Browsing articles in "food festivals"
Mar 19, 2014
Tina George

27 Big-Time Chefs Land in Downtown

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - One of Nancy Silverton’s earliest experiences with a chef-driven food event came in the early 1980s. At the time, the current chef and co-owner of Osteria Mozza was slaving away in the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Hollywood.


“It was 10 chefs cooking in the Spago parking lot,” Silverton recalled. “Not much to look at.” 

Things have come pretty far in three decades. Now food and wine festivals attract thousands of people and food television programs snag massive ratings. Some chefs have attained near rock-star status. 

So there’s a little irony in the fact that Silverton this week will be cooking in a parking lot herself. It just happens to be a much larger one with an arena built on it.

Silverton is one of 27 chefs taking part in the inaugural All-Star Chef Classic, a celebration of cooking that runs Friday-Sunday, March 21-23, at L.A. Live. Other participants include local chefs Ludovic Lefebvre (Trois Mec), Michael Cimarusti (Providence) and Roy Choi (Chego!). Also on the bill are Alain Passard from France, modernist cuisine master Wylie Dufresne from New York, Graham Elliot from Chicago and Dominique Crenn from San Francisco.

The action will take place during four themed events being held on two stages built for the occasion by Anschutz Entertainment Group. “Restaurant Stadium,” a large arena with four kitchens surrounded by stadium seating for 250 diners, will host the French Masters Dinner on Friday evening, Saturday’s All-Star Lunch (featuring an all-female cast), and a slate of chef demos throughout the weekend. The “Chef’s Tasting Arena,” a collection of 10 small kitchens arranged around a huge tent, will be the site of the Grill and Chill session on Saturday night and Savor the Season on Sunday. It offers more of a chance for diners to roam, taste and chat.

The All-Star Chef Classic is the brainchild of Lucy Lean and Krissy Lefebvre. Lean served as the former editor of the magazine edible Los Angeles and wrote Made in America, a cookbook of classic recipes interpreted by chefs around the county. Krissy Lefebvre, meanwhile, is the general manager and a partner in Trois Mec, where her husband helms the kitchen. The Lefebvres also staged several series of the pop-up restaurant LudoBites in Downtown.

Both Lean and Krissy Lefebvre have put on large food festivals before. The difference here is the up-close-and-personal experience the duo wanted to create. 

“Everyone sees how exciting food TV has become, with all of the close-ups of the action,” Lean said. “Making this event was taking that sensation and figuring out a way where you feel you’re right in the kitchen, but you also get to eat what results.” 

Eating Courtside

Large food events with chef demos often feature a lecture-type layout, with a chef and the kitchen placed in front of a crowd. Restaurant Stadium, however, is more akin to courtside seats at a basketball game, with multiple screens showing off a stream of action from all parts of the kitchen. 

Diners attending the five-course French Masters Dinner and All-Star Lunch will watch each course get cooked and plated. Servers will bring the meals to the seats, which will have counters wide enough to accommodate the usual array of silverware and glasses. 

The Chef’s Tasting Arena offers attendees an even better opportunity to engage directly with the chefs, as the Grill and Chill and the Savor the Season sessions are more casual. 

The Chef Classic is a fairly intimate affair, though it comes at a cost, with individual events costing from $65 (for Savor the Season) to $300 (for front-row seats at the French Masters Dinner). AEG expects about 1,700 attendees across three days. 

“We wanted award-winning chefs, not just celebrity types, and we wanted this event to be much smaller and more exclusive than other similar productions,” said Evelyn Taylor Carrion, AEG’s vice president of sales and events. “There was a focus on quality, not quantity.”

The emphasis on top talent and keeping the crowd manageable also benefits the chefs, letting them interact with the diners and each other more comfortably, said Gavin Kaysen, who heads the kitchen at New York City’s Café Boulud and will participate in Saturday’s Grill and Chill. 

“A lot of times these events aren’t built to make chefs happy and engaged. We’re just there to feed people,” Kaysen said. “But this a great group of chefs, and it’s also a reunion of sorts. We don’t often get to cook together or even talk to each other, so I’m looking forward to it.” 

While tickets for the French Masters Dinner and All-Star Lunch were almost sold out by press time, the other events promise a tasty slate of dishes. Silverton will feature a baby kale salad with marinated white anchovies, ricotta salata and pine nuts during the Savor the Season event. For Grill and Chill, Kaysen is preparing a bahn mi sandwich filled with grilled Thai sausage, a pork and chicken mousse, shaved radishes and a fish sauce vinaigrette.  

Beyond the dishes, the All-Star Chef Classic symbolizes an ongoing shift for dining culture as a whole, even beyond customers’ focus on the food and the ingredients. 

