A 'Second City' secret supper – miracle berries, flavor tripping and food with a message
November 16th, 2011
07:40 PM ET
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Eatocracy is officially wheels down in Chicago with the fifth edition of our Secret Supper series.

Tonight and for the next two weeks, Eatocracy invites you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. After all, food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more.

We've got chef Homaro Cantu acting as host at iNG Restaurant, tucked among the loading docks of Chicago's meatpacking district. Cantu is a well-known "molecular gastronomist" and host of Planet Green's "Future Food." He's devoted to changing the way people think about eating by melding food and science.

co-chefs

And, he has brought along a few local chef friends - Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's, Mindy Segal of Mindy's Hot Chocolate and Matt Merges - for a true taste of the Windy City.

If you've followed along with our past Secret Suppers, this won't be your average dinner - there's a surprise at the end that's worth the "trip." (And yes, that's a clue.)

foie sausage

Doug Sohn, appropriately wearing a shirt that says, "There are no two finer words in the English language than encased meat, my friends," starts the dinner in true Chicago style with a quartet of sausage. This foie gras duck sausage with truffle aioli sits atop a mini brioche bun; wash it down with Green River soda, a nostalgic Chicago soft drink.

eating apps

Ari Bendersky of Eater Chicago, Second City comedian Tim Sniffen and Chicago-based food writer Amelia Levin dig into an all-beef hot dog with everything: yellow mustard, diced onions, neon green sweet relish, chopped tomatoes, celery salt and sport peppers.

lz granderson

CNN Opinion contributor LZ Granderson talks with Tio Hardiman, the Director of CeaseFire Illinois, a campaign devoted to stop shootings.

Before being seated, guests were asked to fill out a name tag with how they identify themselves culturally; Granderson wrote an "Everything Bagel." What would you write?

pie

In a reversal of roles (we're all about taking folks out of their comfort zone), pastry chef Mindy Segal takes over the main course. It might look like apple lattice pie but inside there's confit quail, Timeless Prairie Orchard apples, bacon fat and cider. That's one sweet surprise!

roland martin

CNN political analyst Roland Martin probes the table on what the quintessential Chicago food is: Hot dogs? Deep dish pizza? Harold's Chicken? And if you're wondering what he wrote on his name tag, it would be "A Texan. Period."

pig cookies

Foie gras buttercream cookies tide guests over until the dessert - and aforementioned surprise - by Chef Cantu.

Miracle Berry

Cantu tells the dinner guests he opened his restaurants for two purposes: to fight diabetes and global famine. He goes about that by using the "miracle berry," which is native to West Africa.

Miracle Berry

After letting the miracle berry tablet dissolve on your tongue, things that would normally taste sour turn sweet. Guests take the tablet to "flavor trip" before eating dessert: a plate of lemon and limes.

The miracle berry has also had success with cancer patients since chemotherapy treatments can dull taste buds and cause food to become undesirable.

The effects of the miracle berry tablet last 30 to 45 minutes, so while the guests linger over their red wine that now tastes like port and sugar-free waffles that are miraculously sweet, it's a wrap for us.

Where will the next Secret Supper take us? Only time will tell; you'll just have to stay tuned.

Follow @eatocracy and #CNNsupper on Twitter to catch up on even more action.



soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Peikovianii

    They ate while others didn't! These people should have been projectile-vomitting into one another's faces! Vomit Occupy!

    November 19, 2011 at 4:54 am |
  2. KanneM

    " Foie gras buttercream cookies tie guests over until the dessert " -- Presumably, you meant that they will tide them over.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • bill

      When something looks that good spelling and grammar are optional!

      November 18, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  3. RK

    I think the real issue here is that these people are serving 'foie gras'. Do you know the torture and the pain the animals (ducks and geese) go through so that these people can eat their destroyed and diseased livers? In this day and age, I find it amazing that anyone would brag about what they serve that amounts to the terrible torture and pain of the animals you are eating. Cows are butchered in one swift stroke. The Geese and Ducks that make up foie gras are made to suffer by being force-fed corn meal through a tube until their liver is completely diseased.

    I find it amazing no one is boycotting this place when so many others are dropping foie gras from their menus, here in the states.

    iNG restaurant should be shut down.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Homaro Cantu

      Do you know the pain and suffering the dinosaurs went though to give you fossil fuel so you can type on your fossil fuel based computer and that binary code can be transmitted through the fossil fuel based electrical grid? Those poor innocent creatures that were selected by some evil asteroid and incinerated to their death! Damn the asteroid! And damn you for using their existence for your pathetic useless thing you call human evolution. Hey, here is what I am working on as one of many solutions – http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/shortening-food-chain-episode.html
      If you don't know what great burgers and foie tastes like, how can you ever create a better vegan replacement. Be a part of the solution and not the problem. But please, for the love of all the dead dinosaurs, stop living and breathing you twits.

      November 18, 2011 at 5:20 am |
      • Devlin

        ...that response makes no sense as any type of logical comparion to the post its commenting on. Homaro, lay off telling people to quit living and breathing. You're only proving you're the real bozo in all these remarks. Or at the very least, the last person to take seriously.

        November 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • PureBreedLover

      I don't like it, or the way it is produced, so I choose not to eat it. It isn't my place to tell other people not to eat it. When people choose to stop eating it, there won't be a market for it.

      November 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  4. Homaro Cantu

    Because this "one percent restauranteur" is trying to solve diabetes and famine with these "one percent eaters". Read the article ya bozo. Most of the people at the table are small business owners and entrepreneurs being connected with those that can help them grow. Anger without knowledge is dangerous. Create a solution, not another problem. Come over to my restaurant to protest and I will freeze you in Liquid Nitrogen. Grow a pair and use your real name like me "RALPH"- Homaro Cantu

    November 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Ralph

      Why do you cry foul (no pun intendended) when the 1% gets caught spending their ill-gotten-evil-money ?

      The 99% simply look through your restaurant windows and know who the 1% are, Eatocracy is way out of their budget.

      November 18, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Devlin

      Oh come on "Homaro", you're lecturing people on using their real name? Unfortunate for the real Mr. Cantu.

      November 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  5. Walmart

    I am walmart I RUIN NOTHING

    November 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Walmart

    I AM WALMART I RUIN NOTHING. SO SAYS I, WALMART

    November 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  7. Ralph

    Why is Occupy Wall Street not protesting in front of these 1% eaters ?

    November 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Nick

      Maybe because Wall Street isn't in Chicago, dumbass.

      November 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
      • Ralph

        Potty mouth.

        November 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  8. Jerv

    Tripping on a "miracle berry," I like how you roll, SLT!

    November 17, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  9. TX4UREXKARLENE

    How COOL is that ?!!!! I miss Chicago sometimes :,-) Walmart sure has ruined America ...

    November 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Walmart

      obey walMART OBEY WALMART OBEY WALMART OBEY WALMART WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

      November 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • RK

        I think the real issue here is that these people are serving 'foie gras'. Do you know the torture and the pain the animals (ducks and geese) go through so that these people can eat their destroyed and diseased livers? In this day and age, I find it amazing that anyone would brag about what they serve that amounts to the terrible torture and pain of the animals you are eating. Cows are butchered in one swift stroke. The Geese and Ducks that make up foie gras are made to suffer by being force-fed corn meal through a tube until their liver is completely diseased.

        I find it amazing no one is boycotting this place when so many others are dropping foie gras from their menus, here in the states.

        iNG restaurant should be shut down.

        November 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
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