Chicago’s star-studded week
In a world crowded with Yelp and Google reviews, it’s easy to forget that some people actually get paid to rank restaurants. But for almost 100 years, the Michelin inspectors, as they’re called, have been anonymously eating in the world’s literal finest restaurants and getting paid to rank them. This year, Chicago added four new restaurants to its Michelin-starred lineup, bringing the city’s total star count to 23.
Among the newcomers is Kasama, the nation’s only Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant. As Tim Flores told Eater after receiving the star, he and co-owner, Genie Kwon, never intended Kasama to be a fine dining restaurant when they opened in July 2020. The original idea was for Kwon to bake morning pastries and Flores to serve a casual lunch menu with sandwiches and lumpia. But with pandemic restrictions and the labor shortage, Flores and Kwon decided to shift to a Filipino-flavored tasting menu as a way to “serve fewer guests more expensive meals with fewer servers.” Five months after flipping their menu, that $185 tasting menu (which includes lumpia) received its star.
Three finalists bid for Chicago’s single casino license
This week, all three of the finalists bidding for Chicago’s single casino spot held town halls to present their proposals and hold public discussions. Since last Fall, the city of Chicago has been slowly chipping away at the proposals. The finalists are Hard Rock (a new development near Soldier Field), Bally’s (a conversion of the former Tribune publishing plant in River West), and Rivers 78 (a new development in Near South Side).
All three casinos expect to bring in $130-140 million in gambling revenues, and around $18-22 million in annual taxes for the city. But all three face community and municipal challenges. Consuela Hendricks of the Chinatown-based organization, People Matter, told me that they are fighting the Rivers 78 casino proposal because it is “predatory” and threatening to surrounding communities.
“They keep saying it’s good for the community — it’s gonna bring revenue, it’s gonna help fund things,” she says. “But it’s just for the 78 neighborhood, which is like a replica of Silicon Valley. If you know about Silicon Valley housing has skyrocketed, people are homeless, no one can afford to go anywhere. To replicate something after something so destructive [to the community], just to say that we have our own Silicon Valley in Chicago, just to get rich people to move in is something that is going to be very destructive to the communities around it: Chinatown, Pilsen, and Bronzeville.”
So far the River 78 casino has received the most community push-back, but neither Hard Rock nor Bally’s has received unanimous support. Mayor Lori Lightfoot says that the winner will be picked in early summer, and then it will be up to the City Council and Illinois Gaming Board to approve it.
Curator Ikko Yokoyama’s virtual visit, and some upcoming events
On Tuesday, April 5, SAIC’s Visiting Artist Program welcomed Ikko Yokoyama, the lead curator of design and architecture at Hong Kong’s new M+ museum. To say Yokoyama is something of a globetrotter is accurate, but a little misleading. Yokoyama doesn’t just visit places all around the world, she gets to know them. Her life’s work has brought her from Japan, to Sweden, to South Africa, to Hong Kong. In each of her respective stops Yokoyama has forged connections between the people, places, and ideas that she collects along the way.
Her role as a curator is a fitting expression of these far-reaching interests. Her presentation highlighted the importance of listening to one’s inner desires, creating from a place of solitude, and the importance of connections. Full recap can be found here.
ALSO AROUND CAMPUS
On Monday, the mythical “Caste” book club will convene over Zoom from 12-2 for the first of three sessions this semester. The discussion will cover pages xv–xvii and 3–96: Introduction (“Man in the Crowd”) and parts one (“Toxins in the Permafrost and Heat Rising All Around”) and two (“The Arbitrary Construction of Human Divisions”).
On Wednesday, the first of three candidates for Dean of Faculty will present a public talk (Sharp Building, room 327, 4:30-6 p.m.). The presentation is open to the SAIC community. Curious about who SAIC leadership is, and what they do? Us too. Email us at [email protected] what you want to see from leadership, we’ll discuss some of your suggestions in upcoming newsletters.
Parker Yamasaki (MANAJ 2023) is the managing editor at F Newsmagazine. She is looking for a sunnier place to sit.