays. Chef Paul Virant planned a fabulous menu with DJ Madrid Perry supplying the beats. Congrats to all who supported this wonderful event including Sarah Vargo, Joy District, The Beverage Library, the LAB Artist Agency, VisMed-3D, Divine Affairz, Meagan Shuptar and so many others. (For more info about this deserving nonprofit, please click here.) _______________________________________________________________________

Here are some great upcoming events that I think you should put on your calendar! First up (not in any particular order), Giordano Dance Chicago is celebrating its 61st anniversary on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Ravenswood Event Center. "Studio 61" will feature a sneak peek of Al Blackstone's new Gershwin extravaganza with food, music, dancing, mixing, mingling and more! I hope to see you there. For more info, click here or call 312.922.1332.

Giordano Dance Chicago Gala Feb. 24
Giordano Dance Chicago's Studio 61 event on 2/24/24.

Chicago's boating event of the year will be coming to McCormick Place Jan. 10- 14. Discover Boating Chicago Boat Show will showcase everything needed for a fun day on the water, from sales of hundreds of the newest power boats and latest in boating products, to fishing gear, accessories and marine electronics. For more info, click here.

DB Chicago Boat Show-41
Chicago Boat Show at McCormick Place Jan. 10-14.


I received a delightful email from Michael Anderson at the Chicago History Museum. Apparently, Jessica Pushor (Costume Collections Manager) saw the Antiques Roadshow segment where my Playboy costume and some collectibles were appraised. He is interested in acquiring it for the Museum. The costume was eventually appraised at $25,000 in the updated follow-up to the segment below.

The World of Chocolate will return to Union Station on Friday, Feb. 9, from 6-9 pm. This global chocolate tour will offer delicious samplings from renowned chocolatiers, restaurants, chefs and more, entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, an open bar and the famous punchboard. The event is a fundraiser for the AIDS Foundation Chicago and, to date, has raised over $2.9 million since its inception. (For tickets and more info, click here.) 

World of Chocolate 2024______________________________________________________________________________________________________

In this latest "Candid Candace - The Podcast," my co-host/producer John St. Augustine and I share some of our favorite NYE memories including my last NYE party at the Playboy Mansion that involved one very surprising moment for Hef. I also chatted with the fabulous Priscilla Presley again, this time about her new movie by Sophia Coppola ("Priscilla") that was based on her book “Elvis & Me.” When I asked her what her favorite part of the film was – it involved a very private and special moment with Elvis. Listen here!  ______________________________________________________________________


I hope your year is off to a great start! Thanks for being here and I hope 2024 has a lot of wonderful things in store for you! 

Love, as always,


[email protected]

P.S. Something to make you smile...


November 20, 2023

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