The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show

March 2–4, 2025 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show
March 2—4 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

Cooking Theater


The Cooking Theater at The Inspired Home Show features three days of culinary demonstrations led by celebrity and award-winning chefs. See the newest and most progressive housewares products from the Show floor in action on stage. Home + housewares retailers get a first-hand look at the products that consumers will be looking for, and brands get exposure to a powerful audience of buyers.

Location: Dine + Decor Expo, South Building

Rick Bayless

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Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. His highly rated public television series, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, is broadcast coast to coast and has earned him multiple Daytime Emmy nominations for Best Culinary Host, and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades.

Located in Chicago, Rick’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” designation from the James Beard Foundation — an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants. His wildly popular fast-casual Xoco debuted in 2009 and Tortas Frontera at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has changed the face of airport dining. In 2016, he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. In 2018, Rick, with his daughter Lanie, expanded his Clark Street restaurants by opening Bar Sótano, a Oaxacan-inspired mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food. Tortazo, Rick’s new fast-casual concept, debuted in 2020 in Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower and later in New York City’s Flatiron District, with expansions on the way.

Always a philanthropist, Rick and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling nearly $3 million. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship, a culinary school scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago. In 2019, Rick founded Impact Culinary Training, a restaurant job readiness program on the city’s west side. And in 2017 he established the Bayless Family Foundation to support the city’s vibrant theater scene with grants to Chicago theater companies totaling $1.5 million to date.

The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Rick the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people. In 2016, he earned the Julia Child Foundation Award, a prestigious honor given to “an individual who has made a profound and significant imact on the way America cooks, eats and drinks.”

Juan Carlos Carvallo

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Chef Juan Carlos Carvallo is an accomplished chef, recipe developer, food stylist and food video personality. Focused on culinary excellence, he is currently responsible for recipe development and culinary video presentation with Tramontina USA, a leading manufacturer of premium cookware, cutlery and other household products. Juan Carlos has extensive experience as a chef, including working at the prestigious Coronado Club in Houston, and has a culinary degree from the Instituto Culinario de Caracas Instituto Culinario de Caracas.

Steve Dolinsky

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Steve Dolinsky has won 13 James Beard Awards for his TV, radio and podcast work. He is currently the Food Reporter at NBC 5 (Chicago), where his “Food Guy” reports air every Thursday night. He won a regional Emmy Award for his reporting in 2023. As the Food Reporter for ABC 7 (Chicago) for 17 years, his “Hungry Hound” reports also covered a range of food and drink-related topics.

Steve is also the producer and host of “Pizza City” – a bi-monthly podcast started in 2019, featuring some of the greatest pizza makers in the nation – and was previously co-creator and co-host of The Feed Podcast with Chef Rick Bayless (which garnered a Beard award in 2015 for best podcast). He has also written food and travel stories for the Travel sections of The Chicago Tribune and Canada’s Globe and Mail.

Steve is the author of “Pizza City, U.S.A.: 101 Reasons Why Chicago is America’s Greatest Pizza Town” and the follow-up “The Ultimate Chicago Pizza Guide: A History of Squares & Slices in the Windy City” (Northwestern University Press).

In 2022, Steve launched Pizza City Fest – a series of annual events in various cities, bringing together the best pizza makers, dough pros and industry experts to share their knowledge and passion with the public.

Steve also runs Culinary Communications, a food industry-focused media training company that works with chefs and other food and beverage professionals outside of Chicago, teaching them how to prepare for and handle all kinds of media exposure.

Before joining ABC 7, Steve was executive producer and host of “Good Eating.” The weekly show aired on CLTV, the 24-hour cable news channel owned by The Tribune Company. He produced and hosted 52 shows per year for 8 years, garnering six Beard Awards for his work there.

You can follow his eating adventures on Twitter and Instagram @stevedolinsky, as well as his website:

Daniel Espinoza

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Daniel Espinoza started out at the Lincoln Park Café and then moved on to Carmichael’s Steakhouse. After graduating from Kendall College’s culinary arts program in 2010, he found his first role in a high-caliber kitchen at Carlos Gaytan’s Michelin-rated Mexique, where he would ascend to sous-chef, and then go on to cook at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Bistrot de Saveurs in Castres, France; the Ausable Club in New York; and the Drawing Room and TWO in Chicago, before returning to Mexique in 2013.