“When it comes to the relationship between diner and chef, there’s more interaction than ever before,” Silverton said. “It’s more important to today’s customer to know the face behind the food they’re eating.” 

That dynamic bodes well for the future of the All-Star Chef Classic. AEG hopes to make it an annual event, and it could grow even larger and take place at other AEG properties in the U.S. and beyond, said Carrion. 

No matter where the event travels, however, the premise will remain simple: Focus on chefs having fun together, and let the crowd in on the action.

“I just love to cook,” Ludovic Lefebvre wrote in an email, “so it’s exciting for me that people seem to also love what I love doing.”

The All-Star Chef Classic takes place March 21-23 at L.A. Live, (877) 234-8425 or

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2014

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Mar 19, 2014
Tina George

Taste of Home cookbook treats

Cheryl Cohen, culinary specialist, will be delighting cooks from around the Tri-State Area with her demonstration of seasonal recipes during the Taste of Home Cooking School April 1 at the Serbian-American Cultural Center in Weirton.

This event brings together both experienced home chefs, those working their way through a cookbook and beginners just learning that exact measurements are needed to make a perfect angel food cake and many other baked goods. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the show gets under way from the stage at 7 p.m.

Chosen recipes are prepared ahead, presented for completion and shown on the big screen above the cooking area. During the door prize drawing, some lucky contestants will win the prepared food in colorful containers.

Article Photos

ON SALE NOW — The Taste of Home “Recipes Across America” cookbook will be on sale for $25 at the Taste of Home Cooking School on April 1 at the Serbian-American Cultural Center. It has recipes from all 50 states, including everything from breakfast foods and sandwiches to entrees, desserts and culinary hints. Tickets are on sale at the Herald-Star for the cooking show.
– Esther McCoy

The “Recipes Across America” Taste of Home Cookbook will be available for purchase for $25. It has 735 of the best reader recipes from across the nation. Recipes will include Cincinnati Chili, New Orleans Beignets, Arkansas Travelers and Wyoming Cowboy Cookies to name some of the favorites across our great land.

So, from northeast, south, midwest, southwest and west come many of the best-tasting foods that can be the found. And they will all be “as American as apple pie.”

There are hundreds of food facts, culinary trivia and snapshots of popular landmarks and food festivals throughout the country in the “Recipes Across America” cookbook.

Here are a few samples of the recipes included for cooks to make, show off with pride and serve.

Would you believe this hearty recipe calls for cinnamon and cocoa to give the chili a rich brown color? It is traditionally served over spaghetti and sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and green onions. The name is Cincinnati Chili.

Cincinnati Chili

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

4 medium onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

Two cans, 16 ounces each, kidney beans, rinsed and drained

28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup baking cocoa

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot cooked spaghetti

Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and green onions for garnish

In a Dutch oven, cook beef, pork and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer, and drain. Add beans, tomatoes, vinegar, cocoa and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until heated through. Discard bay leaves. Serve over spaghetti. Garnish if desired. Makes eight servings.

A food fact about the New Orleans beignets recipe tells that Louisiana’s French settlers brought recipes for deep-frying pastries, and the beignet evolved from the fruit-filled fritters to squares of fried, sweet dough generously dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

This is a traditional part of breakfast in New Orleans, a sweet dough that is fried without a hole in the middle like the doughnut.

New Orleans Beignets

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water, 110-115 degrees

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 egg

4 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Oil for deep fat frying

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, oil, sugar, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky.) Do not knead. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; roll into a 16-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut into 2-inch squares. In an electric skillet or deep fat-fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry the squares, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain the beignets on paper towels. Roll warm beignets in confectioners’ sugar.

Note: As a substitute for each cup of self-rising four, place 1 1/2 teaspons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup. Makes four dozen.

Many were probably wondering what the Arkansas Travelers recipe was about. Truthfully, I was, too. It is a club sandwich that was served in an Arkansas tea room, and the customer got the recipe.

Arkansas Travelers

1 pound sliced turkey breast

5 ounces sliced Swiss cheese

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

1 large tomato

10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1/3 to 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing

10 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

Chop turkey, cheese, avocado and tomato into 1/4-inch cubes.

Place in a large bowl. Add bacon and dressing. Spoon 1/2 cup between two slices of the whole wheat toast. Makes five sandwiches.

These cookies are popular in Wyoming – the reason for that name. They are great for lunch boxes or for munching any time. They are filled with chocolate chips, coconut, pecans and old-fashioned oats.

