“One of the most refreshing and intelligent evenings in Chicago. It’s unexpected, unvarnished and hilarious.”

“I had more than a blast. It was honor to meet so many great Chicagoans, it makes me proud to be a part of this city. Thanks for bringing me along for the ride.”

[UPDATE: Idea Potluck ran from 2011- 2018 and was retired after Number 51]

Idea Potluck is a potluck of ideas rather than food. It brings together several of Chicago’s best and brightest, funniest and handsomest, wittiest and engaging-est for an evening of rapid fire musings on whatever they choose to muse upon. Each pre-selected Dish does whatever he/she wants, for six-minutes. You as an audience member sit back and absorb, perhaps laugh and cry, definitely meet other awesome people.


Past Potlucks

Potluck 51.0, Tuesday, 2/13/18  photos Nice, Single Lady’ Edition (LGBTQ)

Mac & Cheese is partnering with Center on Halsted for this event in an effort to support programming for our shared communities. Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. A portion of ticket proceeds will go to the Center.

  • Alex
  • Emily
  • Analisha
  • Conway
  • Starza
  • Deb
  • Anita
  • Jera
  • Jocelyn

Potluck 50.0, Tuesday, 10/24/17  photos

Potluck 49.0, Tuesday, 9/19/17   photos 

  • Seth Austen Larson, Technology Troubleshooter
  • Frank Shapiro
  • Kendra Chaplin, Founder, Chicago Woman magazine | Twitter & Instagram: @chiwomanmag @kendrachaplin
  • Jenn Bane, Cards Against Humanity | Twitter: @JennDangerous
  • Joanne Worden
  • Kelsey Taylor
  • Jason Bell, Sales Guy, Photographer, Global Adventurer, Foodie, Speaker | Instagram: @jasonbell82
  • Boots McCann, Ph.D., Purveyor of Inspirational Clapbacks

Potluck 48.0, Tuesday, 8/22/17   photos 

Potluck 47.0, Tuesday, 7/18/17   photos 

  • Nikki Nigl (rhymes with eagle) – EmpowHERment Coach & CreateHER of ABOUT WOMEN | @IAmNikkiNigl
  • Lisa Zimmer, Beer Culture and Community Manager, MillerCoors | Twitter: @Zimmerino @MillerCoors
  • Morlie Patel
  • Laurie Hillman
  • Val Groth, Executive Life Coach, Speaker, Author of The Power of the Possible: The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman’s Revolution to Fix It, Founder of Ryan Banks Academy | @valeriegroth
  • Brian Fitzpatrick, founder of Google’s Chicago engineering office circa 2005, current Founder and CTO of Tock | @therealfitz
  • Stephanie Anderson
  • Jared, Artist/Creator behind Chicago Birch/ChirCh | @chicagobirch

Potluck 46.0, Tuesday, 6/20/17   photos  ‘Nice, Single Guy’ Edition (Straight)

  • Matt
  • Arnold
  • Eric
  • Brian
  • Fadi
  • Ying
  • Jeremy
  • Duo
  • Brett

Potluck 45.0, Tuesday, 5/16/17   photos

  • Steve Gadlin – Serial Silly Projects Guy and Host of Steve Gadlin’s Star Makers | Twitter: @CatDrawingGuy
  • Stephen Kummer
  • Sue Koch – Owner, Soaring Solutions | Twitter: @sue_kochInstagram: @suekoch 
  • Jenn Dieas – Founder of Glowout Salons | Instagram: @jennthegoldengirl
  • Stacy Ratner – Social Entrepreneur for Literacy, Open Books / Chicago Literacy Alliance | @stacyjratner
  • Danny Black
  • Kandy Christensen​ – Meandering Design T: Meander_Design I: @meanderingdesign
  • Shannon Noll | Twitter: @snapplegate87

Potluck 44.0, Tuesday, 4/18/17   photos

  • Jo Feldman – Performer, actor, and head writer of Cards Against Humanity | @hellojofeldman
  • Karen Hawkins – Founder & Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine for Women | @RebelliousMag
  • Jerry Nwosuocha – Jack of all trades | @nyc_mouse
  • Shawn Smith – Shawnimals and Resketch | Twitter: @shawnimal Instagram: @shawnimals
  • Bobby Evers – Volunteer writer/producer/dj with CHIRP radio | @ohbusiness
  • Susan Glynn
  • Colin Davis
  • Miranda McClendon – Curious Human | Instagram: @frooojojojo

Potluck 43.0, Tuesday, 3/21/17   photos

Potluck 42.0, Tuesday, 2/21/17

Potluck 41.0, Tuesday, 1/22/17 — photos  ‘Nice, Single Guy’ Edition (Straight)

