This fall, one of the biggest events in the restaurant world is hitting the Midwest. The Welcome Conference, founded in 2014 by hosts Will Guidara and Anthony Rudolf (and now joined by Brian Canlis), will take place in Chicago on September 23 at the Steppenwolf Theatre. On Wednesday, the event announced the packed lineup of chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, and industry leaders who will be speaking at the conference, including Danny Meyer, Missy Robbins, and Andrew Zimmern.
Below, find the full-list of talent slated for this September; tickets go on sale to the public on August 7 at 12 p.m. CST.
Danny Meyer – Restaurateur, Union Square Hospitality Group
Andrew Zimmern – Restaurateur & TV Personality
Missy Robbins – Chef & Restaurateur
Sean Feeney – Restaurateur
Phil Vettel – Dining Critic, Chicago Tribune
Ken Fredrickson – Master Sommelier
Mindy Segal – Chef & Author
Tim King – CEO, Urban Prep Academics
Kevin Brown – CEO, Lettuce Entertain You
Maile Carpenter – Editor-in-Chief, Food Network Magazine
Donnie Madia – Restaurateur, One Off Hospitality
Kevin Boehm – Restaurateur, Boka Restaurant Group
Belinda Chang – Sommelier
Kevin Boehm and Donnie Madia, both past speakers at the Welcome Conference, will be spearheading the Chicago debut.
"We pour so much time, effort, and emotion into the conference each year – it’s one of the highlights of our careers – and because of that it’s always been hard to think about expanding it beyond the single event day in New York City," Rudolf told Food & Wine of the decision to take the conference to Chicago. "Nearly every year we talk with our team about what else we might do, where else we could take it, but we return back to the same idea of focusing on where we are because it takes so much to make it what it has become."