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Flora Lazar
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Blog Entries by Flora Lazar

Pastry Outside of Paris: Museum and 'Mets' in Metz

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2011 | 10:22 AM

Quiche Lorraine has occupied such a prominent place in France's culinary contribution to modern American cuisine that we sometimes forget where it comes from. This brunch staple does not originate in any of France's more touristed regions -- the crisp-aired Alps or the sun-soaked south -- but in the drab...

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Chicago Public Health Destroys Local Fruit

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2010 | 2:31 PM

Two big reasons Chicago has a vibrant food culture are the Green City Market and shared-use kitchens like Kitchen Chicago, which permit small culinary businesses to get started in a commercially-licensed facility. Some of the Green City's Market's most beloved purveyors, such as Floriole and Hoosier Mama, started out at...

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Finally -- Locavore Candy at the Farmers Market

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2009 | 1:15 PM

Farmers markets with strict local and sustainable ingredient rules can be tough on even the most ardent of locavore confectioners. Chocolate is verboten and local nut options are extremely limited, especially if you're in the Midwest. What does a French-inspired chocolatier make for a tightly-regulated farmers market such as

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For Chocolates, I'll Still Take France

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2009 | 3:44 PM

Not long ago The Daily Candy wrote a piece about my chocolates entitled "Forget Paris." Having spent two years on a film, Kings of Pastry for which I was treated to (or endured, depending on your stamina) the confections of French chocolatiers with the coveted title of "Best...

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4 Big Myths About Jam-Making

(3) Comments | Posted July 29, 2009 | 4:55 PM

Farmers markets around the country are screaming with color right now and magazines are full of recipes for preserving. But many habitues of these markets demur at the prospect of making their own fruit preserves. It may be the 10-quart pot of boiling water or the terrifying images of spoilage...

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Hardest Reservation in Paris: New Trier Grad's Restaurant

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2009 | 5:05 PM

The high priests of French gastronomy may not have been convinced that American chefs have arrived, but the market itself has spoken. Despite the limited success of American chefs on France's competition circuit, where gastronomic legends such as Paul Bocuse have focused on showcasing American cooking talent, it's the impossible...

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Ecole Boulud: On the Job Training for James Beard's Rising Star

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2009 | 3:37 PM

When the lion of French cuisine Paul Bocuse decided that the quality of American gastronomy was not adequately showcased in the eponymous bi-annual Bocuse D'Or cooking competition, arguably the world's most prestigious, he picked up the phone and called New York restauranteur Daniel Boulud. If anyone was up to...

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American Cheese Mongers: the New Curds on the Block

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2009 | 2:00 PM

The trans-Atlantic phone lines were buzzing this year between the traditional bastions of high gastronomy in France and their up-and-coming counterparts in the U.S.. First it was the call from Paul Bocuse asking the New York-based Daniel Boulud and the California-based Thomas Keller to help field a team for the...

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Gaston Lenotre, "God of Desserts," Dies at 88

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2009 | 12:37 PM

I always wanted to be a French pastry chef, long before I went to pastry school at age 50. As a teenager, I taught myself to bake with the aid of a single orange book by a French pastry chef who seemed obscure to me at the time. Little did...

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The Tomato, the Banker, and the Alderman

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2008 | 7:24 PM

Several years ago, a local real estate developer approached Chicago political legend Leon Despres and asked to honor him by naming a building after him. Worried about the possible fallout should problems crop up in the building, the former alderman and civil rights activist politely declined. But when a South...

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Best Roast Chicken in Chicago: Confessions of a Cholesterol Counter

(3) Comments | Posted October 3, 2008 | 5:26 PM

I am the stick in the mud when I try a new restaurant. While friends busily pore over a new menu trying to make sense of inventive flavor combinations or exotic ingredients - and let's face it, this has gotten to be a far bigger task than it ever was...

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Boulud and Keller: What it Takes for American Chefs to Compete in France

(3) Comments | Posted September 30, 2008 | 6:33 PM

While many of Chicago's leading chefs gathered this past weekend in Millennium Park to inaugurate Chicago's gourmet food and wine festival, restaurateur Charlie Trotter headed south to Orlando to help support another fledgling effort. Summoned earlier this year by the son of legendary French chef Paul Bocuse, Trotter's colleagues...

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What Do Bob Dylan, Bill Clinton, and French Cream Puffs Have in Common?

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2008 | 2:49 PM

No one has probably compared Chicago pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer to composer Igor Stravinksy, former President Bill Clinton, or rock star Bob Dylan. But a small group of Chicagoans this week found out what they all have in common, at least according to legendary film makers D.A. Pennebaker...

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Corn Porn: Learning to Love Smut

(1) Comments | Posted September 17, 2008 | 10:54 AM

If corn is king, as author Michael Pollan has told us in his popular Omnivore's Dilemma, then chef-turned-farmer Tracey Vowell is engaged in regicide. Ever since she left Rick Bayless' Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolabompo, where she was managing chef, Vowell has been "hijacking corn, a singular act...

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The Queen of Confitures

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2008 | 11:13 AM

Pastry chefs are not generally regarded as the muses of the culinary world. We're supposed to add grace notes to a meal, but the big thinking is supposed to come from the savory side of the house. Except, as I discovered recently, for a few like French pastry chef Christine...

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Chicagoan Delivers Gold at Pastry Olympics

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2008 | 10:30 AM

If Chicago pastry lovers wonder why they brave the impossible parking situation to satisfy their sweet cravings at Dimitri Fayard's Lincoln Park pastry shop Vanille, it's probably because they suspected what an international panel of pastry chefs just confirmed at the recently concluded World Pastry Championship: this guy is...

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Top Chef Chicago Love Fest

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2008 | 8:50 AM

Just when it began to look as if cable television's top rated food show had vanished from the streets of Chicago, Top Chef is wheeling a 48-foot semi-trailer with a full kitchen to the city that hosted its fourth and most recent season. I confess, as someone who has...

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A Chicagoan Takes on Pastry Olympics

(3) Comments | Posted August 29, 2008 | 7:05 PM

Most weekdays Dimitri Fayard arrives by 7 am at Vanille, his small French pastry shop in Lincoln Park. By 8:30 am, when his delivery truck leaves, he has to have tea pastries for the Drake Hotel ready to go. And by 10 am, when Fayard finishes filling his display...

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El Bulli Chicago-Style

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2008 | 9:10 AM

If you've tried unsuccessfully to get a reservation at Spain's legendary El Bulli restaurant, dubbed by list makers as the best restaurant in the world, you're probably not alone. (It's only open six months a year.)

Now, however, you can stay in Chicago and still get a great...

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Remembering Food Revolutionary Abby Mandel

(4) Comments | Posted August 14, 2008 | 1:45 PM

Every week some 4,500 people amble through Chicago's Green City Market, some in search of a particularly pungent bunch of arugula, others simply admiring the cornucopia of fresh farm products available in the heart of Lincoln Park, and many just seeking a green refuge, with healthy snack potential and...

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