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

Rick Bayless, JJ Johnson, Gemma Stafford and Ashton Keefe will headline the lineup of chefs appearing in the Cooking Theater during The Inspired Home Show March 17-19 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The theater will feature celebrity favorites on Sunday, chefs partnering with renowned brands on Monday and Chicago culinary personalities on Tuesday.

Joining Bayless, Stafford and Keefe in the Cooking Theater on Sunday will be Steve Dolinsky, “The Food Guy” on NBC 5, the network’s Chicago affiliate station, and Daniel Espinoza, who will be doing a tequila pairing. Monday’s schedule features Jess Feller of Aged & Infused, along with first-time appearances from Juan Carlos Carvallo, Tramontina; Chef JJ Johnson, Gibson Homewares; Lars Liebisch, Fissler; Patrick McMurray, Swissmar; Sarah Thrush, Superb Sealing Solutions; and a demonstration by Airtender. Tuesday’s appearances include Alex Keeney of Cooking Skills & Social and Dee Dee Saracco, the Gravy Lady.

The chef demonstrations will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 17 and continue through Tuesday, March 19. During the three days of presentations, the national and local celebrity chefs will be demonstrating their culinary talents using products that can be found throughout the Show. The Cooking Theater, located in Booth S2372, Dine + Décor Expo in the South Hall, is sponsored by WoodForChef by JMN Enterprises Inc.


Returning Favorite Celebrity Chefs

  • Rick Bayless is well-known from winning the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” besting the competition with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated public television series, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” is broadcast coast-to-coast and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades. Located in Chicago, Bayless’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant” designation from the James Beard Foundation — an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants.
  • 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 multimedia destination for bakers. Stafford 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.
  • 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. Feller is passionate about de-mystifying the cocktail-making process and helping folks craft better drinks come happy hour! In 2023, Feller 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 focuses on barware, glassware and all-things home bar.


Exciting First-Time Appearances

  • 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. Carvallo 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 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 “The 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. Dolensky 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).
  • Daniel Espinoza started his culinary career 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. In 2016, he participated in Top Chef Mexico, finishing 4th out of 15 competitors.
  • Cultural tastemaker, family man and renowned American chef, JJ Johnson is most recognized for his innovation 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. Johnson hosts his own show, “Just Eats with Chef JJ,” airing on TV One’s network Cleo TV.
  • Nationally recognized chef and food stylist Ashton Keefe 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. Keefe 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.
  • 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, Liebisch has been crafting culinary magic with Fissler’s exclusive German-made performance cookware for more than two decades. 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 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 from scratch in Toronto: Starfish Oyster Bed & Grill and The Ceili Cottage and wrote “The Oyster Companion – a Field Guide of Oysters.”
  • Sarah Thrush, a lifelong canning enthusiast and homesteader, hails from the heart of northwest Indiana but found her forever home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Raised by a long line of generational canners, Thrush 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 1 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. 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.
  • Dee Dee Saracco began to cook as a young girl, starting at her mother’s kitchen table where she watched her cook for everyone. Inheriting her mom’s passion for cooking, she learned the old-fashioned methods by first watching and then doing. To this day, Saracco still practices her mom’s philosophy of “no cheats, no shortcuts.”

View the most up-to-date participating chefs along with the scheduled dates and times.