WBEZ | chefs http://www.wbez.org/tags/chefs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Underground Korean-French dinner serves up mystery and music http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 <p><p>In mid-December I returned from vacation to find a handmade Christmas tree and card inviting me to dinner in a private suburban home hosted by &ldquo;a crazy hair stylist, a crazy dancer and crazy French Cuisine cooker.&rdquo;</p><p>It was from a man named David Cho, whom I interviewed more than 15 years ago about his nascent karaoke booth business.&nbsp; My first thought was, &ldquo;no way.&rdquo; But I figured I should at least call and decline. By the end of the call with Mr Cho, however, I told him I would go as long as my bosses OK&rsquo;d it, and I could pay for the meal.</p><p>When I told my friends on Facebook that I&rsquo;d been dining in the in the Northwest suburbs, Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel wrote back, &ldquo;10 minutes from the airport. You&#39;ll be over international waters before we know you&#39;re missing.&rdquo;</p><p>Sure, it was a risk but one I felt we are all too ready to avoid when it comes to meeting new people and checking out the workd of unknown culinary artists. Right? I invited my mom and 11-year-old daughter, to make sure I wasn&rsquo;t captured alone.</p><blockquote><p><a href="https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/109616767565/SaAaSRvg" target="_blank"><strong>Photos from Monica&#39;s 10-course meal</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>When we finally arrived, Mr. Cho met us in the parking lot of the very old condo complex. He led us up some stairs to a guy who looked like a Korean Harpo Marx dressed as a chef.&nbsp; As we entered the dining room/living room of his tiny place we found an elaborately decorated table, pink placemats, crystal. Loud French bistro music poured from the giant TV all night.</p><p>Hello Kitty, My Little Pony and other dolls filled the nearby shelves along with several more homemade Christmas trees. Other souvenirs included tiny chef dolls, Eiffel Tower replicas and pictures from chef James Hahn&rsquo;s many hair styling exhibitions.</p><p>I joined the other guests at the table and Hahn disappeared into the kitchen.</p><p>Within minutes, the first course was on the table. It was a purplish salad that Hahn said reflected his time in Nice, France.</p><p>Cho explained that Hahn was in Paris studying hairdressing when he first became fascinated with cooking. He said Hahn learned as much as he could about French food before returning to Korea to become a famous hairstylist. It has only been since his arrival in the States that he&rsquo;s started cooking for groups.&nbsp;</p><p>Hahn has hosted about 10 of these dinners, spending weeks planning and preparing the meals. Guests are invited from the from the ranks of Hahn&#39;s favorite customers at Gloria Hair Art beauty salon in Niles. They often donate money at the end of the meal to help cover food expenses. Hahn works completely alone, as prep cook, chef and server.</p><p>&ldquo;This is his secondary job or like a hobby,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;So I don&rsquo;t know how many times he&rsquo;s going to do this in the future, making a 10-course meal by himself. He needs a lot of energy. So maybe he&rsquo;ll do two or three times more. As far as I know he&rsquo;s more than 40-years-old. I don&rsquo;t know how much more energy he&rsquo;s got left. Last time I was here he was even sweating a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though I knew the meal would be a multi-course affair, I hadn&rsquo;t expected it to be so elaborate. By the 6th course of fried lobster in an apple garlic sauce I was ready to pop. But there was still steak, abalone, sashimi and dessert to come. (see full course list below)</p><p>As the meal progressed, I started to understand Hahn&rsquo;s prominence in the Korean community--if not exactly why I was called here tonight.</p><p>It seems that he had become a sort of dancing, hairdresser celebrity in Korea, appearing on talk shows and styling the hair of the stars.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s recognized as No. 1 hairstylist in the Korean community,&rdquo; Cho said, &ldquo;And he wants to be known for all of the United States. He is especially known for giving crazy haircuts in 10 minutes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Can he give me a crazy haircut?&rdquo; I asked.</p><p>&ldquo;He can do whatever you want in 10 minutes,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;He doesn&rsquo;t take long hours.&rdquo;</p><p>We finally finished the meal with a refreshing dragon fruit salad, and Cho announced that it was time to watch videos. These included Hahn&#39;s appearances on Korean talk shows, his dance performances and dancing haircutting acts. During some, his clients are even upside down. The final video showed him dancing and styling a red-haired client on stage at Chicago&rsquo;s Korean Festival on Bryn Mawr Avenue this past summer.