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Articles filed under Cook of the Week

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  • Christina Hernandez of Elgin decorates butter cookies for customers of her FanCThatEvents cookie shop on

    Cook of the Week: Elgin lunch lady balances nutrition, treatsApr 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    As the manager of food services for an Elgin school district, Cook of the Week Christina Hernandez is responsible for more than 20,000 meals a day for children. Blame it on her job, but Christina is also very concerned about nutrition. “Working at the schools has really opened my eyes and has influenced me in my cooking at home." In her free time, this avid vegetable gardener also enjoys baking butter cookies and cakes for friends and family.

  • Marla Koentop of Batavia has been cooking gluten-free for nearly 20 years. She has reworked recipes so she doesn't have to forgo such favorites as Pennsylvania Dutch chicken potpie, pumpkin muffins and focaccia. See the recipe for focaccia at

    Cook of the Week: Mom reworks favorite recipes to fit gluten-free lifestyleApr 8, 2014 12:00 AM
    Eighteen years ago, before gluten was the buzz word it is now, Marla Koentop, of Batavia, felt awful and didn't know why. “A team of physicians couldn't figure out why I felt so terrible. Then one of them suggested I go on a special diet. ... I cried for two days. I had two little girls at home and the only alternative flour I could find was at the health store and it was really expensive! But, when you have to, you roll up your sleeves and get busy!”

  • High school senior Melissa Cherry knows it's never too early, or too late, to pickup healthy eating habits. Her tater tots are infused with flaxseeds to boost their nutritional profile.

    Cook of the Week: Kaneland senior shares healthy teen-friendly recipesApr 1, 2014 12:00 AM
    Cook of the Week Melissa Cherry has made it her passion to make healthier versions of favorite foods — from stuffed peppers to macaroni and cheese — that still satisfy. “Eating healthy can be intimidating because you'll think I'll only be able to have a smoothie for breakfast, eat a salad for lunch and have a piece of broccoli for dinner. People think it's restrictive,” she said.

  • Christine Crabtree shows off a fresh batch of her orange dream cookies in her Winfield kitchen.

    Cook of the Week: Winfield mom follows Greek genes to feed peopleMar 25, 2014 12:00 AM
    Chris Crabtree was raised in a home where cooking was an enthusiastic pursuit of her Greek father and grandmother, but she didn’t really start to enjoy cooking until she got married. “Cooking was something my husband and I enjoyed doing together — and still do, 26 years later.”

  • Not content to sit around in retirement, Marie DeMar enrolled in culinary classes at Harper College. She said the program helped formalize the techniques she learned from her mother.

    Cook of the Week: Retiree returns to school to perfect culinary skillsMar 18, 2014 12:00 AM
    After retiring from 32 years at Oakton Community College, Marie DeMar went back to school. Three years ago the Mount Prospect woman enrolled in the culinary program at Harper College in Palatine looking to perfect the skills she gained from many years of watching her mom, Rosemary, cook.

  • Charles Kraft says he rediscovered what it means to bring family and friends together around the table.

    Cook of the Week: Cary dad rediscovers the joy of cookingMar 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    Charles Kraft, of Cary, admits he is something of a hybrid. “I'm half Italian and half German; it depends of what mood you catch me in as to how I behave … I can be a task master and the life of the party!” he laughs. It is this unique combination that drives his style of cooking. “I've got the German engineering side that needs to be efficient, but also the Italian side that thinks of cooking as art and a way to care for people. Everything I do is an exercise in creativity; the two sides are finally coming together — both the creative side and the analytical side.”

  • Todd Clement, left, and Ryan Cunningham show off their Sweet and Spicy Piggy Pearwich that earned them second place in their first Bacon Takedown in 2012.

    Cook of the Week: Buddies build culinary connections with baconMar 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Bacon’s delicious destiny extends beyond the breakfast table, as Todd Clement of Woodstock and Ryan Cunningham of Algonquin learned on the competition circuit. “I never thought much beyond cooking with bacon beyond making some spicy bacon,” said Todd. But then he heard about Hormel’s Bacon Takedown amatuer cooking competition and the wheels started turning. He and Ryan discovered just how versatile the salty meat can be while they worked up recipes for contest. Today they share their winning recipes.

  • Sharon Kennedy of Wauconda considers herself an everyday kind of cook, pulling recipes from newspapers, TV shows and her trusty Betty Crocker cookbooks.

    Cook of the Week: Former camp cook turns to Betty Crocker for recipes, adviceFeb 25, 2014 12:00 AM
    There was a time when Sharon Kennedy thought nothing of cooking for 150 people. For 11 years, she was the kitchen director for a Girl Scout day camp. Every summer, she planned meals for the girls and taught them to cook over an open fire. Now, she mainly cooks for herself and her husband in their Wauconda home.

  • Sushma Bhanot simmers red kidney beans for up to eight hours before adding them to her chili powder- and ginger-infused curry sauce.

    Cook of the Week: Barrington Hills woman fills kitchen with aromas, flavors of IndiaFeb 18, 2014 12:00 AM
    Sushma Bhanot learned to cook by watching her mother. “My mom put so much love into it and my mom cooked really good food so everyone appreciated her food. I like to cook like my mom,” the Barrington Hills woman recalled.

  • When she gets a taste for something sweet Judy Pauzuolis of Hoffman Estates makes a moist, lemony poundcake.

    Cook of the Week: Conventional to contemporary, she's got it coveredFeb 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    Despite the fact that her husband is a conventional meat and potatoes lover, Judy Pauzuolis of Hoffman Estates occasionally likes to stir up something a bit more contemporary. “I make all the staples like my mom used to make, just more current,” she says. Judy learned to cook old-fashioned, home-cooked meals like chili, spaghetti, meatloaf, corned beef and lots of potatoes at her mother's side. She says she shows her creativity in the side dishes, experimenting with roasting vegetables, or trying out new recipes from her collection.

