Midwestern Food—What is it?

Presented by Abra Berens, chef, farmer, author

It is true that we are a region known for steak houses, pizzas and pot roast, but what exactly is Midwestern food? Could it also be a dinner at Alinea? Is it the German chocolate cake made by Stephanie Hart’s Brown Sugar Bakery on 75th St? Is it the melting pot that gives us Cornish pasties from Michigan’s upper peninsula, as well as the roast duck from Chef Kelly Cheng Sun Wah? Continue reading

Paris à Table, circa 1846

Presented by Joe Weintraub, PhD

Paris à Table: 1846 is the first English translation of an essential text in the literature of gastronomy. Written by the journalist and critic, Eugène Briffault, the book takes readers from the opulence of a meal at the Rothschilds’ through every social stratum down to the student on the Left Bank and the laborer eating on the streets. The author surveys the restaurants of the previous generation and his own–from the most elegant to the lowest dive–along with the eating habits of the bourgeoisie, the importance and variety of banquets, and even the plight of “people who do not dine,” offering the reader, according to Le Monde, “the richest view of Balzac’s time seen from the table.” Continue reading

Overrated Tradition? Why Fresh Perspective Will Save the Jewish Deli

Presented by Aaron Steingold, proprietor
Steingold’s Deli, Chicago

Who doesn’t love Deli food? From the cornucopia of Jewish food delights that include corned beef on rye, chopped liver, chicken matzo ball soup, and lox and cream cheese on a bagel, Chicagoans have been relishing Deli food for generations. While there were hundreds of delis in the first part of the 20th century, today, not so many. Continue reading

A Classic French Chef Confronts 21st Century Technology

Presented by Chef Dominique Tougne, Chez Moi

The importance of social media can’t be ignored. It is vital for a restaurant to constantly keep aware of both customers’ wants and culinary trends. While restaurateurs used to stay informed simply by keeping a physical presence with their clientele, today, the world has become “virtual.” And it’s not easy keeping up! Continue reading

Beholding a Grainy History: A Woman Named King is a Queen of Our Local Bread Scene

Presented by Ellen King, Hewn Bakery
Historian/Baker/Author

 “The future of food actually lies in the past,” says Ellen King, co-owner and head baker of the nationally acclaimed Hewn Bakery in Evanston, where she creates hand-forged artisan bread. (www.hewnbread.com).There’s more than a grain of truth to everything Ellen believes in. A historian by training, Ellen joins us to share the history of heirloom grains, and her company’s commitment to furthering the local grain economies in the Midwest.  Continue reading