Wyoming Cowboy Cookies

1 cup flaked coconut

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups old-fashioned oats

2 cups, 12 ounces chocolate chips

Place coconut and pecans on a 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, or until toasted, stirring every 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to other creamed mixture; beat well. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and toasted coconut and pecans. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes six dozen, unless you want to make them cowboy-size and they could be less.

For those who remember former U.S. President Harry S. Truman, you will be interested to know that his wife, Bess, made this version of an apple pudding famous.

It has a meringue cookie-like topping and an apple-nut base. Try it and see what you think.

Ozark Pudding Cake

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped, peeled apple

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat egg and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in vanilla then flour mixture.

Fold in apple and walnuts. Transfer to prepared pie plate. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cake will puff up, then fall when removed from oven. With a knife, loosen sides from pie plate while still warm. Serve warm and topped with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. This makes six servings.

(McCoy can be contacted at

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Mar 19, 2014
Tina George

Novelist Rachel Cantor mashes up pizza, time travel, romance

click to enlarge

    Rachel Cantor, the author of the recently released novel, A  Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World, has always been passionate about pizza – she spent six years of her childhood in Rome and became, she says, “a real pizza snob” – but that wasn’t the reason that she chose it as a profession for her novel’s protagonist.

    “He needed to be in a room by himself with a telephone,” says Cantor from her home in Brooklyn. “And I remembered that many years ago I overheard a conversation between two writers talking about their very worst jobs. One of the writers said that he – or she, I can’t remember – had a job as the person who answered the phone for the complaint line for a national pizza chain.

    “He had to field complaints from all over the United States and find a way, from prepared company guidelines, to resolve the complaint. When I was looking for a job for my character, Leonard, that seemed perfect. He’s working out of a highly-surveilled home office.”

    Cantor will read from her novel this Thursday, September 20 at the Central Library, 14 West 10th Street, at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested by clicking here.

    click to enlarge

    • Marianne Barcellona
    • Rachel Cantor will discuss her debut novel, “A Highly Unlikely Scenario” at the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library on Thursday evening.

    Cantor admits that her book – a deftly funny journey through time, French jazz festivals, and Australian food festivals, among other things – is hard to categorize.

    “That hadn’t been my intention,” Cantor says, “but I did try to mash up some genres.”

    Cantor says that the novel was her attempt to take a break from the “more serious writing” she does to support herself . Her more realistic short stories have been published in Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter,  and the Kenyon Review. A Highly Unlikely Scenario delves into more absurdist territory.

    “I needed a serious break from my serious writing,” Cantor says.

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    Mar 18, 2014
    Tina George

    Nantwich firm Kidzkitchen to star on BBC1 “Rip Off Food” show

    kidzkitchen teaser image

    An award-winning Nantwich company has been chosen to feature on the BBC1 programme Rip Off Food which is presented by Gloria Hunniford.

    KidzKitchen, run by Wybunbury mums Tracey Cooke and Gill Fox, will be showing viewers across the UK how to make simple, healthy breakfasts for children.

    The show, which includes filming at Cheerbrook Farm Shop in Nantwich, will be shown on Wednesday March 26 at 11am on BBC1.

    It includes school children from Wybunbury Delves, The Berkeley in Wistaston, Malbank and Brine Leas schools making breakfasts from scratch and rating their recipes.

    Local parents were also interviewed to test their knowledge of breakfast cereals including what they contain, as well as calories and portion size and sugar content.

    Tracey Cooke, co-founder of KidzKitchen, said: “We know you’ve heard it before, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – especially for your child.

    “A healthy breakfast can be made quickly and easily and doesn’t have to be expensive.

    “In fact, making your own breakfast from scratch will often prove less expensive than buying cereals.”

    KidzKitchen runs healthy eating and cookery classes for schools, work at food festivals around the UK and run cooking sessions for charities and community groups.

    They were recently voted the Best Start Up Business of the Year by Cheshire East Council at the South Cheshire Chamber Business Awards.

    They also won the Dabber’s Den competition which is run locally to find the most promising new business in Nantwich.

    To find out more about KidzKitchen; visit their website

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    Mar 18, 2014
    Tina George

    Ministry Official encourages more Food Festivals

    Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Dermon Spence, is encouraging more players in the agricultural sector to utilise food festivals as a means of showcasing and marketing their produce.

    Mr Spence was speaking on Saturday, March 15 at the 3rd Annual Jamaica Coffee and Rum Fest organised by the Cave Valley Multi-Purpose Co-operative (CVMP) in association with Jamaica Standard Products and held at Baronhall Estates in Cave Valley St Ann.

    The chief technical director said that the hosting offood festivals provided an excellent opportunity to highlight and market Jamaican products such as coffee and rum, which are known for their world-class quality and are excellent brand ambassadors for Jamaican products.  In addition to the jerk and seafood and yam festivals one could pursue even more opportunities to celebrate the culinary traditions of Jamaica, Mr. Spence said.

