Picnic in the Plaza

What an incredible day to be outside enjoying the sun and cooking up some picnic fare! Levy Restaurants excutive chef at Ravinia, Tim Radack prepared a delicious Summer Tomato Salad at Daley Plaza in Chicago with CBS 2's Mary Kay Kleist. Surrounding the table, which also included fun picnic fare from Ravinia Gifts, was the Chicago Farmer's Market which featured fresh and beautiful produce and flowers. It's a miracle that I didn't come back to Ravinia with 5 bags of goodies. 
If you haven't already tried our Park View or Mirabelle restaurants in the park, you must make your way there to experience the freshest locally grown produce and incredible food before you enjoy a concert. Come join us!
Summer Tomato Salad

Market Tomatoes 5 ounces
Baby Mache Lettuce 1/2 ounce
Lemon Vinaigrette (see recipe below) 1 fluid ounce
Sea Salt / Black Pepper to taste

1. Block cut tomatoes about 1/2 an inch thick
2. Season tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper
3. Toss baby Mache with Lemon Vinaigrette and place on top of tomatoes
4. Garnish with Blue Cheese Fritter
Lemon Vinaigrette

Shallots (diced) 3
Lemon Juice 16 fluid ounces
Sugar 6 ounces
Olive Oil 28 fluid ounces
Chives (diced) 1 tablespoon

1. Add diced shallots, chives, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Whisk until all incorporated.
2. Whisk in olive oil until vinaigrette becomes emulsified.
Amy Schrage
Associate Director of Communications

Picnic Hints from HGTV's Monica Pederson

HGTV's Monica Pederson offers some great ideas on creating the perfect picnic.

Use items you already have in your own home for stylish touches to a casual picnic with layered richly colored wool throw blankets as table linens, traditional woven picnic baskets, stylish black iron lanterns with candles, and greenery.

Style even a basic table by creating a beautiful no sew full length table skirt with inexpensive fabric remnants. Use tone on tone and punches of bright berry red for appetizing color and rich pattern. Large over-scaled hurricane glasses with candles, pottery and punches of green dress the table. Using unscented items such as mounded red apples or cherries and green plants gives tables a pop of color without having to use fresh flowers that may interfere with your food & wine aromas.

Suggested Recipe

 by Executive Chef Colin Crowley

Chicken dried fruit salad—a twist on the old standby includes dried cherries, fennel bulb and no mayonnaise! Use croissants to dress it up further.

 Serves 4 as a sandwich


  • 2 cups grilled chicken, boneless skinless breast and thigh, diced
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • ¾ cup diced fennel
  • ¾ cup diced cherries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Croissants

Mix all ingredients and let marinate for 1 hour.  Serve on croissant.

Wine Pairing

Rutherford Hill Rosé


Dry fresh flavors and aromas of cherry and plum pair well with the sweetness of the dried cherries in the Chicken dried fruit salad.



Inspiration and Gratitude at the Steans Music Institute for Young Artists

An open letter from Steans Music Institute jazz artist Or Bareket to mentor Rufus Reed:

Dear Rufus,

I wanted to thank you for the experience I had participating in the Ravinia workshop- I went back home to Israel a few days ago, and I couldn't hope for a better way to spend my last week in the U.S.
I feel fortunate that I got to work with you a lot- I learned so much from you about my instrument and my craft from our lesson and the group sessions.
It is a rare thing that a great musician is an equally great teacher, and it's even more uncommon to meet someone who teaches with such generosity, patience and grace like you have. I feel that I was able to absorb things on a very deep level because the way teach, the way you play and the way you generally conduct yourself all feel like one thing, it's a tangible and clear experience that I feel I can always go back to in my memory and be inspired.
I work to cultivate this quality in myself as a human being, musician and teacher.
The same goes for David, Nathan and Curtis- being around all of you for a week was so important to me because of the strong sense of community, friendship and humanity as a context for music making- something that's generally overlooked, I feel, in this increasingly academic world. I want to carry this spirit on into my life and my music.
I don't know when I'll be coming back to New-York, it's going to be a while but I'll definitely do it. and I hope we can meet again and I can study with you more.
I'm really digging into the A string meanwhile, and it's going really well.

Thank You,



Chef Thierry Blouet - Ravinia Guest Chef on July 15

Chef Blouet was born in Puerto Rico in 1964, and his French parents educated him in France and Mexico, where haute cuisine is an integral ingredient of the good life.  His paternal grandfather, Max Blouet, spent 30 years as general manager of the ultra-elegant George V in Paris.

In February 2000 Chef Blouet's 20-year culinary career culminated in the most prestigious of all chef awards. Admitted to the inner circle of the "Maîtres Cuisiniers de France," he is among only a few hundred French chefs who hold the title that is the highest qualification in the world of gastronomy. His cuisine reflects both his own intuitive ability and a uniquely personal gift: an intense sense of art and beauty.

An extremely visual chef, his dishes have been described as sensual compositions.

At Café des Artistes, Chef  Blouet trains and challenges a new generation of chefs. Over the last 10 years, his chefs and ex-chefs have participated in the most important national competitions and always finish in the very top ranks.  His newest endeavor is Café des Artistes del Mar, located in Punta Mita.

In addition to his own business, Blouet, who is also a member of the Académie Culinaire de France, brings together chefs from France, Mexico, Canada and the United States to share and enrich their cooking techniques while maintaining traditionally high standards. He also devotes himself to promoting important cultural and “foodie” fiestas in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico.  His special interest lies in the Gourmet Festival held annually in Puerto Vallarta, where chefs from all over the world team up with chefs from the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta during the month of November.