Espinoza has won numerous prizes and accolades, most recently becoming the national 2022 Culinary Fight Club champion. In 2017, he was nominated as a finalist for Eater Young Guns. In 2016, he participated in Top Chef Mexico, during which he tested his Chicano cooking style, gaining high praise by finishing 4th out of 15 competitors. Espinoza has served as Dinner Lab’s Chicago-based chef de cuisine; opened his own underground supper club, Anomar, which is his grandmother’s name backwards; and served as the catering chef for the 2018 Ravinia season. Currently, he is the corporate chef for OFI (Olam Food Ingredients) and owner of Santo Chorizo, offering Chorizo Verde, which is made in Chicago.

Jess Feller

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Jess Feller is a Chicago-based entrepreneur and cocktail enthusiast who turned her passion for at-home mixology into Aged & Infused – a company creating all-natural alcohol infusion kits for the home bar. Jess is passionate about de-mystifying the cocktail-making process and helping folks craft better drinks come happy hour!

In 2023, Jess and her husband, John, expanded their small business and opened a brick and mortar location, The Happy Hour Shop, in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. The cocktail-centric shop (located at 1919 W. Chicago Ave.) focuses on barware, glassware and all-things home bar.

You can stay up-to-date with Jess @agedandinfused and @happyhourshopchicago!

JJ Johnson

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Cultural tastemaker, family man and renowned American chef.

JJ Johnson is most recognized for his innovative approach to African Caribbean cuisine. His work has earned him numerous accolades, including the James Beard Foundation Book Award and a two-time spot on the Nation’s Restaurant News Power List. He has been featured on a variety of TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped, Netflix’s Street Food and Selena + Chef on HBO Max and hosts his own show, Just Eats with Chef JJ’ airing for its fifth season on TV One’s network Cleo TV this fall. Chef JJ’s highly anticipated cookbook, The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes from Around the World for the Heart of Your Table, will be released in September 2023. At FIELDTRIP, JJ’s rapidly growing multi-unit fast casual rice bowl concept, he champions sustainability, working with local rice farmers and producers to source the freshest ingredients. With four locations throughout New York City, he is a community advocate for food justice and equity raising awareness within the industry. JJ also has a restaurant concept, E8J slated to launch in August with Mark Lowry and the team at Wonder Foods.

Ashton Keefe

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Ashton Keefe is a nationally recognized chef and food stylist. Ashton began her career working for Jean-George Vongerichten in the pastry kitchen at Mercer Kitchen while simultaneously assisting New York Magazine’s food critic Gael Greene. In 2010, she received recognition in The New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine and Martha Stewart Living for her role as the founding chef and lead teacher at NYC’s Haven’s Kitchen. Ashton transitioned to food styling, earning a tenured role at NBC’s “TODAY Show” as a culinary producer and food stylist before working privately with some of the biggest names in hospitality, including Tom Colicchio and Giada DeLaurentiis.

Her approachable and convivial nature mirror her mantra that food is an act of love and an opportunity for beauty. Ashton is the author of two cookbooks: “Lemon & Salt: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Culinary Revelry” and “Convivial.” In 2019, she was awarded one of Glamour Magazine’s women of the year. She regularly appears on NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CNN. Ashton is the Resident Chef at Cuvaison Winery, in Napa Valley, Calif.

Alex Keeney

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There is not a position in the kitchen I have not held and working my way up from rice washer to butcher to cook. When not cooking I am showing others how to have fun cooking, and bring people together to enjoy cooking and socializing at my new venture Cooking Skills and Social.

