Cooking with the Best Chefs moves to Basil Café

Due to overwhelming class participation, Cooking with the Best Chefs has relocated from Kiki B’s to Basil Café, 6500 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park.

Cooking with the Best Chefs owner Bill Lavery said demand for his company’s series of cooking classes was much greater than expected, and class sizes quickly outgrew accommodations at Kiki B’s.

Cooking with the Best Chefs is a touring company founded in 1995 that organizes series of cooking classes and wine dinners in Rockford, Mount Prospect, Kildeer and Wheaton. Individual series feature local chefs from the respective cities.

Lavery, of Roselle, launched the Rockford series Jan. 11, and was forced to move the series from Kiki B’s to Basil Café starting with the Feb. 22 class featuring chef-owner of The Huddle Restaurant Tom James.

Lavery said he wanted to make clear the change in venue was due strictly to space, and that Kiki B’s was an excellent location for the first six classes.

“My compliments to Kiki (Benson) and her husband, Paul, on running a fine operation and having consistently good food,” Lavery said of Kiki B’s.

The following two classes remain on the schedule for Cooking with the Best Chefs at Basil Café:

Wednesday, March 8, 7-9 p.m.—European Homestyle Cooking with Jason Kovanda, executive chef, University Club, Rockford. Escarole with Three Butters: hotel butter with herbs, sun-dried tomato butter and pesto butter; Sauteed Braciola, sliced sirloin with prosciutto, and fontina cheese rolled up and sauteed with tomatoes, green olives and pepperoncini; and Chicken Coq au Vin, boned chicken marinated in red wine, sauteed and served with pan sauce, new potatoes, and haricot vert, French beans.

Wednesday, March 22, 7-9 p.m.—Italian Pasta and Mushrooms with Manny Trejo, executive chef, Table 13, Rockford. Four-Mushroom Rissotto, aborio rice with shiitake, cremini and porcini mushrooms with white truffle oil; Tortellini Paesana, tortellini with prosciuto, peas, mushrooms and parmesan cream sauce; and Pollo Con Porcini, sauteed chicken breast and porcini mushrooms in a white wine and marsala sauce.

Classes are $35 for nonmembers, $25 for members, and registration is required at least seven days prior to events to 630/980-6800. Hands-on events are $80 for nonmembers, $65 for members. Annual registration to Cooking with the Best Chefs is $25 per household. Registration entitles members to discounted registration, admission to member-only events, and class and event schedules. A Cooking with the Best Chefs Membership & Discount Card is also provided. Those interested can also register online by PayPal at

For more information, contact Cooking with the Best Chefs at 630/980-6800, visit or contact Basil Café at 637-9590.

From the March 1-7, 2006, issue

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