    He pointed out that part of the Ministrys vision for agriculture was the re-positioning of the sector to increase the supply of value-added products.

    This, he added, can only be achieved through more research, increased production and innovate marketing.

    Mr. Spence went on to outline several initiatives being implemented by the Ministry to boost production and productivity in the sector.

    The Jamaica Coffee and Rum Fest was produced by coffee farmers from the Cave Valley Co-operative with support from the Coffee Industry Board, the central St Catherine Coffee Growers Association and Frankfield Coffee and Cocoa Co-operative. Proceeds from the days event were earmarked to purchase fungicide to fight off the coffee leaf rust disease, which has been affecting the coffee sector.

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    Mar 17, 2014
    Tina George

    Newburyport 250th: Immigrants flocked to Newburyport’s factories

    Editor’s note: As Newburyport celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, The Daily News is publishing a series of stories that looks back on city history. Today, St. Patrick’s Day, we focus on immigration and the changing face of the community over the years.

    For a city that was organized more than two centuries ago, the population of Newburyport hasn’t grown much; to wit, in 1851 the number of residents was about 13,500 and the most recent census counted 17,416.

    But the face of the population has changed significantly and a key reason was immigration.

    The late 19th century brought many newcomers here, and immigration has been called one of the most influential factors in this community. First the Irish and then the French-Canadians, Italians, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Polish and others came to the small city by the Merrimack.

    Many Irish traveled here after the potato famine of the 1840s and 1850s, and the political unrest in later decades. French-Canadians came south in large numbers between 1870 and 1900.

    In addition to external factors such as rural poverty and political turmoil in Europe, immigrants came here because the city’s economy was changing — and in need of labor.

    By the late 19th century, the city’s once strong shipbuilding and maritime industries had waned. Michael Mroz, executive director of the Custom House Maritime Museum, said builders were unable to convert from producing sleek wooden clipper ships to iron-clad, motorized vessels that were in demand. These heavy ships, especially when loaded, were low in the water and essentially could not pass through the shallow inlet to the ocean.

    But as boats and trade faded, manufacturing of “land-locked” items increased. Advances in hydro-technology in the mid-19th century led to the development of factories on rivers. From Lowell and Lawrence to Haverhill, Amesbury and Newburyport, cheap hydro power ushered in a period of manufacturing of hats, shoes, combs, textiles, silver and carriages.

    Because many parts of the eastern U.S. were rebuilding after the Civil War, manufacturers had a market. They needed workers, and newcomers wanted jobs.

    The Irish

    Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish are here in large numbers as a result of their migration that was robust from 1850 to 1900. Many left Ireland due to the potato famine. Once they were settled here, they often invited members of their extended families to join them.

    “The Irish took the place of laborers who left New England to earn a better living elsewhere,” wrote local historian Jean Foley Doyle in her book, “Life in Newburyport, 1900 to 1950” (Peter Randall Publisher, Portsmouth, 2007).

    “They paved the way for the other immigrant groups that followed.”

    Many Irish newcomers had few skills and little money. They took menial and poorly paid jobs and worked in dark, dank factories that today would be shut down as public-health hazards.

    But they had bet their futures on America, and they developed a drive to earn cash and buy property.

    Also, as city services expanded, historians say the Irish joined the police and fire departments. These occupations provided a stable wage and enabled the Irish and their families to gain some security.

    Historians say the Irish loved politics, and City Hall here became a popular destination for selected residents. Records show that in 1870, Hugh McGlew was elected to the “common council” and was re-elected three times.

    In 1903, James F. Carens became the first Irishman to serve as mayor.

    During World War I, about one-third of the men who served from Newburyport were Irish, historians say.

    The proliferation of the Irish played a key role in the growth of the Immaculate Conception Parish here. Large Catholic families were loyal to the church and often sent their children to parochial school.

    Local historians say that the strength of the Catholic school actually helped the public school system. The Immaculate Conception School educated thousands of youngsters, which meant the public school system did not have to expand to take in the new arrivals.

    “The IC saved the city a great deal of money over the years,” said Jean Foley Doyle.

    French Canadians

    The French Canadians were different than European immigrants because they could get here easily.

    Many young Frenchmen and women would come south by rail to work in the mills, earn cash and sometimes return to the family farm in summer. It was said that they were seeking “streets paved with gold.” Many stayed.

    The French were slower to assimilate in Newburyport society than the Irish, because they continued to speak French at work and in their social lives. Franco-Americans were active in French societies, but most were not politically prominent. French Canadians developed their own Catholic church, located on Federal Street.

