Calihan Catering - Kitchen & Gallery 1028

Monday, April 08, 2013


An Evening with Calihan Catering

By Dame Beth Lang

On April 8, 2013, dozens of Chicago Chaîne members experienced a unique dining experience hosted by Calihan Catering at its Gallery 1028, an urban warehouse located on Goose Island.

Maître de Table Traiteur John Calihan has been a Chicago chapter member for many years and has hosted the Chaîne on local and national levels. The Calihan family has led this private catering establishment for twenty-five years resulting in wide recognition throughout Chicagoland. Executive Chef Molly Johnson brings her commitment to wholesome, thoughtful and innovative cuisine.

Gallery 1028 is located in an industrial district that lends an edgy and modern feel to the space. As it is a “raw” environment, there are unlimited design opportunities for a variety of events.  Our evening began in the lounge area.  Members and guests were welcomed with Hemingway daiquiris along with passed hors d’oeuvres of beet cured salmon on rye crisps, potato cones filled with caviar, and bruleed foie gras toasts. Seats were assigned for six guests at each cocktail table in the lounge, where we shared bottles of J. Lasalle Blanc de Blanc Brut 2004 along with oysters on the half shell, spring crudité, and an assortment of charcuterie. 

We then moved into an adjacent room called the Gallery, which is a loft-like space with vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, and wood beams and flooring.  Open seating allowed guests to mingle before choosing between long, farm tables adorned with dramatic candelabra or smaller high top tables.

Entrees were served at three stations along with a selection of cellar wines for pairing.  Grilled asparagus with charred tomato vinaigrette or roasted beets with burrata, blood oranges and arugula paired nicely with dry, delicate whites such as Pierre Sparr Riesling Carte D’Or, Alsace 1998, or J.Wiemer Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2009. 

Rich, creamy whites chosen for the seared seared loup de mer included Landmark Chardonnay Damaris Vineyard 1996, and Coto de Gamaris Ribeiro Blanco, Galicia, Spain, 2008.

Slow roasted leg of lamb with honey, fresh mint and pickled mustard seeds was served with a cauliflower, parsnip and potato puree. The specially selected red options for this dish were Fox Creek JSM Shiraz, Mclaren Vale, Australia 1999 or Chateau Pressac, St-Emilion, 1995. 

As the evening came to a close, we returned to the lounge area, which was set up for relaxed but refined couch or table seating.  An assortment of cheeses, fruits and desserts created by Executive Pastry Chef Pedro Gomez was beautifully presented at each table.  The cheese course included Loire Valley Triple Cream, Creamy Sexy Blue and chocolate goat cheese. Trays displaying rhubarb and aged balsamic mostarda, wild strawberries and baguettes slices were also at each table. Chef Pedro’s Pick-Up Sweets were mini lemon tarts with meringue and air-dried lemon, chocolate petit gateau and amaretto profiteroles. In addition to coffee service, the final course’s pairings included Chateau Myrat Sauternes 2007, or Isole y Olena Vin Santo 1990. 

Acting Bailli Mon Roldan presented Calihan Catering with a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs decanter and reinforced the strong relationship between our two organizations.


Maître deTable Traiteur John Calihan has been a Chicago chapter member for quite a few years now and has hosted the Chaîne on both local and national levels. He and his son Maître de Table Traiteur Nash Calihan and daughter Lee Calihan have led this private catering establishment for well over 25 years resulting in wide recognition.

Executive Chef Molly Johnson with her commitment to wholesome, thoughtful and innovative cuisine has not only a culinary background (Schoolcraft College in Michigan and an MA in Food Studies from New York University) but is also a graduate of English literature from Michigan State. Chef Molly also ran an Estee Lauder corporate kitchen before coming to Calihan Catering.

An unusual evening is planned creating a fluid environment in the large Gallery 1028 space. You will discover a new venue in Chicago where a unique and different Chaîne experience is being planned.

The Calihan staff will create a lounge environment for cocktails with assigned seating for 6 guests per classic cocktail table and casual furniture seating. We will then move on to an adjacent area of the Gallery in an environment of farm tables and high top tables. Open seating will allow each guest to mingle with other Chaîne members as we select various entrees created by Chef Molly. Dessert will be served in the lounge area once more, with individual buffets of cheese, fruit and Chef Pedro’s sweets and demitasse at each seating group. The evening will give everyone a new approach to dining.

This will be another opportunity to introduce prospective members to the Chicago Chaîne.

There will be a maximum guest count of 60.

In gastronomy,