During her rotations as a pastry chef in culinary school, Uzma Sharif caught the eye of her head chef by drizzling chocolate with the same technique she used to decorate hands with henna. “You’re going to be a great success with that someday,” he predicted. The roots of her talents as a chocolatier go back even deeper, however. In Pakistan, her pastry-chef grandfather was well known for his delicate pink macaroons, and her mother and seven aunts each inherited their father’s baking skills. In January 2011, Uzma followed in her family members' footsteps, founding her own shop to purvey her hand-crafted chocolate creations as Chocolat Uzma Sharif.
These confections brim with unexpected ingredients, such as candied rose petals, Kashmiri chai, and cardamom, or glow with floral colors, such as the pinks and blues on the ombre butterflies that are Uzma's current favorite. The chocolatier handpicks the ingredients that go into her sweet creations, choosing all-natural, organic options when possible. Focused on perfecting a small selection of goods, she makes her chocolates in small batches and packages them in eco-friendly boxes she’s designed herself.
During chocolate classes at her Pilsen kitchen, Uzma teaches students about the origins of raw chocolate and the science behind making a bar with the right sheen and snap. Uzma also shares methods for choosing good chocolate from store shelves, starting with deciphering the percentages on the label and asking it whether it’s been naughty or nice.
Before they were moms with six children between them, Simply Homemade owners Cindy and Stephanie were food-industry professionals, studying nutrition and food-product development. Now, they've combined both experiences to create a company that supplies healthy, handcrafted meals to busy families. Working off of a monthly menu of 22 entrees, the duo whips up mouthwatering pastas, burgers, and kebabs chock-full of whole grains, hand-trimmed chicken, and natural beef from Heartland Meats. Then, they either preassemble meals for customers to pick up or set up ingredients for customers to assemble themselves onsite. The latter option, which takes about two hours, makes it easier for customers to tailor dinners to a child's love of mushrooms or a dog's disdain for cilantro.
40 years ago, the initials heading C&D Towing stood for the Cicero & Devon Texaco gas and service station, founded by brothers Val and Joe Strumberger. Today they've come to stand for "Capable and Dependable," the values carried by the tow truck drivers who rescue cars and trucks of all sizes from a future spent trying fruitlessly to hitch a ride from passing semis. Along with gently rolling vehicles onto a fleet of handsome red trucks, C&D's technicians can protect and resuscitate them with services including jumpstarts, tire changes, seasonal safety checks, and electrical work.
The Chicago area's oldest school for home cooks & bakers, with multiple locations. Cooking with the Best Chefs also offers restaurant tours, wine dinners, mushroom hunts, monthly dinner club, day trips & culinary events. Demonstration & hands-on classes are taught by professional chefs. Many variety of dishes are taught.
The Academy's sage chefs coach aspiring cooks ages 4 to 14 through recipes that rotate weekly, covering entrees, sides, desserts, and a host of preparation and presentation techniques. Divided into KinderCooks classes for ages 4–6 (age 3 permitted with adult supervision) and Junior Chefs sessions for ages 7–14, each 90-minute lesson teaches kitchen safety and etiquette before burners are fired up, reminding kids to respect hot or sharp objects, each other, and the last will and testament of broccoli stalks. Students summon two dishes per session from various ingredients, with time set aside to taste their handiwork at the end. Offerings are seasonally themed around available ingredients and upcoming holidays, with September featuring a recipe for Roly Poly stromboli and October pairing jack-o-lantern quesadillas with sinister salsa and Halloween candy pie, which can be offered as a mask to one's least favorite friend.