Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook to offer honeybee education program

B., a farm-to-table restaurant located inside the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, is hosting a bee-themed culinary experience March 10th to celebrate the upcoming start of bee season and the launch of its new honeybee education campaign. The “B. Aware” Dinner consists of five courses, all made with and paired to mead (fermented honey) from Wild Blossom Meadery in Chicago. The “B. Aware” Campaign is a new initiative this year aimed at raising awareness on the declining honeybee populations. 

“We want people to understand the importance of honeybees,” said Sean Curry, executive chef and certified beekeeper who tends to 10 hives at Oak Brook Hills Resort that he uses to harvest honey for recipes. “If they go, life as we know it changes drastically.”  

Curry and his chef de cuisine, Jose Valdez, are teaming up to educate honeybees throughout the year – beginning with the dinner on March 10th. As an official kickoff to bee season (which starts in early April in the Midwest), the B. Aware Dinner will give diners the opportunity to enjoy five gourmet courses, each incorporating mead, house honey or bee pollen with local ingredients prepared discerningly by Chef Valdez. Guests will also receive mead wine or freshly-made mead cocktail pairings in addition to a bottle of mead to take home compliments of Wild Blossom Meadery. A percentage of proceeds will benefit The Honeybee Conservancy, a nonprofit organization established in 2009 in response to the bee crisis.

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B.’s mission since opening last August also includes increasing bee appreciation in the community and with guests. Honeybee populations have been in steady decline for several years, which is a major concern since, according to the USDA, about one in three mouthfuls of food eaten benefits from their pollination. 

“We need to take care of the bees now so that they can take care of us in the future,” Valdez said in a statement.  

Once the B. Aware Campaign launches March 10th it will engage in ongoing honeybee education, outreach and fundraising. In addition to bee-themed culinary events, chefs Curry and Valdez will also spearhead an array of other honeybee awareness programming. Planned 2017 initiatives for the B. Aware Campaign include: a permanent beekeeper display and honeybee observatory inside the lobby, free public tours of the on-site hives (in full beekeeper suits), honey harvesting/extracting demonstrations and hosted seminars and speaking engagements at the restaurant and at local libraries, schools, television shows and more.

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