Chicago's Portsmith talks about immigration through dinner
January 3, 2019: In a unique way and for a much-talked about topic, seafood-focused high-end restaurant Portsmith, is partnering with Benito Juarez Community Academy for a one-night only La Bestia Dinner on January 17, 2019. La Bestia, also known as “The Beast,” is a train route that thousands of people take each year from Central America to south of the US border as part of their migration. The dinner aims to celebrate the importance of immigrants in our country and pays homage to the courageous journey many take to travel to America.
“The idea for this dinner came about after working in the restaurant industry for many years alongside a proud immigrant staff,” said Chef Nate Henssler. “Almost every person employed in our kitchen is an immigrant and many have children in CPS. In my career working throughout the United States, I’ve found that immigrants are the backbone of every kitchen.”
According to the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Illinois has more than 27,000 restaurants and more than 561,000 employees — nearly half of whom are immigrants. Chicago has the largest population of immigrants of Mexican descent in the U.S. outside of Los Angeles.
Housed on the ground level of dana hotel and spa, the newly opened Portsmith selected the Benito Juarez Community Academy for their donations due to their student body being largely made up of children of immigrants. The restaurant donation will directly benefit the school’s mariachi ensemble, folkloric dance program and culinary program.
Chef Henssler has chosen six cities along the La Bestia train route as inspiration for the six-course dinner. The menu starts in Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas with a Striped Bass Crudo (Heart of Palm, Roasted Chili, Avocado, Corn Pudding, Cacao Dressing) and ends in Nogales, Sonora with a Mexican Coke Float (Churro, Cinnamon Ice Cream). Indulge in Grilled Shrimp Tamal and Squid Ink Pozole among other dishes.
Reservations for the La Bestia Dinner are available on Yelp Reservations for $100 per person with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Benito Juarez Community Academy. For more information about the La Bestia Dinner, visit portsmithchicago.com or call (312) 202-6050.