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Deborah Pankey

Food Editor
  • Phone(847) 427-4524
  • Emaildpankey@dailyherald.com
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As food editor since 1997, Deborah Pankey has seen readers' interest in all things culinary grow faster than butter burns in a hot skillet.

Pankey writes weekly about food news and trends that touch suburban readers, providing insightful commentary, helpful advice and approachable recipes. She has followed local cooks to the Pillsbury Bake-off and suburban chefs to the hallowed kitchen at the James Beard House in New York City. She has watched tiramisu go from a treat known only in fine Italian restaurants to the freezer cases at Trader Joe's, and chefs like Rick Bayless, Gale Gand and Mario Batali rise to mega-star status.

Pankey also edits popular Food columns including Cook of the Week, Lean & Lovin' it, Good Wine and Baking Secrets; under her watch, the Food section has earned top honors from the Illinois Press Association (2007) and the Association of Food Journalists (2003, 2006).

In her dual role as restaurant critic, Pankey keeps tabs on the ever-evolving restaurant scene. Her monthly restaurant reviews offer readers a taste of ethnic gems, mom-and-pop eateries and bustling bistros throughout the collar counties.

Interestingly, her first restaurant review (Barn of Barrington) appeared during her junior year at Palatine High School, though she never gave critical writing a second thought as a journalism major at the University of Illinois in Urbana. She went right from the student newspaper at U of I to the Daily Herald's DuPage bureau where she covered the police beat and all aspects of local government before joining the Features staff.

Today, she lives in Palatine with her husband and two boys. Her guilty pleasures include Elburn honey, home-grown strawberries, butternut squash soup from Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights and Moon Man Pale Ale from New Glarus, Wis. Be her friend on Facebook at Deb Pankey Daily Herald or follow her on Twitter at Pankey's Plate.

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From the Food Editor: College cuisine from food service and beyond

Aug 20 2014 | 11:13 am - Food editor Deborah Pankey didn't think the dorm food at University of Illinois was half bad, but granted that was a few decades ago before she developed a food critic's palette. Still, she was surprised that her alma mater didn't land on The Daily...

Veggie Fest draws plant-strong throngs to Naperville

Aug 09 2014 | 6:59 pm - Billowy shirts, yoga pants and hiking sandals were in fashion Saturday as crowds visited vendors, noshed on falafel and learned about meatless meals at Veggie Fest in Naperville. Now in its ninth year, Veggie Fest, which continues 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Caravello wins Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent competition

Aug 09 2014 | 9:06 pm - After wowing the crowd with his rendition of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” and wowing the judges with his musical evolution over the past several weeks, Dennis Caravello of Mount Prospect was named the winner of...

Pastry chef Gand headed to Chicago’s Chefs Hall of Fame

Aug 07 2014 | 2:37 pm - Dessert diva Gale Gand, of Riverwoods, is among five restaurant professionals who will be inducted into the Chicago Hall of Fame this year. Gand, will be joined by chefs Stephanie Izard and Michael Kormick and restaurateurs Phil Stephani and...

Five steps to great fried chicken

Jul 30 2014 | 6:13 am - When it comes to summer picnics, fried chicken frequently finds itself on the table. It's one of those foods that tastes great hot, and maybe even better cold, so as long as food safety rules are followed, it's a great option for forest preserve...

From the food editor: Catching up with suburban chef-testants

Jul 29 2014 | 11:47 am - Want to know what some of our local reality TV stars have been up to lately? Brian Emmett, winner of "The American Baking Competition" tells Food Editor Deborah Pankey his book is due out next spring. And chef Paul Caravelli, a former Libertyville...

Elmhurst's Zenwich achieves culinary yin and yang

Jul 29 2014 | 2:21 pm - Can a sandwich change your life? If it's from Zenwich in Elmhurst, then critic Deborah Pankey thinks it can. She says the Asian-leaning hoagies she enjoyed during a recent lunchtime visit altered her sandwich reality. And the owners' commitment to...

Deadline extended for Cook of the Week Challenge applications

Jul 22 2014 | 2:12 pm - On the fence about entering the 2014 Cook of the Week Challenge? We've extended the deadline to midnight Monday, July 28, so you have the weekend to think it over. Maybe joining Food Editor Deborah Pankey at the Bull Burger Battle Saturday in Carol...

From the food editor: Celebrating farmed food and famed chefs

Jul 15 2014 | 7:09 am - “The Green City Market Cookbook” celebrates the farmers, the food, the chefs and shoppers who have flocked to Green City Market for organic, sustainable and locally sourced produce since 1998.

Civil War camp food? Beer camp? Must be summer

Jul 07 2014 | 4:50 pm - Grab your mess kit and canteen and head off to camp with Food Editor Deobrah Pankey. First stop is Civil War Days in Wauconda this weekend where you can judge camp cuisine created by re-enactors. Then head into Chicago for Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp...

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