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updated: 9/17/2013 12:08 PM

Baking contest update and Signature Room anniversary

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  • Rack of Lamb with Parmigiano-Reggiano Panna Cotta and Roasted Root Vegetables with Mint Pesto is one of the dishes chef Rosalia Barron, chef at The Signature Room, will prepare next month at the James Beard House in New York City.

      Rack of Lamb with Parmigiano-Reggiano Panna Cotta and Roasted Root Vegetables with Mint Pesto is one of the dishes chef Rosalia Barron, chef at The Signature Room, will prepare next month at the James Beard House in New York City.
    Courtesy of The Signature Room

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  • Julia Child played by Karen Janes Woditsch, left and her collaborator Simone Simca Beck played by Jeannie Affelder, have passionate debates about the recipes they will include in their new cookbook in TimeLine Theatre's "To Master the Art" playing now at Broadway Playhouse in Chicago.

      Julia Child played by Karen Janes Woditsch, left and her collaborator Simone Simca Beck played by Jeannie Affelder, have passionate debates about the recipes they will include in their new cookbook in TimeLine Theatre's "To Master the Art" playing now at Broadway Playhouse in Chicago.
    Courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

 
 

Worried about having to submit a photo when you enter our Home Baking Challenge? Well don't be any more.

Even in this age of camera phones, we realized that not everyone has the ability to photograph baked goods and upload photos, so we've erased the photo requirement from the entry form.

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So if you want to enter to win an opportunity to represent the suburbs at America's Baking and Sweet Show Nov. 15-17 at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center, here's what you need to do:

Between now and Oct. 9, head to dailyherald.com/contest/baking and enter your best recipes in the following categories: bread pudding, butter tarts, carrot muffins, Christmas fruit cake, coconut macaroons, lemon pound cake, marble Bundt cake, oatmeal cookies, peanut brittle and pecan pie. You can enter multiple categories.

Baking experts will review the recipes and invite the bakers of the top three recipes in each of the categories to present their treats to a panel of judges Nov. 7 during our Home Baking Event at Novak and Parker in Mount Prospect. Recipes will be evaluated on taste, creativity, appearance and texture. The top recipe in each category will then compete for $1,200 at America's Baking and Sweets Show.

Artful conversations: Some of Chicago's top chefs will lead a series of discussions following Wednesday performances of "To Master the Art," the William Brown and Doug Frew production that follows the adventures and romance of culinary icon Julia Child.

Dominique Tougne, executive chef and owner of Chez Moi, leads things off Wednesday, Sept. 18. The q-and-a immediately follows the show, running at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St. Tougne and the other chefs will share stories from their own experiences and talk about how Julia Child inspired them in the food industry.

Didier Durand, owner of Cyrano's Farm Kitchen, is on deck for Sept. 25, followed by John Asbaty of Panozzo's Italian Market on Oct. 2, Martial Noguier, owner of Bistronomic, on Oct. 9, and George and Christina Lemperis, owner and manager of The Palace Grill, on Oct. 16.

The show runs Tuesday to Sunday through Oct. 20 and tickets cost $25 to $75. Get tickets at (800) 775-2000 or online at BroadwayInChicago.com.

If you're interested in attending the performance on Sunday, Sept 29, consider joining the folks at Marcel's Culinary Experience in Glen Ellyn.

The kitchen goods and gourmet store has planned a field trip for the 2 p.m. matinee performance. A bus will leave the shop at noon to take theatergoers downtown. Following the play the group will have dinner at nearby Bar Toma and return via bus to Marcel's. The package costs $125; that's an incredible deal for the play, transportation and dinner. Get tickets at MarcelsCulinaryExperience.com or by calling (630) 790-8500.

Signature celebration: I know it's tempting to always head to the newest, trendiest restaurant in the suburbs or Chicago when you're looking for a nice evening out. But don't overlook The Signature Room.

Perched atop the John Hancock building, The Signature Room has been creating memorable menus for 20 years. I celebrated a birthday there 19 years ago and I still remember the chocolate mousse tower I devoured for dessert as vividly as I do the views of the Chicago.

I dined there again this past summer, and the menu and the views are as stunning as ever.

Executive chef Rosalia Barron runs the kitchen these days and turns out seasonally focused cuisine so beautifully plated that you'll be snapping pictures of your plate instead of twilight fading over Navy Pier.

Chef Barron is about to enjoy a signature moment of her own: She's been invited to prepare dinner at the famed James Beard House in New York City next month. She will unveil her James Beard menu during a special dinner at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, in The Signature Room. The evening starts with hors d'oeuvres like Seared Foie Gras and Autumn Vegetables and progresses to a five-course dinner that includes Pink Snapper with Poached Pears and Parsnips in a Pear and Herb Sauce and Rack of Lamb with Parmigiano-Reggiano Panna Cotta. It wraps up with Chocolate Banana Coulant with a Coconut Caramel Wafer, Bananas Brulee and Coconut Banana Ice Cream. Dinner costs $95, inclusive. Reservations are required. (312) 280-0472.


• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at dpankey@dailyherald.com or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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