Friday, August 12, 2011

It Pays to Be an Intern at Kurman

A personal reflection
By: Stacey Nardozzi

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), recent college graduates who participated in internships did far better than their classmates who had not had that experience. Most universities hammer into students the importance of obtaining an internship and some even make it a requirement for your degree.

One may think that sending your child to work at the family sub shop or a part time job at the mall this summer is more valuable than an internship, but trust me, the experience and knowledge one gains outweighs any job at the GAP (unless you want to be in retail, fashion merchandising or other related field).

With the depressed job market, opportunities for employment in for-profit companies and corporations are few and far between; this is especially true of the public relations industry. To secure that initial phone interview or even get your resume noticed, it helps to know someone on the inside, which is how I landed my internship with Kurman Communications, Inc.

My Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter (PRSSA) went on an agency visit there this past February and was introduced to Cindy Kurman and her team. At the time, they were looking for summer interns and I decided to send my resume and cover letter. I returned a month later for the interview and received a call notifying me that I had gotten the position.

With exams and Grand Rapids in my rearview, I looked to the Chicago skyline with anticipation and excitement for my internship with Kurman.

Little did I know it was going to be the most challenging, stressful, rewarding, crazy and fun summer of my life.

My initial thoughts of this internship were that I was going to be answering phones all day, fetching coffee for my boss and running errands; basically doing all of the grunt work. But boy, was I mistaken!

The Kurman intern position is anything but typical. Some of the tasks that I completed during my 15 week tenure with Kurman included:

• Yes, I did do tasks such as answer phones, took a valuable member of the Kurman team, Truffle their 6-year-old Bichon, for a walk and sorted through newspapers; it all comes with the territory

But I also:
• Managed 4 Facebook and Twitter client accounts by writing, responding to direct messages, comments and distribution of the client messages

• Wrote and distributed media alerts for client events; one resulted in a closing color spot on the
10 p.m. ABC 7 newscast

• Made lots of media follow up calls

• Built media contact lists to add to the database

• Wrote quite a few pitches resulting in clients being mentioned in a late night dining story in the Chicago Sun-Times and a Summer Drinks story in the Daily Herald

• Attended and worked at some fabulous events

• Experienced some of the best dining in Chicago; just one of the perks of representing restaurants

• Getting the opportunity to meet people like food critic and founder/moderator of, David Hammond, food reporter on ABC’s Hungry Hound, Steve Dolinsky
and Jennifer Olvera, food critic and author of the Food Lover’s Guide to Chicago: Best Local Specialties, Markets, Recipes, Restaurants & Events

• And…used Google alerts to track and find client media placements

Overall this experience has taught me a lot about PR. It was stressful at times, but that’s the nature of the business! I have made a lot of great connections in Chicago, gained a better understanding of writing for the media and learned things about social media that I didn’t know even though I am immersed in it every day. I have become a person that obsesses over every detail but I’ve gained some of the best PR knowledge that anyone could ask for. I know what this experience has taught me and instilled in me, I know that I have a passion for PR.

Encourage your children and friends to pursue an internship in his/her chosen career field. Don’t be short sighted. You couldn’t buy this kind of experience. A good internship far outweighs a menial summer job. It could lead to full-time employment offers from the company of the internship or at another via a recommendation. Internships instill a quality work ethic, knowledge of the career that cannot be taught in a classroom and a chance to do work that they are passionate about. My internship at Kurman Communications, Inc. has been a valuable experience and I am grateful that my family supported and encouraged me to pursue this opportunity.
Photo 1: At the Chicago French Market Cooking Channel Truck event
Photo 2: The Kurman Staff outside the office
Photo 3: ABC 7 at the Green City Market
Photo 4: Intern Farewell luncheon at Ethyl's Beer & Wine Dive

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fleming's Lincolnshire Presents Wine Tasting Under the Stars

Join Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, Ill., 847-793-0333) for Wine Tasting Under the Stars featuring Stags’ Leap Winery 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 27. The event will pair hor d’oeuvres with four extraordinary Stags’ Leap wines. Tickets are $59 per person (excluding tax and gratuity).

