Sweets: Desserts That Went to Market

April 5, 2008

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2008 conference

The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, building off the success of its inaugural event last fall, invited media, academics, members of the food and foodservice industry, students and food enthusiasts to come together for a day-long event, entitled: “Sweets: A Journey Through Midwestern Dessert Traditions,” a program about the history of sweets in the Midwest, including important dessert traditions that began in small towns and big cities here in the Midwest.

The second panel discussion of the afternoon, was all about deserts that go to market: Dobra Bielinski, titled her address "Delightful Pastries, Clash of cultures".  How does a French and American Chef create Polish pastries, breads and cakes?  What makes a Polish pastry, if ganache is on top is it still Polish?  Herb Fingerhut, of Kaufman's Deli and Bakery, discussed what a baker does in his late 40's when the family bakery closes: experiences that have brought him to the best time in his life! And lastly, Eleanor Hanson, former Kraft Kitchen director, spoke on "From Recipe Box to Grocery Shelf: The test kitchen and recipe contest origins and lore of iconic everyday desserts."

Dobra Bielinski is a graduate of University of Illinois at Chicago with a Masters in US Foreign Policy. She then went to culinary school to get a Pastry and Baking Degree as well as a Culinary Degree. Dobra has catered from 20 people to 5000.  She finally opened up her own pastry shop Delightful Pastries. She makes modern European and American pastries. Her products have been featured on WTTW, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader and Chicago Sun Times.

Herb Fingerhut is a 7th generation Master Baker (3 in Czech Republic, 4 in Chicago). Herb was practically born into a large multi-location retail baking family whose operations began at 18th & May in Chicago. Working for his family's business most of his life, Herb decided in his 30's to take a job as Director of Bakery Operations for Pizitz Bake Shops, a division of Pizitz Department Stores, in Birmingham Alabama. Three short years later due Herb's father's ill health he came back to the family business, which had changed drastically while he was gone. In January 2000, Herb's father closed the 105 year old business. Herb's regrouped and preparing to reopen a retail Fingerhut's in 2010 at the encouragement of his son, who also has baking in his blood. Meanwhile he has launched an internet business: www.fingerhutbakery.com.

Eleanor Hanson was with Kraft Foods for 17 years serving as Manager of Grocery Products and later as Director of their highly regarded Kraft Kitchens. Eleanor is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Les Dames d' Escoffier and recently published Learning to Cook in 1898: A Chicago Culinary Memoir. Eleanor is co-founder of FoodWatch specializing in trend identification and analysis. Ms. Hanson has an undergraduate degree in Foods & Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School.

 

Recorded Saturday, April 05, 2008 at Kendall College.