  • Sean – Twitter: @espeekayyo
  • Tom
  • Will
  • Joey
  • Benjamin -Twitter: @benjaminritter, Instagram: @ritterbenj
  • Barry
  • Daniel – Twitter and Instagram: @musicinthehall
  • Reuven
  • Kevin – Twitter and Instagram: @kdaspeaker

Potluck 40.0, Tuesday, 10/18/16 — photos


  • Scott Winterroth, Co-Founder, Content Academy | Twitter: @swinterroth @contentacademy
  • Angie Garbot, Owner, Angela Garbot PhotographyInstagram: @angelagarbot @angelagarbotphotography Twitter: @PhotosByGarbot 
  • Toni Husbands, Financial Coach, Debt Free Divas | Twitter: @debtfreedivas
  • Jeana Anderson Cohen, Founder of a SweatLife.com and the host of #Sweatworking events across Chicago | Instagram and Twitter: @asweatlife
  • Eileen Boyes, Former Teacher and Recovering Pessimist | Twitter: @eileen91582
  • Rachel Pokay, Humorist@OkayPokay
  • Hobert Thompson
  • Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company | Twitter: @cjlew23

Potluck 39.0, Tuesday, 9/20/16 — photos


  • Adrienne Brust, Owner & Principal Creative of studioLIFTED
  • Steve Delahoyde, Filmmaker & Owner of Delahoyde Projects@thehoyde
  • Emily Drake, CEO, Flank 5 Academy + Career Therapist | @emkdee & @flank5academy
  • Lucas O’Neil, Writer/Comedian@loneilz
  • Alison Monette, Coordinator of a Brain Surgery Program in the ‘Burbs
  • Chandrea Brown, Explorer | Data Enthusiast | Information Broker
  • Fuzzy Gerdes, Producer and Performer@fuzzy
  • Lily Be, Creator of The Stoop | Storyteller | Educator at Second City | @queenlilybe

Potluck 38.0, Tuesday, 8/16/16 — photos


Potluck 37.0, Tuesday, 7/19/16 – photos


  • Mona Aburmishan, International Comedian; producer of The Comedy Bowl | @monadoesfunny
  • DeLonda from the House of Dowling, First Born, First of Her Name, Princess of Purple
  • Make It Up Media | @makeitupmedia
  • Nick Puglisi, product designer, co-owner of Potluck Products@potluckproducts
  • Dani Davis, Connnector
  • Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune Columnist | @maryschmich
  • Steve Nelson, Writer and Performer
  • Caitlin Neal, Sexuality Strategist

Potluck 36.0, Tuesday, 6/28/16 – photos


  • Saleem Hue Penny, Introvert + Daydreamer, Future Owner of Crayonsonthebackporch | @huedotart
  • Claire Zulkey, writer at Zulkey.com, author of An Off Year, producer of Funny Ha-Ha | @zulkey
  • Tocarra Mallard, Comedian + Arts Adminstrator |@TocarraElise
  • Christina Marshall-Valdez, Founder, CEO, Visionary of Elu | @YourEluGirl, @YourElu_Boss
  • Jason Silver, Dating and Love Coach, We Just Match |@jason_silver
  • Sonia Gonzalez, Educator | @ripus7
  • Nancy Graham, Technical Project Manager, Cat Herder | @nancygraham001
  • Shuling Yong, Documentary Filmmaker and Founder of Media For Social Change | @yongshuling

Potluck 35.0, Tuesday, 5/17/16 – photos


  • Nicky Margolis
  • Julia Smith, Nonprofit Communications Manager | @juliacsmith
  • Bryan Biello, Foreman of Festivity 
  • Merrit Landsteiner, Stand-Up Comedian
  • Lauren O’Connell, Territory Manager at Spindrift, VO Actor, Reki Healer, Vedic Astrologer | @OConnell_Lauren
  • Katie Linehan
  • Megan Shaw, Regular Gal Around Town
  • Susannah Mae Schoeny, Preschooler — “My job is to stay in bed.”
  • Mike Robinson, Professional Speaker & President of In The Paint Basketball

Potluck 34.0, Tuesday, 4/19/16 – photos


Potluck 33.0, Tuesday, 3/15/16 – photos


  • Jessica L. Williams, Founder, TechBizGurl.com | @techbizgurl
  • James Meredith, “Celebrated Actor” currently playing Othello in “Othello” at the Shakespeare Theater | @javimere
  • Daniel Morrow, Digital Media Producer at JAMA and Founder/Producer of Music in the Hall@musicinthehall
  • Natalie Shmulik, Food Business Consultant, The Hatchery | @TheHatcheryChi
  • Victoria Elena NonesExecutive Director, Women In Comedy | @vfiercerising
  • Stephanie Walker | @stephwalker1
  • Blake Burkhart, Comedian | @blakeburkhart
  • Eunice Jarrett
  • Lynn Else