    As a partial metric to reflect ethnic assimilation in Newburyport, the following are dates relating to houses of worship, according to statistics produced by Lindsay H. Cavanagh in her study, “Newburyport Churches,” a Historical Society 20th Century Project, 2006:

    Immaculate Conception (formed 1843); Ahavas Achim Synagogue (1896); St. Louis de Gonzogue (French, 1902); and Greek Orthodox (1917).

    In contrast, churches populated by early Yankees include the following: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (1711); First Religious Society, Unitarian (1725); Old South Presbyterian (1742); Belleville Congregational (1761); Baptist Society (1805); First Church Christ Scientist (1890).

    As auto and train transportation developed, Franco-Americans here found social companionship in Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell, other communities that hosted “Little Canadas” whose tenants worked in the mills.

    Historians of Franco-American life say working in the mills and shops was actually liberating for many women. They could earn their own pay, and in some cases unmarried females had their own rooms in (supervised) company housing, according to the book “Quiet Presence: Stories of Franco-Americans in New England” (Hendrickson, Gannett Publishing Co., Portland, 1980).


    Young Italian men migrated around the arrival of the 20th century, many expecting to return to Italy with the money they made. Most, however, made cash here and then sent for their families.

    At the outset, Italians worked in factories. Like other groups, many saved money to buy property and open businesses. Prosperous enterprises have included Lombardi’s Oil Co. and the former Labadini’s restaurant.

    The Italians intermarried into other ethnic groups, and in several generations were entering the mainstream of prosperity. The Canepa family, still prominent in this community, is an example.

    After arriving in the late 19th century, the newcomers started Canepas Grocery, and for years the family ran the store at the corner of Green and Merrimac streets. Their progeny prospered and succeeded in the new world. John Canepa, now 82, went to Harvard before a successful career as a bank president in the Midwest; Dick Canepa, 77, graduated from Brown University before embarking on a career as a popular teacher and coach at Pentucket High School.

    “My father and uncles worked very, very hard,” said Dick Canepa recently. “That’s the life they knew, going to Boston to pick up fresh produce and selling it in the store they ran.” Canepa added, “In the old days there were many small shops downtown, run by Italians, Greeks, Armenians, Jews and many who had come from other countries.”

    Dick Canepa said his family store was run by father John and uncles Charlie and Peter. “When the shoe shops were going, there would be lines in summer outside the store for ice cream and cold drinks. Our ice cream was famous, and in neighborhoods people would put signs in their windows saying they wanted our truck to stop and let them buy some of our ice cream.”

    Other ethnic groups

    Immigrants coming from Greece, Poland and Armenia and Jewish families from central Europe arrived here in smaller numbers, but many descendants have become successful in this community.

    They worked hard, saved and bought property.

    Many were merchants and even if their stores no longer line State, Pleasant, Merrimac or Water streets, their descendants have prospered.

    Jonathan Woodman, an architect and civic leader, said his grandparents came to Newburyport in the late 19th century from a sector near the border of Poland and Russia. The family opened a small neighborhood store on Water Street.

    Woodman said, “My grandmother, Dora Woodman, spoke Polish and if a Polish family had an illness, they would come to her so she could call a doctor. She often went along (with Dr. Hewitt), and translated between doctor and patient.” He said part of the Woodman clan started a farm in the western portion of the city, and there were times when there were cattle crossings on Storey Avenue. “It was unusual for a Jewish family to have a farm, because in the old country Jews couldn’t acquire land. But they ran a farm, raised cows, and sometimes grazed them in the common pasture, which is now part of the industrial park.”

    This city provided education and opportunity for young people, and anecdotal evidence indicates that a majority prospered in later life.

    Lingering evidence of cultural richness can be found today in religious observations and social life.

    The “Greek church” on Harris Street is known for its colorful food festivals as well as its social and religious observations. For years residents enjoyed the Polish Club.

    And Congregation Ahavas Achim on Washington Street remains a vibrant center for Jewish culture.

    For instance, Rabbi Avi Poupko of that congregation recently organized a trip to Israel, and several dozen local residents traveled overseas for the cultural journey.

    One traveler returned to say, “We (travelers) were a community, sharing laughter, sadness, joy, food and connection to the land.”

    Such words might have captured the sentiments of many ethnic groups who came to this country, enjoyed cultural togetherness and had their eyes opened to a new world.

    Recommended Reading

    Mar 17, 2014
    Tina George

    Foodseum, a First of Its Kind, Planned for Downtown

    Foodseum Planned for Chicago

    View Full Caption

    CHICAGO — Imagine the Museum of Science and Industry with food as the focus, where visitors can touch, smell and taste the exhibits as they go.

