Best Chefs offer classes

Cooking with the Best Chefs, celebrating its 10th anniversary in the Chicago area, brought its culinary program to the Rockford area earlier this year, and has held cooking classes taught by some of the Rockford area’s best chefs. It’s moved from its Rockford location, to the Huddle Restaurant and Banquets, at 1100 N. State St., in nearby Belvidere.

Best Chefs Director Bill Lavery said: “We’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the greater Rockford area already this year, and moved after our third class due to insufficient size. We’ve since searched for a quality location we could call ‘home.’ Since The Huddle is only 10 minutes from Rockford’s Clock Tower, I’ve seen a positive reaction from our several hundred Rockford-area members. I’ve known the Huddles’ owner, Tom James, for a decade now, and feel very comfortable bringing our program to his restaurant and banquet facility. Tom has been one of our most popular chefs.”

Cooking with the Best Chefs is a culinary organization that has produced more than 4,200 cooking classes with more than 400 of the Chicago and Rockford area’s best chefs. The group also holds restaurant tours, wine dinners, mushroom hunts, attends food and wine festivals, and holds special events. Best Chefs will publish A Decade with the Chicago Area’s Best Chefs, a cookbook, which will benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Every three months, Best Chefs sponsors a new season of classes and events, which are open to the public. The current season will include three classes in September at The Huddle Restaurant and Banquets. Two of the classes are Wednesday evening classes, and one is a special Friday Late Night Cooking Class for Singles with a party afterward. A new season will begin in October.

Each class is two hours and taught by a different professional chef. Recipes and hearty samples of each dish are provided. All classes are open to the public with advanced registration. Register at least seven days in advance. Cost is $35 per person for the public and $25 for members. Annual membership is $25 per household. Call (630) 980-6800 for more information and to register, or log on to

What follows is a list of upcoming classes:

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7-9 p.m.—Fall Menu with Jason Kovanda, executive chef, University Club, Rockford: Wild Mushroom Risotto; Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Potato Chutney; and Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.

Friday, Sept. 29, 9-11 p.m.—Singles Event: Learning the Basics with Tom James, chef-owner, The Huddle, Belvidere: Learn knife skills and how to cook three various entrees and a side dish for family and friends. Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Penne Pasta; Blue Cheese Encrusted Flat Iron Beef Grill with garlic mashed potatoes; and Australian Orange Roughy, stuffed with fresh crab, cream cheese, basil, oregano and garlic. Singles 21 and older will receive name tags and are invited to stay after class for an 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. party with cash bar.

From the Sept. 6-12, 2006, issue

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