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Chicago food

My review of The Good Taste Series culinary competition: goetta sausage, shrimp chilpachole – and so much more!

Their hands move restlessly, as if playing the piano. Sweat covers their foreheads and they nervously wipe it out in-between the cooking sessions. “I’m sorry I can’t talk right now, but I promise I’ll cook you the best dish when the judges are gone,” one tells me with visibly shaking hands, while putting the finishing touches on his salmon&goetta sausage dish. One extra garnish here, one hot sizzling pan there – the spectacle is on! They are the nine Hyatt chefs who are performing in The Good Taste Series culinary competition. They are determined, focused, fierce.

I admire professional chefs and I never miss an opportunity to watch them work. This is why I was very excited when I was invited to attend the third edition of The Good Taste Series Midwest regional competition, which was hosted by Hyatt Regency McCormick Place last week. A well-established contest organized by Hyatt as a means to support and recognize its culinary talent, The Good Taste Series gave me the chance to observe nine well-seasoned chefs as they created stunning dishes – and to try them all!

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My review of the Truly Italian food expo: Italian flavors and culinary traditions at their best

I can still remember the first time I came across Italian food: it was a few years after the fall of communism, when my cousin made pizza and cannelloni. She has always been very adventurous in the kitchen, and she took my family by surprise when she made these two dishes, for the first time ever. We didn’t even know how to pronounce their names – I remember we called them “piza” and “chameleon,” lol

As I ventured out of my parents’ home and into the big wide world, my appreciation of Italian cuisine has gone stronger, and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way since that first pizza I tried in my cousin’s kitchen. To me, Italian cuisine is very much a work in progress. I constantly try to find out more information about its history and phenomenal worldwide impact, and I’m always after new and exciting recipes to try. My husband and I are big fans of Italian food – in fact, as I’m writing this, I have cannelloni and pizza baking in the oven, both of which will be ready just in time for dinner. 🙂

Since I am so passionate about Italian cuisine, I was very happy to be invited to the opening of the Truly Italian food expo, held in Chicago earlier this week. What does true Italian food mean? What does it taste like? These are some of the challenging questions I wanted to explore at the event. Keep Reading

My review of 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria: for the love of pizza!

UPDATE: This pizzeria has closed.

With a baby at home and demanding jobs outside the home, who has time to dine out? Not me or my husband, that’s for sure. We haven’t had the chance to go out in what seems like forever, and sometimes I do miss the free time I once used to enjoy. Thankfully, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria has recently come to our rescue, when we were invited to the opening of its newest restaurant in Evanston, IL.

After opening its first California location in January 2012 to rave reviews, 800 Degrees has been turning out, on average, 800-1,200 pizzas per day, serving 300,000 pizzas in its first year from a single location (wow!). 800 Degrees is also credited with starting the “assembly-line” pizza phenomenon. I couldn’t wait to be a part of this phenomenon myself, so I gladly accepted the invitation to check out their new location. It was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse 🙂 Keep Reading

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