    That’s the idea behind Foodseum, a freestanding, interactive museum that tech entrepreneur Kyle Joseph is working to open in Chicago next year.

    While still in the early stages of fundraising and organizing volunteers, Joseph said he is looking at locations in the Loop and River North, both neighborhoods with the vital foot traffic that the museum needs.

    He envisions between four and 10 exhibits on rotation at the Foodseum, on topics ranging from chocolate to edible flowers to food trucks.

    “It’s really engaging you with history, the story of how it comes together, how it’s produced, whether it’s cheese or chocolate, and the people who are doing it well and doing it now,” he said.

    He plans to have an area inside the museum with a fully equipped kitchen that could host food festivals and other culinary events and be a test space for chefs looking to open or expand restaurants.

    Some of the proceeds from the nonprofit Foodseum would be donated to food-related charities in Chicago.

    The museum is but one of Joseph’s pet projects. He is the founder of ShopGab, a digital business management tool for personal shoppers and interior designers. He has worked out of the 1871 startup incubator in the Merchandise Mart since its inception in 2012, and is drawing heavily on his network of contacts there to get the museum off the ground.

    Foodseum wouldn’t the first dedicated to food — there is the Jell-O Museum in New York, the SPAM Museum in Minnesota and, closer to home, the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wis., among others — but it would be the first of its kind in Chicago.

    “There have been programs having to do with food, but there’s not one sustained thing and not one place to go,” said Bruce Kraig, a food historian and Roosevelt University professor who is consulting with Joseph on the Foodseum.

    “He has a vision for what it should be … and he is doing his homework,” Kraig said.

    The momentum is there. The Museum of Food and Drink in New York is in the startup phase like Foodseum and has a similar mission to educate and inspire through food. Joseph has reached out to its founders as well as to the esteemed Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans and the Chicago History Museum for guidance and feedback.

    “This is the perfect hub for it,” said Joseph, 31, a Lincoln Park resident. “There’s so much great history in food manufacturing, and now, so many culinary artists and amazing chefs coming out of here.”

    Joseph isn’t one of them. He’s an electrical engineer by training. His family moved around when he was young, from Los Angeles to England to Germany, where he attended high school. He moved to Chicago five years ago after graduate school.

    All that traveling opened his eyes to good food and the culture of food, past and present.

    “I see Chicago as the perfect place for [Foodseum] to exist and thrive,” he said.

    Though the Foodseum will take a broader focus beyond Chicago, its food history and its status as arguably the best eating city in America, Joseph has decided on a Chicago-centric subject for the opening exhibit: the hot dog.

    Kraig, co-author of the book, “Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America,” is helping develop the exhibit, which will explore sausages around the world. It’s a takeoff of an exhibit Kraig did last fall for the University of Chicago’s John Crerar Library.

    Joseph plans to hold the exhibit pop-up style for a few months at an event venue. It would be open to the public for a “cheap ticket,” he said, to generate buzz and help fund the museum’s opening.

    For more on Foodseum, visit the website or its Facebook page.

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    Mar 16, 2014
    Tina George

    Is "sugar-free" a danger to your health?

    By Lauren Fischer
    From Las Fabulosas

    For many working toward weight-loss goals, choosing sugar-free foods and drinks would seem right. But did you know that anything labeled “diet” is loaded with artificial sweeteners, which have the potential to do more harm than good?

    “The only benefit to ‘sugar-free’ food is if it is really devoid of both sugar and artificial sugar,” says Dr. Zina Kroner, who practices at Advanced Medicine of New York, PLLC.

    Here, why sugar-free shouldn’t be a staple in any diet.

    A Dangerous Diet Tool:

    Reaching for a diet soda or sugar-free cookie can actually have the opposite effect when you’re trying to lose weight. “One will gain weight on artificial sugars made in a lab, as they can worsen insulin resistance,” says Dr. Kroner.

    Insulin resistance can contribute to serious health concerns, including obesity.

    Health Issues

    Aspartame, which contains the toxins phenylalanine and aspartic acid, has been linked to side effects such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, depression and visual changes, says Dr. Kroner. For Latinas with diabetes, which is on the incline, sugar substitutes can worsen the disease.

    “Phenylalanine and aspartic acid have been shown to stimulate the release of insulin and leptin, leading to insulin resistance and worsening of blood sugar control,” says Dr. Kroner. “With diabetes, the goal is to improve insulin sensitivity.”

    Alternate Options:

    If you’re still looking for a secret ingredient for weight loss, Dr. Kroner recommends stevia, a plant that has been around for 1,500 years and is considered the safest sugar alternative. Stevia can be used to sweeten recipes such as hot cocoa, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies — without harmful side effects.

