One Million Degrees

7th Annual Food+Wine Tasting Brings Together Chicago's Hottest Chefs and Sommeliers to Support Outstanding Community College Students

One Million Degrees Gala to Benefit Low-Income, Highly Motivated Community College Students


Chicago, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/15/2014 -- On May 30th, 2014, a who’s who of world-class chefs and guests will mix, mingle, and celebrate the success of One Million Degrees’ (OMD) Scholars at OMD's 7th Annual Food+Wine Tasting to be held at the Bridgeport Art Center.

Ryan McCaskey of Acadia, Kevin Hickey of Bottlefork, and Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA and Brindille, will prepare exquisite savory dishes, while Sandra Holl of Floriole Café & Bakery and Emily Wheeler of Emily Wheeler Custom Cakes will round out the all-star roster of chefs with their inspired sweet tastings. Sommelier Jason Prah of Acadia will guide guests through extensive wine selections. The internationally-recognized DJ Rock City will provide the entertainment throughout the evening. OMD is privileged that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will serve as the honorary chair of the event for the second year in a row.

Last year’s Food+Wine Tasting brought in 600 guests and raised over $500,000 in support of One Million Degrees.

One Million Degrees is the only organization of its kind in Illinois and one of the few in the entire country dedicated to providing comprehensive supports to low-income, highly motivated community college students to help them succeed in school, in work, and in life. From tutors and coaches to financial aid and life-skills training, OMD offers the kind of support that empowers scholars to transform their lives in a way that will resonate for generations.

OMD’s 7th Annual Food+Wine Tasting will take place on Friday, May 30th, 2014 at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th Street, from 6pm-11pm. To buy tickets, make a donation, or to learn more, please contact OMD at 312.920.9605 or visit:

Sponsors of OMD’s 7thAnnual Food + Wine Tasting:

Doctorate - $25,000
Origin Capital Partners

Graduate - $15,000
Wintrust Financial Corporation

Bachelor - $10,000
Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P., Hackberry Endowment Partners – The Malkin Family

Associate - $5,000
Allstate Insurance Company, Brooks Brothers, The Cogent Advisor, DLA Piper, Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Leo Burnett, Mesirow Financial, Miller Cooper & Co., Ltd., Newsbound, Northern Trust, The Weglarz Company, Zall Family Foundation

SPLASH – A Wrapports Publication

Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft
Emily Wheeler Custom Cakes
Fast Signs of Arlington Heights
Hart Davis Hart
Leo Burnett
Paramount Events
Windy City Linen
WPI Event Partners, Inc.

Featured Culinary Team:
Ryan McCaskey/Executive Chef and Owner of Acadia
Chef Ryan McCaskey has a diverse skill set and broad experience, and cites some of the greats – Trotter, Tramonto, Portale, Achatz and Keller – as influencers, as well as Henry Adaniya, owner of Trio and a consummate host. Seeing a guest have a great experience and providing them a culinary memory is what drives McCaskey to strive to provide the best he possibly can. McCaskey describes his style as “Simultaneously contemporary and classic. The first half of my career was rooted in classical cuisine, technique-driven, the fundamentals. Recently, my focus shifted to subtlety, layering flavors and using contemporary techniques. But one doesn’t overshadow the other – they work in harmony, balancing out one another.” In November 2012, Acadia was awarded its first Michelin star, after being open less than a year, an incredible honor for the chef and his team. McCaskey lives in the South Loop neighborhood, just up the street from Acadia.

Kevin Hickey/Chef at Bottlefork
After 18 years with the Four Seasons hotel and resorts, Chef Kevin Hickey has joined the Rockit Ranch Productions team as the new Chef/Partner of Bottlefork. Bottlefork is a new American concept that offers locally sourced and globally inspired cuisine and cocktails and displays Chef Hickey’s penchant for big, bold flavors showcased in modern interpretations of both familiar and new American dishes. Continuing Chef Hickey’s farm-to-table philosophy, Bottlefork will feature key collaborations with local Midwestern brewers, farmers, winemakers and more. Previous to Rockit Ranch Productions, Chef Hickey worked for the Four Seasons hotels and resorts in California, Dublin and London before coming back to his native Chicago in 2004, where he led his team to a Michelin Star and AAA Five Diamond status.

Carrie Nahabedian/Chef and Founder of NAHA and Brindille
After departing from her position as Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Carrie Nahabedian returned to her native Chicago to open NAHA in 2000, which garnered her a James Beard Award and four consecutive Michelin stars. Carrie opened Brindille in the spring of 2013 along with partner and cousin Michael; while NAHA serves to highlight her Armenian roots, Brindille's refined Parisian fare celebrates hers and Michael's favorite spots in Paris.

Sandra Holl/Pastry Chef and Founder of Floriole Café & Bakery
Floriole Café & Bakery began as a stand at Chicago’s Green City Market, where for nearly 5 years, founders Sandra and Mathieu Holl sold rustic, French pastries in a 10-by-10 tent. In 2010, their dream of owning a cafe and bakery came true when they opened Floriole Café & Bakery in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. In addition to pastries, the menu also includes breads, sandwiches, and salads made from the best ingredients sourced directly from sustainable farms in the region. Pastry Chef Sandra Holl trained at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and worked as a baker at the renowned Tartine Bakery. She has contributed to Bon Appetit Magazine and was nominated for Best Chef by TimeOut Chicago. Floriole Café & Bakery was also named “Outstanding Bakery” 2011 by the Chicago Tribune.

Emily Wheeler/Pastry Chef Founder of Emily Wheeler Custom Cakes
Pastry Chef Emily Wheeler brings her expertise in sweet cuisine to the forefront with Emily Wheeler Custom Cakes. Emily uses her education from the L'art du Gâteau program at The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College to create unique cakes and cupcakes. Emily strives to make each order a unique experience for every client. From weddings to birthdays, baptisms to bachelorette parties, Chef Emily Wheeler can do it all.

Jason Prah/Sommelier of Acadia
Sommelier and Wine Director Jason Prah has worked in the Chicago restaurant scene for more than a decade, having started as Assistant Wine Director at The Italian Village, a Wine Spectator “Grand Award” recipient. Over the years, he has held the title of Wine Director as well as General Manager at several acclaimed restaurants, including La Vita, Tizi Melloul and Allen’s. Prior to joining the Acadia team, Prah was Wine Director at Eno Wine Room at the Intercontinental Hotel, where he also consulted for their sister property at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. His style takes the pretense out of the wine experience, making it both accessible and fun, while at the same time educating his customers. He believes that wine – from making it to enjoying it – resonates on cultural, historical and personal levels, making it an important element to our existence.

If you would like to support or learn more about One Million Degrees, please contact:

One Million Degrees
226 W. Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60606
(312)920-9605 or Fax (312)920-9607