A Girl & Her Food: Back to School Pilot Light Block Party at PQM


Back to School Pilot Light Block Party at PQM

I kicked off my weekend by attending the “Back to School Block Party”, benefiting Pilot Light at 
Publican Quality Meats (PQM). The Pilot Light chefs cooked up a very special evening featuring innovative food and drink. The night included a DJ, and I rocked out to 80s jams, as well as a silent and live auction offering unbelievable prizes. I had a great evening supporting Pilot Light's unique vision to empower children to make healthy choices, by integrating culinary education with school standards, curriculum and culture.
Left to Right: Paul Kahan, Kat Levitt (me), Justin Large and Jason Hammel
(not pictured Matthias Merges and Ryan Poli)

Who Cooked:
Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp of Sunday Dinner Club
Jon DuBois of Green Zebra
Jason Hammel of Lula Café
Paula Haney and Allison Stout of Hoosier Mama Pie Company
Sandra Holl of Floriole
Paul Kahan and Justin Large of Avec, The Publican
Charlie McKenna  of Lillie's Q
Matthias Merges of Yusho
Sarah Mispagel of Nightwood
John Vermiglio  of Billy Sunday

About Pilot Light
Inspired by Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move, Chefs Move to Schools' campaign, Pilot Light enlists the city's top chefs and Chicago Public Schools teachers to incorporate culinary education and nutrition into existing core curricula. Pilot Light's incubator program at the Disney II Magnet School includes chefs and teachers collaborating to develop lesson plans and facilitate thoughtful discussion about food as it relates to literacy, math, social studies and science. Sample lessons include 'Access to Food as a Civil Right' (4th grade social studies), and 'Noodles to Neighborhoods' - teaching cultural diversity through pasta (3rd grade social studies). Classroom discussions culminate in a healthy, chef-produced lunch. 

Board members include chefs Paul Kahan, Matthias Merges, Jason Hammel, Ryan Poli and Justin Large, as well as Principal Bogdana Chkoumbova, and education consultants Brooke Stafford-Brizard and Shari Berland. For more information please visit www.pilotlightchefs.org    

 Justin Large 

Jason Hammel 


Ryan Poli 


Matthias Merges  


Ramen from Yusho

Bites from Tavernita/ Little Market 

Barbacoa Nachos from Sunday Dinner Club 

picture from Sunday Dinner Club's Instagram

Sandra Holl of Floriole serving up baby bay leaf panna cottas

picture via Floriole's instagram 

Art work from the Disney II children: 


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