    Or, try foods made with healthier sweet ingredients such as Greek yogurt, applesauce or honey. For soda junkies out there, the safer alternative is regular — in moderation. Or, try flavored water or flavored seltzer for a sweet, carbonated kick.

    Copyright © 2014 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

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    Mar 16, 2014
    Tina George

    ‘Hyderabadi dum biryani’ spreads its aroma in Vijayawada

    The lip smacking ‘Hyderabadi dum biryani’ is now a hot favourite of many foodies as the demand is catching up in the city.

    Stroll into any by-lane of M.G. Road, Besant Road, One Town, Patamata or Autonagar, one can find restaurants offering biryani made with mutton, chicken, fish and prawns with the typical Hyderabadi flavour. Garnished with carrot, onion and green chilly slices, hoteliers are serving the yummy dish in copper and steel ‘handis’ with ‘dahi raita’ (yogurt and onions) and mirchi salan (green chilly curry) to woo customers. Further, the salad, including onion, carrot, cucumber and lemon slices is also served at on the plate to pep up the delicacy.

    The hoteliers, on an average, are able to sell more than 50 plates of biryani, including parcels, everyday at a cost ranging from Rs.210 to Rs.300 per plate. Biryani made with prawns, fish, eggs and ulava charu (horse gram dish) are also offered at eateries thus leaving no stone unturned to enhance the flavour and aroma of the ever relished cuisine, says Brijesh Thakur, Executive Chef from a star hotel on M.G. Road. “Rice is a staple food in Andhra and offering biryani prepared with basmati rice and meat would always enable us to attract food lovers,” he says.

    The hoteliers have also taken all care to retain the authenticity of the “king of the Nizams’ kitchen”.

    “We do not want to take any chance with the taste and aroma. We make our chefs learn the techniques that have been followed by the Nizams’ chefs for ages. We ensure the cooks are well-trained before trying their hand with the dish,” he says.

    Biryani festival planned

    Plans are also afoot by a few hoteliers to organise biryani food festivals in Vijayawada shortly to promote the cuisine in the lesser known places, says another restaurant owner. Food lovers say they relish the food in Vijayawada when they were not in Hyderabad. “We have biryani at Paradise and Alpha hotel in Secunderabad and when we are in Vijayawada, we visit the restaurants to relish over the dish,” adds V.V. Ramana Raju, a marketing executive from Vijayawada.

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    Mar 16, 2014
    Tina George

    Savouring Success – Dubai Food Festival declared a grand and gourmet …

    Mar 16 2014

    more articles from

    Inaugural 23-day Dubai Food Festival solidifies Emirate’s position as a burgeoning culinary capital
    Residents and visitors enjoyed over 11 major events, countless activities, and promotions from over 700 participating restaurants
    Dubai foodies urged to keep the celebration going year-round with the Dubai Food Festival Gourmet Trail

    Dubai UAE, 16 March 2014

    As the Dubai Food Festival drew to a close yesterday with the Taste of Dubai, organisers of the inaugural celebration are declaring the 23-day Festival a grand and gourmet success. Organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the Dubai Food Festival was a citywide celebration that saw over 11 key events, 26 international chefs, and over 700 restaurants host, and participate, in a range of food-related events, tastings, activations and promotions. Appealing to both residents and visitors, the Dubai Food Festival showcased the diversity of the Emirate’s culinary offer with cuisines inspired by the 5400 restaurants operating in the city, and the over 200 nationalities who call it home.

    Along with solidifying the Emirate’s profile as a burgeoning gastronomy destination and contributing to the further development of its fast growing food and restaurant sector, the Festival also further enhanced Dubai’s dynamic destination offer – adding a new annual event for residents and visitors to enjoy.

    Her Excellency Laila Mohammed Suhail, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said: “The inaugural Dubai Food Festival was a true demonstration of the Emirate’s ascension as a vibrant and unique culinary capital. It provided a platform to showcase and demonstrate our rapidly expanding food and restaurant sector, as it also established yet another compelling reason for Dubai residents to celebrate, and international guests to visit. The success of the inaugural Dubai Food Festival is not only testament to our extraordinary gastronomy offer, but also the tireless dedication of our partners and the unparalleled professionalism and creativity of the local food and hospitality industry. 2014 set a great benchmark for future Dubai Food Festivals and we look forward to an even more exciting celebration in 2015.”

    Starting on 21 February, 2014 with the new Dubai Food Carnival, and ending yesterday with Taste of Dubai, the Dubai Food Festival saw a diverse array of over 11 consumer and industry events take place across the city throughout February and March. Along with the opening and closing events, key Dubai Food Festival events included Gulfood, the Grand Kerala Festival, The Big Grill, The Taste of Peru, and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF).