</p><p>The clips from Korea showed elaborate headdresses that Hahn had created from his clients&#39; hair trimmings.&nbsp; Some took a year to produce. They have to be seen to be believed.</p><p>It was nearing midnight and my daughter was getting sleepy. So we left our donation, offered our deep thanks and we said our goodbyes. Despite my initial apprehension, it turned out that all Cho and Hahn wanted was to share their passion for food with a fellow foodie. And everyone left the experience alive.</p><p>As I told my daughter on the way out: this may have been a slightly risky move, but if you pass up every crazy invitation you get, you just may miss out on some magical experiences.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/16202028940_84a71beaeb_z.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Course eight: Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p><strong>Full 10 course menu</strong></p><ol><li>Ten-vegetable salad in the style of Nice, France. (pineapple jam)</li><li>Kemasal soup featuring a seafood broth, broccoli florets and shredded crab</li><li>Roasted burdock over bok choy, ginger and scallions.</li><li>Scallops in a cauliflower puree</li><li>Boiled shrimp and lobster tail in a pink sauce.</li><li>Fried lobster in an apple sauce showered in garlic chips. A slice of smoked salmon in a pink horseradish sauce on the side.</li><li>Steamed whole abalone served in the shell with mushrooms and accompanied by a piece of rolled grilled prosciutto.</li><li>Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens.Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Dragon fruit, pineapple, persimmon, candied citrus and grapefruit salad.</li></ol><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 New service brings chefs into diners’ homes http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-service-brings-chefs-diners%E2%80%99-homes-108030 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/hotinthekitchen(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-1d6a44c3-cee8-02f0-972d-8c829a342bf2">A new online service will allow Chicagoans to hire local chefs to prepare a meal in their kitchen.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago branch of <a href="http://www.kitchensurfing.com/chicago">Kitchensurfing</a> recently launched its website, which offers a list of 47 chefs who will pick up the groceries, cook a meal of the diner&rsquo;s choice and even clean up.</p><p dir="ltr">The company joins a growing number of businesses in Chicago that bring chefs to unusual places, from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/dolinsky/2010/01/are-you-on-the-guest-list-underground-dinners-gain-foothold-in-chicago/11822">underground supper clubs</a> to companies that offer similar services such as weekly meals made in the diner&rsquo;s home. Some offer in-home cooking lessons.</p><p dir="ltr">Kitchensurfing&rsquo;s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Chris Muscarella said his business &nbsp;started in New York and expects to do well in Chicago&rsquo;s foodie culture.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;People entertain more at home here than they do in a place like they do in New York, where people have smaller spaces,&rdquo; Muscarella said. &ldquo;But they also really enjoy dining and food (as) witnessed by the burgeoning restaurant scene in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Muscarella said the company plans to add more chefs to its roster.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-service-brings-chefs-diners%E2%80%99-homes-108030 Chicago chefs on the move http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/chicago-chefs-move <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//bryan_enyart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="482" width="400" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-12/Bryan Enyart.jpg" title="Bryan Enyart" alt="" /></p><p>January is supposed to be the slowest time of the year in the restaurant business, but from the number of chef moves recently, it's turning out to be a great time to put in your two weeks' notice.</p><p>As Kevin Pang reported yesterday in <a href="http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/thestew/2011/01/brian-enyart-leaving-topolobampo-rick-bayless-empire.html">The Stew</a>, <a href="http://www.rickbayless.com/about/">Rick Bayless</a>' right hand man - <a href="http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/staff.html">Brian Enyart</a> - announced he'll be leaving <a href="http://www.fronterakitchens.com/restaurants/restaurants.html">Topolobampo</a> this Spring. &nbsp;Enyart, 33, (pictured above) started at <a href="http://www.fronterakitchens.com/restaurants/restaurants.html">Frontera Grill/Topolo</a> as a pastry chef in 1997, then moved through the ranks and into the Chef de Cuisine position in 2007.