Lars Liebisch

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Renowned Fissler ambassador and private chef Lars Liebisch has over 35 years of culinary expertise. Fueling his passion since age 12 in his family’s German restaurant, Lars has been crafting culinary magic with Fissler’s exclusive German-made performance cookware for more than two decades. Trained in classical French cuisine and influenced by his work throughout Germany, Spain and the Balkans, Lars now shares his love for food as a private chef and instructor. Based in Boston, he works alongside Fissler to conduct live cooking experiences to demonstrate the incredible performance of their products – always producing a delicious masterpiece.

Patrick McMurray

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Patrick McMurray (@ ShuckerPaddy) has been shuckin’ around the oyster world since 1992 as a restaurateur, author, educator, competitive shucking World Champion and a Guinness Book record holder for the most oysters opened in one minute (33!)—of which he bested his record to 39 on the Gordon Ramsay FWord Live show in 2017. McMurray designed and built two restaurants in Toronto from scratch: Starfish Oyster Bed & Grill and The Ceili Cottage, and wrote “The Oyster Companion – a Field Guide of Oysters.” He conducts Oyster 101 lessons for chefs, schools, festivals and oyster lovers around the globe. Presently, he teaches culinary & hospitality (with an oyster & shellfish specialty) at Centennial College in Toronto.

McMurray attributes his shucking success to his BKin from University of Toronto, technique and the pistol grip Shuckerpaddy Oyster Knife he designed, which is now manufactured and distributed globally by Swissmar.

Dee Dee Saracco

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Dee Dee began to cook as a young girl. It started at her Mom’s kitchen table, where she watched her cook for everyone. She inherited her mom’s passion for cooking naturally. She learned the old-fashioned methods by first watching and then doing. To this day, Dee Dee still practices her mom’s philosophy of “no cheats, no shortcuts.”

Kevin Beary - Photo by Lettuce Entertain You

Gemma Stafford

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For a decade, Irish-born chef Gemma Stafford has been bringing her passion for teaching people to bake with confidence to her top online baking show and brand, BIGGER BOLDER BAKING. Today, with more than 8 million followers (“Bold Bakers”) and half a billion video views to date, BIGGER BOLDER BAKING has become the leading – and indispensable – multimedia destination for bakers.

Gemma’s unique combination of expertise, bold recipes and approachable techniques have led to appearances as a judge on Netflix’s “Nailed It!,” Food Network’s “Best Baker in America” and Hulu’s “Baker’s Dozen,” along with appearances on national and local TV nationwide.

The show, her website and her two published cookbooks all build on her career as a professional chef, which has seen her work in every kind of baking setting imaginable – from a rundown Tuscan villa to an Irish priory to a Michelin-starred restaurant. Gemma had to become creative, imaginative and bold… and that’s what
she wants to bring to every one of her “Bold Bakers,” no matter their skill level! Follow Stafford and BIGGER BOLDER BAKING on YouTube, Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook and her website,, to bring bigger, bolder baking to your life…every day.

Gemma will bring the first-ever baking network to free, ad-supported streaming television, or FAST, platforms in 2024, when the BOLD BAKING NETWORK builds on her passionate audience base, along with other baking all stars, with a 24-hour-a-day programmed network dedicated to home-baking enthusiasts worldwide.

Sarah Thrush

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Sarah, a lifelong canning enthusiast and homesteader, hails from the heart of northwest Indiana but found her forever home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, proudly embracing the title of a Yooper. Raised by a long line of generational canners, Sarah shares her lifestyle on social media and has become a public figure in many communities across the globe. On TikTok she has amassed more than a million followers and over 200 million video viewers in under two years. Across social media she is known as PeeliesNPetals or The Crazy Canning Lady. 

Beyond the digital realm, Sarah is a dedicated educator in homestead economics, sharing her expertise in various forms of food preservation, canning, gardening and raising livestock. With a mission to guide others “back to the basics” of sustainable and simpler living, she leaves her homestead to travel across the country teaching others interested in self-sufficiency lifestyles. Whether she’s demonstrating the art of canning or empowering communities to enhance their food security, Sarah’s life goal is feed the world—one family and one jar at a time. #PeeliesNPetals #thecrazycanninglady


Discover The Next Industry Game-Changer at The Inspired Home Show 2025