    Events also adding specific culinary themes in celebration of Dubai Food Festival were the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2014, Gulf Photo Plus 2014, Global Village with their Global Barbeque Fiesta, and the Dubai International Boat Show. Also new, and a first for Dubai, was the highly popular Dubai Food Festival Beach Canteen, which took place on city beaches between 27 February and 8 March. Beach Canteen saw 16 restaurants “pop-up” to create three tempting yet temporary dining districts on Jumeirah 1 Open Beach, Sunset Beach and Kite Beach.

    Adding star power to the Festival’s full calendar of events including Dubai Food Carnival, GRIF and Taste of Dubai, were over 26 international and celebrity chefs. Representing cuisines from around the world, these award-winning culinary superstars included such well-known names as British Chef, Silvena Rowe; French Chef, Jean Christophe Novelli; Food Network Channel personality, Reza Mahammad; Australian power pair, Greg and Lucy Malouf; Queen of the Arabic Kitchen, Egyptian Chef, Manal Al Alem; Lebanon’s Chef of the Year 2013, Maroun Chedid; and Indian TV star, Sanjeev Kapoor.

    Restaurants, malls and hypermarkets across Dubai also got in on the appetising action with a series of activities and specials. Over 700 restaurants, ranging from the five-star Blue Jade, to chic yet casual cafés such as Bateel Café, created special set menus and special dining promotions to celebrate the inaugural Festival. Malls, including Dubai Mall and Deira City Centre organized 10 in-mall shows as they also gave shoppers the opportunity to experience diverse cuisines at food court outlets as well as the opportunity to win grand gourmet experiences. 60 branches of the UAE’s leading hypermarket chains also ran unique promotions designed to reward shoppers at all their Dubai-based outlets. Shoppers spending AED 250 at Spinneys, Carrefour, Union Co-op or Lulu, during Dubai Food Festival, had the chance weekly to win a slice of the 1.2 Million AED worth of prizes up for grabs.

    Establishing a lasting legacy beyond its 23-day run, the Dubai Food Festival also launched the Dubai Food Festival Gourmet Trail, during the Festival’s second week. Demonstrating the diversity and vibrancy of Dubai’s gastronomic credentials, and designed to share insight with residents and visitors alike, the Gourmet Trail maps a small yet outstanding sampling of the over 5400 restaurants, bistros, canteens and cafés that operate in the Emirate. With over 100 restaurants, representing some of the most unique and best Arabic, world, 5-star, low-cost and secret dining experiences available in Dubai, the Trail was a collaboration between Dubai Food Festival and the who’s who of the Emirate’s vibrant food blogging community including well-known food bloggers Shaikha Al Ali of When Shaikha Cooks, Samantha Wood of FooDiva, Sarah Walton of The Hedonista, Tala Soubra of Fork it Over Dubai, Saba Wahid of Culinary Delights, and Karen McLean of Secret Squirrel Food.

    For more information on the Dubai Food Festival, please visit


    About Dubai Food Festival
    Created for residents of Dubai and visitors to the Emirate, the Dubai Food Festival spans 23 days starting on 21 February and running until March 15 2014. Created to celebrate and enhance Dubai’s position as the gastronomy capital of the region, the city-wide festival includes a number of events, entertainment and attractions, including Taste of Dubai, Gulfood and the inaugural editions of the Dubai Food Carnival and The Big Grill. Dubai Food Festival will also feature a wide range of food-related activities, tastings, offers and events, showcasing the Emirate’s diverse food offering, from Michelin-starred chefs to Emirati dishes and street food, drawn from the cuisines of more than 200 nationalities who live in Dubai.

    For more information on the Dubai Food Festival, visit and follow us on
    TWITTER: @DXBFoodFest HASHTAG: #DubaiFood
    INSTAGRAM: @dxbfoodfest

    For further information about Dubai Food Festival DTCM, please contact:
    Dawn Barnable
    Account Director
    DABO CO on behalf of DTCM
    +971 52 985 908

    About Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE)
    As the pioneer organiser of events and festivals, DFRE is responsible for positioning Dubai as a world-class shopping and tourism destination. Each year it works with its retail and leisure partners to organise the internationally renowned Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, as well as oversee annual events such as Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai and Modhesh World, plus the new Dubai Food Festival. DFRE is an agency of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

    For further information about Dubai Food Festival DFRE, please contact:
    Naser Hakim
    Media Centre Manager
    Tel: +971 4 4455555

    © Press Release 2014

    © Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

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