Taste Talks and the All-Star BBQ Presented by Lifeway

This weekend, the Lifeway team will be all hands on deck for Taste Talks Chicago – a three-day festival “celebrating the future of taste through symposia, tastings, dinners and parties.” So in essence, a weekend filled with all of our favorite things!

Taste Talks Chicago and the All-Star BBQ

In their own words, “Taste Talks brings thought leaders and luminaries from around the world together with everyday food enthusiasts to engage in great conversation, amazing food and one-of-a-kind experiences.”



The three-day event kicks off tomorrow with a special dinner, but the real fun starts on Saturday, with a series of cooking demonstrations, workshops and panels. Our President and CEO Julie Smolyansky with be part of a conversation with fellow preservation, fermenting and pickling experts to discuss the process, benefits and outcomes of food preservation. The panel, Saving Time in a Bottle: Preservation, will be moderated by Monica Eng of Chicago’s WBEZ Radio.

The weekend’s festivities conclude on Sunday with the All-Star BBQ, which we’re proud to sponsor. The BBQ brings world-renowned chefs to Palmer Square in Chicago for a feast that consists of their signature dishes, some of which are kefirized! Be sure to catch familiar faces Paul Kahan, Jessica Koslow, Fergus Henderson, Sarah Grueneberg, and Matthias Merges – some of Chicago’s most celebrated names in food.

Head here to drool over the menu and get your tickets asap.

If you’re not lucky enough to attend Sunday’s BBQ, we’ve got you covered! Chef Joanna Stachon of Ada Street will be grilling up her favorite chicken wings with a spicy buffalo sauce and a special kefir ranch dressing. She kindly shared her recipe with us, so we’re sharing it with you!

Confit Chicken Wings, Hot Sauce and Kefir Ranch Dip

  • 20 chicken wings
  • 2 quarts duck fat

Preheat your oven to 225°F. Place the chicken wings at the bottom of a deep Dutch oven or oven-safe stock pot. Pour the duck fat over the chicken, cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for one hour, or until done. 

Kefir Ranch Dip

Add all ingredients except for the chives to the pitcher of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in chives.

Hot Sauce

  • 1 lb. cherry peppers
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

The night before, combine cherry peppers with vinegar. Leave overnight to pickle.

To prepare, drain cherry peppers, reserving 1 cup of the soaking vinegar. Combine reserved vinegar with peppers and extra virgin olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.