If corn is king, 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 of subversion" as she puts it.
Christine Ferber's widely-used moniker, the queen of jams, hardly describes her influence on contemporary gastronomy, especially on the Chicago culinary scene.
As we sat there, in the nearly empty dining room, housed in the stately and fabulously interesting old North Western Railway power plant, I couldn't help but wonder, what is it that makes one restaurant succeed and another fail?
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.
Well, maybe when I moved here from New York City in 1974, leaving a rent stabilized apartment on Central Park South, a job with the George Lang Corporation and the best friends and life imaginable.