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="600" width="400" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-12/Chris curren.jpg" title="Chris Curren" alt="" /></p><p>Same day, different chef. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.blue13chicago.com/">Blu 13's</a> <a href="http://www.elatechicago.com/chrisCurren.html">Chris Curren</a>&nbsp;(pictured, above) will now wear two hats: one will be as Executive Chef at <a href="http://www.elatechicago.com">Elate</a>, inside the Hotel Felix; the other will remain at Blu 13, where he'll oversee the menu. No word on whether the former's rock &amp; roll vibe will be shifted over to the latter, but the tired menu at Elate could use some new life.</p><p>And now that <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago.../Three-Questions-for-Todd-Stein-of-The- Florentine/">Todd Stein</a> has settled into his new role over <a href="http://www.jwmarriottchicago.com/Chicago-Restaurants/The-Florentine-24.html">The Florentine</a>, taking his squid ink pasta with him to the new JW Marriot, <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Radar/Dish/.../The-New-Chef-at-Cibo-Matto/">Evan Percoco</a> takes over the helm at <a href="http://www.thewithotel.com/the-attractions/cibo-matto.cfm">Cibo Matto</a> inside the Wit (what is it with the high-profile hotel restaurants lack of continuity? Kind of makes you wonder how <a href="http://www.starchefs.com/features/women/html/bio_stegner.shtml">Sarah Stegner</a> was able to do it all at <a href="http://www.fourseasons.com/chicagorc/dining/">The Dining Room</a> at the Ritz for 20 years).</p><p>So much for a slow January...</p></p> Wed, 12 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/chicago-chefs-move Need A New Kitchen? Casting call wants you! http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/need-new-kitchen-casting-call-wants-you <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="468" width="350" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//corner-of-the-kitchen-fooferkitten-flickr.jpg" class="size-full wp-image-19099" /> <br /><em>Photo by Fooferkitten via Flickr</em></p><p>A colleague of mine is working on a new series for A &amp; E, part cooking and part design-related. Here's the show in a nutshell: they're going&sbquo;&nbsp;to surprise a frustrated gourmet - someone who has a&sbquo;&nbsp;real&sbquo;&nbsp;passion for cooking but is trapped in an&sbquo;&nbsp;awful&sbquo;&nbsp;kitchen - with a brand new one. There are a couple of other surprises along the way - which&sbquo;&nbsp;they can't divulge - that will make it a real treat for a true foodie/amateur gourmet. They are currently booking 6 episodes, one of which will be shot in Chicago.</p><p>Here's the official casting call: </p><p><strong>CASTING NEW KITCHEN MAKEOVER SHOW - FREE KITCHEN!</strong> </p><p>Do you have a friend or loved one who has a real passion for all things food -eating, restaurants, chefs, and especially cooking - but is trapped in an outdated, nonfunctional and really ugly kitchen? Now's your chance to nominate him/her to receive a kitchen worthy of a gourmet chef for free! We are currently casting dynamic homeowners who <em>love </em>to cook but are in <em>desperate </em>need of a completely new kitchen. We're also looking for you...our accomplice in this mission. If selected, you would help our team install a state-of-the-art kitchen for the frustrated foodie in your life. If you're interested in nominating a cook and being a part of our exciting new show, please email us the following information:</p><ol> <li>Your name, address, phone number, occupation, age and relationship to nominee</li> <li>Your nominee's name, address, occupation and age</li> <li>Photo of you (2 pictures max)</li> <li>Photo of nominee (2 pictures max)</li> <li>Photos of the nominee's kitchen (3 pictures max)</li> <li>Tell us why you are nominating this person.&sbquo;&nbsp; We want to hear about his/her love of cooking - favorite type of food to cook, favorite restaurants, favorite chefs - and what she/he doesn't like about their current kitchen.&sbquo;&nbsp; The more personality/detail the better!</li> </ol><p>Only submissions including all of the above will be considered. Our email address is kitchenmakeovershow@gmail.com. We will be shooting in NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Haven, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Be sure to put the name of your CITY in the subject line. </p><p>ACT NOW. We're casting the series IMMEDIATELY! </p><p>So good luck, and hey, if you or your friend get the new kitchen, you have to invite me over for the premiere dinner!</p></p> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 10:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/need-new-kitchen-casting-call-wants-you