Deborah Pankey

Food Editor
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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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Crab now Henry-official; rangoon hits and scores

Mar 26 2015 | 6:30 am - The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth does NOT apply to introducing kids to new foods. Case in point: fried appetizers at a Chinese restaurant. Better to call them 'rangoon' than 'crab rangoon.'

Chef du Jour: Italian chef brings passion for pasta to the suburbs

Mar 24 2015 | 7:38 am - Chef Massimo Gaffo grew up in Rome making fresh pasta with his mom and grandmother. He studied culinary arts in Italy and worked with Michelin-starred chefs before moving to the United States. Today he shares his passion for pasta with diners at...

Springing forward into lighter meals

Mar 24 2015 | 7:27 am - Like fashion, food menus get stuck in that in-between stage come late March and early April. We want something warming for dinner, yet with summer approaching we don’t need rich creamy sauces or meaty stews. Some experts tell us how to lighten...

From the food editor: Social media-driven culinary mashup a delicious experiment

Mar 25 2015 | 3:27 pm - The folks at the National Pork Board were curious too what Americans were talking about (virtually speaking, of course) and wondered what makes up the ultimate American meal. So in conjunction with digital analytics from Crimson Hexagon's ForSight...

Check out these must-have items from the 2015 housewares show

Mar 18 2015 | 2:32 pm - Cast-iron grill pans, silicone bakeware, hydration solutions (aka water bottles), egg yolk separators, lunch bags, countertop multicookers, garlic gadgets and cocktail gizmos ... it was a cook's dream at the International Home and Housewares show in...

From the food editor: 2011 Cook of the Week updates Irish soda bread

Mar 10 2015 | 5:40 pm - As St. Patrick's Day approaches, Food Editor Deborah Pankey shares a recipe for an adults-only spiked mint shake and passes along an updated recipe for Irish soda bread from 2011 Cook of the Week Bridget McGuinness.

Cookie dough balls are fun to make, safe to eat

Mar 06 2015 | 5:03 pm - Today marks a changing of the guard — a passing of the pen and whisk, really — as Jerome Gabriel, now a high schooler more interested in computers and water polo than cooking, hands his Suburban Parent cooking column to his younger...

From the Food Editor: Smart shopping, cooking can reduce food waste

Mar 02 2015 | 2:30 pm - 1,160 pounds. That's the amount of food waste the average American family of four will produce this year. That's not a number Food Editor Deborah Pankey is proud of and it's a number she pledges to lower. And she has a new book to help: "The Kitchen...

Improved farming practices mean healthier fish, healthier environment

Mar 02 2015 | 5:32 pm - Americans consume 4.5 billions pounds of fish and seafood - and not all of it during Lent. With wild inventory limited, farmers step in to fill the gap. “With the population growing, we're going to need to turn to farm-raised fish,” said...

From the food editor: Aurora grocer collects recipes for second edition cookbook

Feb 23 2015 | 12:18 pm - Wondering how to make rabbit stew? Open up a copy of the newly minted second edition of “Prisco’s Family & Friends’ Cookbook.” The popular Aurora grocery store earlier this month released its new cookbook that features...

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