Friday, September 25, 2015

Learn About Chicago’s Green City Market Sept. 27 at the Stevenson Center on Democracy

Green City Market board member Elizabeth Richter will share the inspiring story and mission of the Green City Market this Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. at The Stevenson Center on Democracy (25200 N. St. Mary’s Rd. Lake Forest, IL 60045). 

Richter will discuss the contribution the Green City Market and its vendors make to ensure Chicagoans access to local, sustainable food. Tickets are $15 for the general public and free for students that register online using their school email. Make your reservation today at Copies of the Green City Market Cookbook will be available to purchase or may be purchased on line here.

The Green City Market was founded with a plan to provide a marketplace for purchasing
sustainably grown food that educates, promotes, and connects farmers and local producers directly to chefs, restaurateurs and the greater Chicago community. In 2014 they launched the Green City Market Cookbook which includes more than 90 seasonal recipes from the local Chicago community of customers, volunteers, farmers and Chicago Chefs.

Chicago’s Green City Market has been named one of America’s Top 10 Farmer’s Markets by USA Today. It has come a long way since its humble beginnings 1998. The Market started as a handful of vendors in an alley next to the Chicago Theater and has since grown into the best and biggest farmers market in Chicago with more than 60 vendors and 175,000 visitors per year. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bittersweet Pastry Shop's Judy Contino Announces New Managing Partners

Chef Mindy Gohr and Esther Griego to assume management of Chicago landmark

Gohr and Griego will continue to serve Bittersweet's fiercely loyal customer base with their longstanding popular pastries while also introducing some new and exciting creations.
Judy Contino, 2015 James Beard Outstanding Baker Award nominee and founder of Bittersweet Pastry Shop, today announced the addition of new managing partners Mindy Gohr and Esther Griego. Gohr and Griego will assume the responsibility for all day-to-day operations at Bittersweet, while Contino will remain as a partner and guiding influence on the pastry shop.
"I couldn't be more excited to pass the torch to these two incredibly talented women," Contino said. "I am confident that with their enthusiasm and passion, Mindy and Esther will ensure that Bittersweet's quality and consistency endures for generations to come."
Mindy Gohr began her career at Bittersweet in 2005 under Contino's tutelage, and has been the pastry chef since 2011. Known for her distinctive and unique cake designs, Gohr will continue to uphold the quality and long tradition of excellence for which the pastry shop is known. Esther Griego, who is Contino's niece, brings more than 12 years of experience in marketing, management and hospitality to the role. Griego will focus on enhancing Bittersweet's retail operations, expanding the pastry shop's cafe offerings, and developing the brand's regional and digital presence.
"I'm incredibly grateful for all that Judy has taught me over the past decade," Gohr said.  "She's helped to shape me as a chef, and I look forward to applying everything I've learned when creating new and delicious pastries for our patrons."
Bittersweet Pastry Shop has been a beloved institution in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood for nearly 25 years. Gohr and Griego will continue to serve Bittersweet's fiercely loyal customer base with their longstanding popular pastries while also introducing some new and exciting creations.
About Bittersweet Pastry ShopLocated at 1114 West Belmont Avenue, Bittersweet is Chicago's premier European-style pastry shop and cafe, serving extraordinary confections and custom-built cakes for every occasion. Founded by award-winning pastry chef Judy Contino in 1992, Bittersweet sets the standard for fine pastries in Chicago. Find us on Facebook.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Prairie Grass Cafe Aims to Promote Sustainable Fishing, One Fish Fry at a Time

Chef/Owners Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris of Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd.; Northbrook, IL; 847-205-4433) have introduced a delicious way of keeping a beloved Midwestern food tradition alive while doing something noteworthy for sustainability. Their just launched Prairie Grass Fish Fry lunch and dinner on Thursdays and Fridays will be a throwback to the weekly Fish Fry tradition, but with a sustainable and artisanal chef's touch.

Currently the Prairie Grass Fish Fry, priced at $28, will feature Batter Fried Wild Alaskan Black Cod with Fish Fry 300Potato Wedges, served with Peach and Corn Slaw. The menu will change weekly depending on fish availability and seasonality of ingredients, giving guests a good reason to return frequently. The black cod is pot caught in Petersburg, Alaska which is on the "green list" from Monterey Seafood Watch.

"George and I want to express our commitment to sustainable fishing while giving our lunch and dinner guests a special treat twice every week," said Stegner. "We know how much people on the North Shore love their Fish Fry, complete with potatoes and other goodies, so we're serving it on Thursdays and Fridays. The best news is that it's delicious. The second best news is that at Prairie Grass Cafe we're using only sustainable fish and fresh locally farmed ingredients when possible. It's a winner on several levels."

Why Raise Awareness about Sustainable Fishing?
"Our Fish Fry program can help raise awareness about sustainable fishing, and so it is something we're going to aggressively promote," said Stegner.

According to Oceana, the not-for-profit advocacy and research organization (, the primary trend to reverse is global overfishing, which is destroying the environment at a much higher rate than we once anticipated, and it is unsustainable. Overfishing occurs when the number of fish removed from their habitats is greater than their reproduction rate. This causes entire species of fish to die off, leading to drastic deterioration of our marine and, ultimately, our terrestrial ecosystems. Ocean acidification, caused by a range of industrial processes, is another major issue facing our marine habitats.

According to National Geographic, commercial fishing removes more than 170 billion pounds of wildlife from the sea each year. This rapid removal has caused 80% of the world's natural fisheries to be in a state of collapse. The three main fish used in fish fries are cod, haddock, and flounder. But overfishing of these mainstream commercial species during the past decade has resulted in a 95 percent drop in these populations.

"That's why Prairie Grass Cafe is using Wild Alaskan Black Cod," said Bumbaris. "It is one species that is not being overfished. We will continue to use sustainably fished species as our Fish Fry program continues."
Stegner and Bumbaris are active supporters of the Right Bite, the Shedd Aquarium's conservation program. The program's goal is to promote the consumption of responsibly and sustainably sourced fish so that our marine ecosystems, including the Great Lakes, remain sound. Many people, roughly 36 million in the U.S. and Canada, depend on the Great Lakes for food, home, livelihood, and clean drinking water.
The world's global marine ecosystems are also at major risk. The United States is the world's second largest seafood market and more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is caught or processed overseas. Scientists have determined that if we continue to overfish our oceans and fresh water sources, there will be no seafood left by the year 2048. We need to choose sustainable seafood options to promote healthier ecosystems and protect marine life.

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