The evening’s grazing menu starts off with Crispy Prosciutto Cups topped with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella; Shrimp Scampi Skewer served with avocado, orange, red onion and fennel with a chimichurri dipping sauce and Crab Salad with a citrus aioli served in an endive leaf with Stags’ Leap Viognier, Napa Valley 2010.

Next, Ahi Tuna Skewers poppy seed and peppercorn crusted paired with tomato vinaigrette and wasabi aioli; Champagne Poached Lobster Rangoon served with a lobster butter sauce paired with Stags’ Leap Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2009. Followed by Lamb Chops, marinated in balsamic and herb oil served with crispy polenta fries and pistachio mint pesto with housemade F17 sauce and Smoked Duck Crostini with tomato jam layered with thin sliced smoked duck topped with crispy pancetta and bitter greens with a plum honey vinaigrette paired with Stag’s Leap Petite Syrah, Napa Valley 2007.

Followed by Grilled Wild Mushrooms served on crispy polenta topped with a balsamic glaze; Sliced Filet Skewers served over shiitake and parmesan risotto quenelles drizzled with porcini mushrooms sauce and Sriracha chili oil paired with Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2007. The evening will end with the dessert course featuring Mini Lava Cakes and Mini Crème Brûlée.

Founded in 1893, Stags’ Leap Winery has a long tradition of growing superior grapes in the Napa Valley. Located in the Stags’ Leap District, founding Chase family named their country estate after the Stags Leap Palisades which is the background of the winery and also contributes to the winery’s fertile soil. Wine maker, Christophe Paubert relies on the fruit itself and the conditions of each and every harvest in creating delicious and full-bodied wines.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Supreme Lobster Summer Chef Challenge

Buy a VIP Ticket to the Green Tie Ball and Get Chance to Judge Chef Challenge

Supreme Lobster is partnering with one of Chicago's most popular annual charity events, the 20th Green Tie Ball --themed A Return to Emerald City -- to benefit Chicago
Gateway Green

mediumSupreme Lobster will feature its final round of the Chicago Summer Chef Challenge Series at the September 17 gala. Over the years, these Chef Challenges have engaged groups of Chicago's top culinary icons in competition, pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and creating city-wide trends in the restaurant industry (competition is limited to the VIP tent only). 

This year, the live head-to-head battle of the Culinary Titans, takes place in the Green Tie Ball's VIP area at A. Finkl & Sons, 2011 N. Southport, Chicago. 

The list of guest judges this year includes Louisa Chu, nationally recognized chef and culinary journalist; Kate Bernot, Contributing Editor of NBC's culinary blog The Feast; and Chef Aaron McKay of the Executive Dining Room at Hyatt Chicago, alumni of NoMI, Schwa and winner of the previous Chicago Summer Chef Challenge Series. For years, being a guest judge for the Chicago Summer Chef Challenge Series has been an industry-only honor, however, this year the rules are about to change! The Hawaiian Chef Challenge, the biggest culinary challenge yet, will include one very lucky "Chicago civilian" among its judges.

When you purchase a $250 VIP ticket to this year's Green Tie Ball, you automatically will be entered into a raffle to be seated at the judges table during the Chef Challenge Final Tasting Round.

Here's your chance to collaborate with fellow judges, an esteemed group of Chicago's culinary elite and your critiques will award one lucky Chicago Chef the $1,000 Grand Prize.
In addition, one lucky attendee will be awarded a pair of round-trip tickets for a Hawaiian vacation courtesy of CS Magazine and Chicago Gateway Green. 

General admission tickets start at $125 per person and can be purchased at For more information about Chicago Gateway Green, call 312-540-9930. For information about the Green Tie Ball, visit or

About Chicago Gateway Green
Dedicated to greening and beautifying Chicago's expressways, gateways and neighborhoods, Chicago Gateway Green was founded in 1986 to benefit the environment and improve the quality of life for millions of Chicagoland residents and annual visitors.

A 501c3 non-profit organization, Chicago Gateway Green makes an impact in the community with three key programs: Expressway Partnership, transforming city roadways into landscaped parkways; the International Sculpture Program, beautifying gateways through the installation of public, international art on expressways; and the Tree Partnership, a large-scale tree planting initiative that transforms unused land into green spaces.

Chicago Gateway Green is a non-profit organization and has broad support across the region's business and civic community, and serves as a model for effective public-private partnerships. For more information visit or call (312) 540-9930.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pots de Crème, Sandwiches, Snow Cones and Panini...enjoy great food this August!