Potluck 32.0, Tuesday, 2/16/16 – ‘Nice, Single Guy’ Edition (Gay, Bi, Trans) – photos


  • Josh Goldman | @hithereitsjosh
  • Marq Hwang
  • Sami Ari | @SamiAri
  • Jim Conti
  • Patrick Boyd
  • Ben Turbow
  • Christopher Holly
  • Graham Aden

Potluck 31.0, Tuesday, 2/2/16 – ‘Nice, Single Guy’ Edition (Straight)

Idea Potluck

  • Chuck Otto | @chuckotto
  • Theodore Hahn, Middlebrow Bon Vivant | @the83k
  • J.T. Snipes, Graduate Student, Indiana University | @jsnipes3
  • Joey Berk
  • Kevin D’Souza, Project Manager, Sarcastic, Sports Enthusiast | @kevdsouz
  • Wilfred Mejia
  • Ray Hui, Comedy Writer and Performer | @meofsunshine
  • Brett Myers, Program Director Next Door Chicago | @brettmyers0
  • Randy Hackler, Man of Mystery

Potluck 30.0, Tuesday, 1/19/16 – ‘Nice, Single Guy’ Edition (Straight)

Idea Potluck

  • James Smolich, SaaS Program Manager, Dog and Fitness Enthusiast | @jamesstellar
  • Ed Duffy | @edbduffy
  • Quantas Ginn, Marketer. Foodie. Chicago Lover. Owner of WaterWalk Marketing | @quantas_ginn
  • Mike Speller, Museum Educator & Freelance Creative
  • Mig Reyes, Designer at Basecamp | @migreyes
  • Jeff Arcuri | @JeffArcurious
  • Greg Fairbank, Photographer, Teacher, Life Enthusiast
  • Joe Martin, Entrepreneur, Web Personality, Hockey Player, and Musician | @hijoemartin
  • Ranjit Souri, Comedian, Storyteller, Comedy Instructor

Potluck 29.0, Tuesday, 10/20/15

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Potluck 28.0, Tuesday, 9/22/15

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Potluck 27.0, Tuesday, 8/18/15


  • Kelli Strickland, Executive Director, The Hypocrites
  • Lola Wright, Spiritual Director, Bodhi Spiritual Center | @lolapwright and @bodhichicago
  • Lauren Huffman, Co Producer and Co Host of Second City’s Sunday Morning Stories, Do Not Submit Old Town & Tenx9Chicago | @HuffyPuffy21
  • Charisse Conanan Johnson, Creator, Charisse Says@CharisseSays
  • Alison Connelly, Actor, Founder & Producer of Arvid Production Co. & Ongoing cast member of ‘I Saw You’ | @Jimothy1863
  • Jon Dick, Marketing Director at Trunk Club | @jondick
  • Michelle MooreMarketer, Triathlon Coach, Cyclist
  • Tina Fakhrid-Deen, Writer, Educator, Activist, Mama, and Cupcake Addict | @tinawritenow

Potluck 26.0, Tuesday, 7/14/15IMG_2681

Potluck 25.0, Tuesday, 6/16/15


Potluck 24.0, Tuesday, 5/19/15

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Potluck 23.0, Tuesday, 4/21/15


Potluck 22.0, Tuesday, 3/17/15


  • Abby McEnany, Improvisor and Actor
  • Odinaka, Stand Up Comedian | @odinaka
  • Zernul R. Shackelford Jr, Owner of Darque Syde of D’Lyte Productions, Inc.
  • Maria Kim, President & CEO, The Cara Program | @motivatedbycara @maria_kim
  • Sonali Nanayakkara, World-traveler, Spiritual Seeker, Holistic Psychiatrist and an Ambassador of a Life Of Yes!
  • Amy Guth, GM, RedEye & Metromix | @amyguth
  • Cody Melcher, Writer, Comedian, Humanist, Host of podcast Tomefoolery and show Pedantry | @CodyMelcherEsq
  • Kim Morris, Writer/Actor | @morrispop

Potluck 21.0, Tuesday, 2/17/15


Potluck 20.0, Tuesday, 1/20/15 — All-Star Edition!


