Matt Zagorski has done it again. The Arlington Heights chef baked the second best fruit pie in the country, according to judges at the National Pie Championship in April.
His Blueberry Buckle Pie -- fresh berries folded into a creamy layer and topped with even more ripe berries all tucked into a graham cracker crust -- took second in the fruit/berry category behind Razzle Dazzye Raspberry Cheese Pie baked by a Florida woman.
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Matt, a professional chef and self-taught pie baker, has been competing since 2008 and has brought home a bushel of ribbons over the years. Last year his Life is a Pie Full of Cherries won the coveted cherry pie category.
The entire list of winning pies in the amateur, professional and commercial categories, along with many of the recipes, is available at piecouncil.org.
Yet Matt isn't just about pies.
On Friday, June 28, he'll demonstrate recipes using a pressure cooker at Marcel's Culinary Experience in Glen Ellyn. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. he'll show guests how to make risotto in seven minutes and cheesecake in 30 minutes using a pressure cooker. The pressurized pot allows cooks to create healthful meals in 70 percent less time than conventional cooking methods.
I consider my pressure cooker a great tool for summer meals because I can get dinner on and get back into the sunshine in less time than it takes to preheat your oven (well, almost).
This is a free demo, so head on down to Marcel's, 490 N. Main St.
Beyond beer and brats: What do Ojibwe wild rice and arugula pesto pasta have in common? They're both part of Wisconsin's culinary heritage which you can learn more about during a Saturday talk with noted Wisconsin food writer Terese Allen.
Allen, who has written scores of articles and books about Wisconsin's food traditions and culinary culture, will appear from 10 a.m. to noon June 15 at Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts, 900 N. North Branch St., Chicago.
Allen will touch on the stories (and recipes) behind such diverse food stuffs as cream puffs, Hmong egg rolls and Friday night fish fries. Besides being a writer, Allen is president and a founding member of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW) and past president of REAP Food Group, a cutting-edge food and sustainability organization in southern Wisconsin.
The lecture program costs $3. To reserve, please email your reservation to: ChicagoFoodwaysRoundtable@gmail.com.
Momma at the market: Meet Johanna Cook, the suburban mom who created the Momma Cuisine brand, as she demonstrates recipes at area farmers markets through the summer.
Cook, a mother of three, aims to create great meals with simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques. She will share recipes and cooking tips with visitors to the Geneva Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 16. The Geneva market is held in the Metra parking lot at South and Fourth streets.
On Aug. 3, she'll be joined by chef Rick Gresh of David Burke's Primehouse in Chicago from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Vernon Hills market in the Metra lot on Route 45. In each instance a cooking demonstration will begin at 10 a.m.
Cook's appearances are sponsored by Buick, Kenmore, NessAlla Kombucha, Tagkast and Scene Chicago. While you're visiting her at the market you can register to win a free, one-week loan of a Buick vehicle.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend on Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter @PankeysPlate.