  •  Tony Aiello of Elgin focuses his creative culinary juices on sauces, like the burgundy and balsamic reduction, at right, he makes for steak and pasta.

    Cook of the Week: Elgin dad hits the sauceFeb 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Growing up around an Italian table, Tony Aiello remembers his dad’s homemade sausage, fresh ravioli, gnocchi and his family’s special sauce. Tony thinks it was that sauce that has influenced his fascination to create the perfect sauce for each dish he puts on his own table.

  •  Theresa Zagnoli and her son, Joe, 10, mix spices for shrimp that will top their arugula salad.

    Cook of the Week: Banockburn mom incorporates Italian favorites into modern mealsJan 29, 2014 12:00 AM
    Living a block away from her Italian grandmother, Theresa Zagnoli remembers that whenever anyone came to visit the greeting was rarely, “how are you?” Rather visitors were more likely to hear, “What do you want to eat?” As the only grandchild in town, Theresa spent many hours with her grandmother in the kitchen, garden and cellar.

  •  It doesn’t matter if she’s cooking for 20 or 200, Patty Nicpon puts her heart into her meals. Patty shares her recipe for grilled pork and vegetables at

    Cook of the Week: Arlington Hts. mom shows her love for cooking by feeding othersJan 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Whether it’s feeding a group of her daughter’s college friends or a party of 20 neighbors, Patty Nicpon loves to entertain.“Whenever there is a chance to have a party, I guess I’m your girl,” the Arlington Heights mom says.

  •  Cook of the Week Challenge champion Dan Rich of Elgin is shown with vegetables from his garden. Rich will be on hand at a Daily Herald event to help demonstrate creative snacking ideas for Super Bowl parties.

    Learn to make super snacks for the Super BowlJan 16, 2014 12:00 AM
    What will you be eating while you sit on the couch in front of your wide screen TV on Super Bowl Sunday? Learn to move beyond the same old chips and dip and pick up some tips for creative snacking at Super Snacks for the Super Bowl, set for 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva.

  • It’s all about technique for Elliott Papineau. The Glen Ellyn dad lets technique and ingredients guide his meal planning.

    Cook of the Week: Practice makes perfect for Glen Ellyn analystJan 14, 2014 12:00 AM
    It may be because he is an equity analyst by profession, but Cook of the Week Elliott Papineau of Glen Ellyn, has a different approach to cooking. To Elliott, it is all about technique and the ratios, “Cooking and baking use a lot of math and science. Once you know the fundamentals it opens you up to something new,” he says.

  • Elizabeth Morgan, right, teaches cooking classes for adults with special needs, like her sister, Moira, through the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association.

    Cook of the Week: Sisters don't let disability get in the way of kitchen adventuresJan 7, 2014 12:00 AM
    Elizabeth Morgan loves making meals in the kitchen of her parents' Naperville home with her younger sister, Moira, at her side making the salad. “You have never had or seen a more perfect salad,” says Elizabeth. The sisters recently added the roles of teacher and student to their relationship. Elizabeth just wrapped her first session teaching Cooking 101, offered by the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. And Moira, 20, who has Down syndrome was among her students.

  • Anola Stowick and her granddaughters Allie Edwards, 7, and Madison Edwards, 10, holding chocolate raspberry torte and on the side stuffed cucumbers and campari tomatoes.

    Cook of the Week: Grandma continues baking tradition with new generationDec 31, 2013 12:00 AM
    Cook of the Week Anola Stowick remembers the joy she felt as a child baking alongside her mother and grandmother, learning how to make quick breads, cornbread, stovetop fudge and pie crusts. The Arlington Heights woman feels that same joy as she bakes with her own grandchildren. “Every surface in my kitchen from Thanksgiving until Christmas is covered with confectioner’s sugar,” Anola said.

  •  The kitchen of Laverne Hall’s Elk Grove Village home overflows with cookies this time of year. She creates lavish cookie trays to give to family and friends.

    Cook of the Week: Baker rolls through the holidays with thousands of cookiesDec 22, 2013 12:00 AM
    Holiday baking is becomes a full-time job for Laverne Hall. The Elk Grove Village woman makes 25 varieties of cookies with some 200 in each batch. “My mother would always bake cookies at Christmas. We grew up to be dough-eaters; we would eat the dough as fast as it came out of the cookie spritzer!” she laughs.

  • Melissa Wieland often returns to her parents’ South Barrington home to cook recipes she collected for a family cookbook.

    Cook of the Week: Collecting family recipes a delicious pursuit Dec 17, 2013 12:00 AM
    Melissa Wieland loves to cook with her family, whether they’re planning a buffet of appetizers or an Italian feast. And like many cooks, Melissa turns to her favorite cookbook. What makes this cookbook special is that it features recipes shared by her family members far and wide, and she compiled it herself. “It’s great to be able to cook these recipes and just to look through them with family,” said Melissa, a Barrington High School graduate now working as a nurse and living in Chicago.

  •  Cook of the Week Louis Margiotta of Streamwood shows off his raspberry pound cake and his pasta with chicken gravy.

    Cook of the Week: Octogenarian shares recipes, tips on social mediaDec 10, 2013 12:00 AM
    For Louis Margiotta of Streamwood, Facebook is just one way he shares his love for cooking. On his page you may find a photo of his latest, scrumptious cake, or a post about the merits of Italian cooking. But Louis does not spend a lot of time online because he’s usually in the kitchen.

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