Did you know that August 27 marks National Pots de Crème Day? This French dessert is a long-time favorite with rich and silky smooth characteristics, making it irresistible! Bistro One West (1 W. Illinois St., St. Charles, Ill.; 630-444-0600) offers a delicious Chocolate Pot de Crème with roasted pumpkin seed brittle. Help us honor National Pots de Crème Day by enjoying Bistro One West's fabulous Chocolate Pot de Crème.


Image of the Chocolate Pot de Crème
is also available in high-resolution.

*Photo credit: Cindy Kurman

August also marks National Sandwich Month! According to the History Channel, no other nation took to the sandwich the way America did--considering it the most democratic of dishes. Rumor has it, the sandwich owes its name to an 18th century British gambler who did not want to get his hands greasy during a card game--Sir John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich.

The sandwich has since been and remains a lunchtime favorite! Sandwich connoisseurs are urged to try Bistro One West's Open-faced Steak Sandwich with caramelized onions, roasted garlic and herb cheese in honor of National Sandwich Month. This variation is everything a sandwich should be and is offered during lunch hours (Tuesday - Thursday from 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.).

Open-faced Steak Sandwich

Image of the Open-faced Steak Sandwich
is also available in high-resolution.

*Photo credit: Cindy Kurman

For more information about Bistro One West, please visit


Prairie Fire and Sweet Miss Giving's are teaming-up 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, August 12 to serve tasty treats from Sweet Miss Giving's food truck in front of Prairie Fire (215 N. Clinton St., Chicago; 312-382-8300).

Who says you have to be a kid to enjoy a refreshing snow cone? Prairie Fire will be serving two delicious "adult" snow cones including a Raspberry Agave Snow Cone with Hornitos tequila and a Bee's Knees Snow Cone with fresh lemon juice, honey, Licor 43 and Hendrix gin. Must be 21 and up to enjoy this cold treat.

Snow Cone

Image of the Raspberry Agave Snow Cone
is also available in high-resolution.

Also, did you know that August marks National Panini Month? Panini originated in Italy and eventually made their way to chic U.S. restaurants. Today, there are many different variations of beloved panini.

We hope you will help us honor two delicious panini served at Prairie Fire and Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, Ill.; 847-205-4433) by enjoying the Grilled Vegetable Panini with "Capriole Farm" goat cheese, balsamic reduction and mixed greens and the Grilled Sustainable "North Country" Ham and Parmesan-Swiss Cheese Panini with fig compote, organic mixed green, walnut, pear and crumbed Amish blue cheese salad.


Image of the Grilled Vegetable Panini
is also available in high-resolution.


Image of the Grilled Sustainable "North Country"
Ham and Parmesan-Swiss Cheese Panini
is also available in high-resolution.

For more information, please visit and 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Slow Food Chicago Offers Canning Workshop – 8.23 & 8.28

Reprinted with permission from

We’re not the only ones believing in eating local later. Our friends at Slow Food Chicago know how vital it is to put away good food for future eating. They also know that many lack the skills needed to preserve their seasonal bounty. Thus, they have organized a series of workshops to introduce people to the pleasures of canning–and believe us there is plenty of pleasure when you twist open your first jar of home canned tomatoes. We’ve heard that several people have already enrolled in their August classes. Learn how to be ready.

To teach your canning, Slow Food Chicago will offer two hands-on workshops this month, each focusing on the tomato at the Logan Square Kitchen (2333 N. Milwaukee Ave.). The classes will be led by Sam Radov, Pastry Chef at the Publican. The first workshop takes place August 23 from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., and the second workshop takes place August 28 from noon until 3:00 p.m. Classes include all tools and equipments. Guests may bring up to 10 lbs. of tomatoes from their own garden, their favorite farmer or have Slow Food Chicago procure their tomatoes ($20). All the tomatoes will get mixed together in one sustainable bucket of red love that will be parceled out to each participant. The price to attend is $45. To register for the class and purchase tomatoes, visit Space is limited, and several people have already signed up. Act now!

Slow Food Chicago will present canning workshops featuring apples in fall, citrus fruits in winter and rhubarb next spring. Eat local now and eat local later!