Chef Blouet has participated twice in the Highland Park Sister Cities Foundation fund-raising dinners held in Highland Park.  He has collaborated with Carlos Nieto of Carlos’ Restaurant to prepare a gourmet dinner to raise money for charities in Puerto Vallarta supported by the sister cities committees of Highland Park and Puerto Vallarta.  He is unselfish in his efforts to support charities in Puerto Vallarta, and his skills and reputation have earned him status as a celebrity chef in Mexico and the rest of the northern hemisphere.  Most recently he appeared as a guest chef at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago. 

Ravinia is honored to welcome Thierry Blouet as a guest chef for the Highland Park-Puerto Vallarta sister cities concert.  We also welcome his wife, Rose, who has accompanied him on this visit.

You can experience the creations of Chef Blouet at the July 15 Beethoven Concertos featuring Jorge Federico Osorio. In addition, you'll also witness the creation of an international mural by acclaimed artist Oscar Romero and much more. Hear traditional Mexican music by Juan Rivera and Los Pichardo prior to the CSO concert. Tickets are still available.


Mr. Harza Receives Life Trustee Award

Ravinia Life Trustee Richard D. Harza received the Marion M. Lloyd Life Trustee Award at an annual gathering of Life Trustees and past Women’s Board chairs of the Festival. The award is given by the Ravinia Associates—our young professionals’ board—to honor the dedication and long-term support of one Ravinia Life Trustee each year. Mr. Harza has been involved with Ravinia since the summer of 1936, when he served as an usher at the legendary Benny Goodman concerts, and his dedication has not waned since. He became a member of the board in 1981 and a Life Trustee in 1991, and has supported many efforts of the Festival, most notably when he and his wife Dorothy named the John D. Harza Building in memory of their son. The Harza Building houses the Steans Institute for Young Artists and Bennett•Gordon Hall.
Greg Walters
Director of Development


Interview and Performance with Welz Kauffman

Ravinia’s President and CEO, Welz Kauffman was recently interviewed about the upcoming Ravinia season on Chicago Tonight. In addition, you can see him perform a Rachmaninoff piece – six hands, one piano – with Josephine Lee and Marta Aznavoorian.


Ravinia in Mystery Novel

There’s much to recommend in the Jack Doyle mystery series by Ben Franklin Award-winner John McEvoy. But The Significant Seven, the fourth novel from this Evanston writer—the former Midwest editor and senior correspondent for the Daily Racing Form—has something extra special going for it: A visit to Ravinia Festival. The hero of the story pays his $10 lawn admission to picnic on the lawn during a Martin Theatre concert. McEvoy gives a fun description of the experience and even offers up historical detail on our 106-year-old venue, noting: “This is where George Gershwin played Rhapsody in Blue in 1936. So many people attended, Doyle had read, that hundreds boosted themselves up and listened while seated on the limbs of trees that surrounded the pavilion and lawn.” McEvoy also gives a nice shout-out to Penny Tyler, Chicago’s great jazz maven, who has been booking Ravinia’s jazz lineup with Ramsey Lewis for years.

Nick Pullia
Director of Communications


Put on Your Dancing Shoes for Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club

  • 12 years old and under
  • Beginner/Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Click to read more ...


    Manolos and Cosmos and Classics, Oh My!

    I am an avid supporter of classical music and Cosmos (and great shoes, of course!), so I can only express a fraction of my excitement in words about the Ultimate Girls' Night Out on July 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ravinia.  The price is only $50 per person for you and three of your best ladies to kick back, rest those high-heeled feet and let the sweet sounds of Mozart and Bernstein, played by the CSO, set the mood for an evening to remember.  Ravinia has even whipped up the new and exclusive Ravinia Cosmo to tickle your taste buds.  No one is going hungry either, because there will be plenty of appetizers.  Did I mention the Cosmos?!  Oh, and don't forget to dig out your favorite stillettos, pumps, or slingbacks for the event, because the owner of the best pair of shoes will be walking away with an even better pair of Manolo Blahniks.  Manolo. Blahniks. (!!!!!)  Well, I'm sold.  Time to live out my dream of being on Sex and the City. I've always considered myself more of a Charlotte.  Now I'll just have to find a Carrie, a Samantha, and a Miranda.  Can't wait to scope out all of those great shoes!  Get your tickets here.  See you ladies (or gentlemen) at the Ravinia Ultimate Girls' Night Out!

    -Kristin Ayers
    Marketing Intern



    Mom & Daughter Bond Through Music at Ravinia

    Each year Ravinia invites schools involved in the REACH*TEACH*PLAY program to perform at the festival. Thousands of students have graced our stages. This year a Ravinia's Director of Group Sales, Mindy Moore, got the thrill of watching her daughter make her Ravinia debut at the tender age of 11 year s old. Here they share their own perspectives of that concert.

    Mom Said 

    When I walked into the Bennett Gordon    Hall at Ravinia Festival and saw my daughte r, Montana,  sitting up there in her black pants, school u niform top, and her combed hair, my heart went array.  She  saw me and gave me the hairspray finger wave and I knew we were connected. When the music began I began to cry with pride and joy.  As a parent we work hard to do the r ight thing by our kids and this was a wonderful confirmation that all is well.  She is growing up and has the confidence to sit on a professional st age and play the violin. 

    Seeing her everyday is a blessing and a gift, seeing her happy and flourishing is a selfish joy.

    Daughter Said

    Hi, my name is Montana Moore I am 11 y ears old and I go to Edgewood Middle School. I play violin in my school orchestra. I played Pictures and Exabitions in the Bennet Gorden Hall with Edgewood, Elm Place, and Northwood. It was amazing for me to play on the stage at Ravinia Festival. It was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Just hearing all of the clapping made me happy because the clapping was for me all for me. I loved this event.