Past Dishes came back to get another six minutes of fame…

  • James Ellis | @saltlab
  • Alexandra Tsarpalas, Stand-up Comic | @keenobservation
  • Gary Gulley, Owner, Alarmist Brewing | @garygulley
  • Sarah Watts, Mom, Writer, and Disability Advocate | @wifeytini
  • Sonia Denis, Comedienne | @sonideni
  • Mike McGee, Co-Founder and Supreme GIF Wizard, The Starter League |@michaelmcgee
  • Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director of Orbit Media | @crestodina
  • Ashleigh Edwards, Lover, Cusack Extraordinaire | @picklet13

Potluck! 19.0, Tuesday, 10/21/14


Potluck! 18.0, Tuesday, 9/23/14

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Potluck! 17.0, Tuesday, 8/19/14

View More: http://beyondtheordinaryphotography.pass.us/ideapotluck

Photography by Charity Theiss, Beyond the Ordinary Photography | @Beyond_OrdPhoto

Potluck! 16.0, Tuesday, 7/15/14


Potluck! 15.0, Tuesday, 6/17/14


Potluck! 14.0, Wednesday, 5/21/14

Potluck! (A Smorgasbord of Ideas)

  • Adam Desjardins, loving father and catchphrase inventor | @SirGuthry
  • Patty Morrissey, Head of Social Innovation at Groupon | @Patty360
  • Ashleigh Edwards, Lover, Cusack Extraordinaire | @picklet13
  • Tommy Choi, Co-founder of Weinberg Choi Realty | @tommychoi
  • Henry Riggs
  • Felix Jung, front end developer and blogger | @avoision
  • Casey McMillan, Entertainment attorney, wanna be fashionista, poet, writer, adventure seeker | @caseybmcmillan
  • Mike Carpenter, host of Chicago Design Debates | @carpemike

Potluck! 13.0, Tuesday, 4/22/14

Potluck! (A Smorgasbord of Ideas)

Potluck! 12.0: Tuesday, 4/1/14

Potluck! (A Smorgasbord of Ideas)

Potluck! 11.0: Tuesday, 2/25/14


Potluck! 10.0: Tuesday, 1/28/14


See all photos

Potluck! 9.0: Tuesday, 11/5/13 – all proceeds to the Chicago Women’s Health Center!

Potluck! (A Smorgasbord of Ideas)

See all photos (Photographer: Matt Altstiel, MBA Photography, @MBAPhotography1)

Potluck! 8.0: Tuesday, 8/6/13


Complimentary libations courtesy of Twisted Hippo Brewing!

See all photos

Potluck! 7.0: Thursday, 6/25/13


See all photos (Photographer: Matt Altstiel, MBA Photography, @MBAPhotography1)

Potluck! 6.0: Thursday, 8/23/12


See all photos (Photographer: Adam Daniels)

Potluck! 5.0, Monday, 7/16/12


See all photos (Photographer: Jen Swanson)

Potluck! 4.0, Monday, 5/21/12

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Potluck! 3.0, Tuesday, 3/13/12 


See all photos (Photographer: Christopher Murphy)

Potluck! 2.0, Wednesday, 11/30/11


  • Chris Piatt, Executive producer and Editor-in-chief, The Paper Machete, @thepapermachete
  • Samantha Irby, Blogger, Bitches Gotta Eat, @wordscience
  • Rick Desai, Builder of Companies, Lover of Pizza, @rickdesai
  • Kelsie Huff, Comedian and Founder of the Kates, @kelsiehuff
  • Sondra Morin, Writer. Poet. Bicyclist. New Englander By Trade, @sondramorin
  • Dawgelene Sangster, Think Royally, @dawgelene
  • Heidi Massey, I.C. Stars, @heidiekmassey
  • Bill Stern, sftwr dev, abrvtn spclst

See all photos

Potluck! 1.0, Wednesday, 8/24/11


  • Sarah Jindra, Reporter, WBEZ Traffic and Founder, INSPIREme Chicago
  • Griffin Caprio, Uber-Mench
  • Heather Van Benthuysen, Teacher
  • Arnie Niekamp, Head Writer, ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ game
  • Drex Drexler, Litigation paralegal
  • Megan Redfearn, Academic and leadership development, Northwestern  University
  • Marcy Capron, Founder/CEO, Polymathic

See all photos

How can I speak at Potluck?

There is no application to be a Potluck Dish.

We have a long list of potential Dishes whom we’ve witnessed being awesome in real life. So if we’ve seen you out and about, doing your thing, sit tight; you might hear from us.

If we haven’t seen you being awesome, well, insert yourself in our world! Not by asking to be a Dish, but at the very least, coming to a Potluck to see the structure, the vibe, the awesomeness; intro yourself to us if you do! There are tons of other ways to be in our world besides Potluck as well, via other Mac & Cheese and TeamPete offerings. Come on out!

Please don’t ask us to be a Dish though. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you…”