Summer cooking series set

Cooking with the Best Chefs, a culinary group open to the public, holds Rockford-area classes taught by some of the best chefs in the Rockford area, and are usually held alternate Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m.

This summer season, however, Best Chefs is introducing Friday late-night classes for singles, 21 years of age and older. Advance registration is required, and all singles will receive a name tag, set of recipes, and will be invited to participate in a cash bar party after each 9-11 p.m. class.

The group is also planning a Rockford-Area Restaurant Tour for Sunday, Sept. 10. Details are listed at

Bill Lavery, founder and director of the group, believes “there’s a lot of singles who appreciate good food and will find a commonality with others who enjoy learning new cuisines and interesting dishes. We’ll have a 90-minute party after each class with a cash bar, for singles to mingle and meet.”

“We’ve had parents ask about bringing teens to weeknight classes, and we encourage them to come,” Lavery added. “Our memberships are great for families, since membership is only $25 per household.”

2006 summer season

Cooking with the Best Chefs presents Singapore Grilling with Chef Bruce Liou, Wednesday, July 26, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Basil Café, 6500 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. Chef Bruce is Chef and Owner of Singapore Grill in Loves Park. Menu includes Tropical Pineapple Fried Rice, grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce, fresh pineapple, jasmine rice, and spices; Japanese Grilled Tuna, marinated Ahi tuna with ginger and soy, served with teriyaki sauce, grilled to medium rare; and Korean Bulgoigi, thinly sliced ribeye, sauteéd with garlic and onions. The class is open to the public with advanced registration. Non-members are $35 per person and members are $25 per person. To register or for more info, call (630) 980-6800 or visit

Other classes for the new season, include the following:

Wednesday, Aug. 9, 7-9 p.m., Outdoor Grill with John Raven, executive chef, Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center, Rockford: Stuffed Baby Portobello’s, cream cheese, mild Italian sausage and wild berry hot sauce; N.Y. Italiano Strip Steak marinated with tomato juice, vodka, horseradish and Italian seasonings; Grilled Zucchini Fan with olive oil, garlic and Parmesan; and Grilled Brandy-Soaked Peaches with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. This class will be taught outdoors, weather permitting, with a cash bar available during the class.

Friday, Aug. 25, 9-11 p.m., Singles Event: Singular Appetizer Sensations with Ryan Adams, executive chef, Basil Café & Wine Bar, Rockford: Portabella Marsala, portabella mushrooms sauteéd in olive oil and marsala wine, finished with a balsamic reduction; Pomegranate Glazed Smoked Salmon with cucumber and citrus vinaigrette; Basil Wrapped Shrimp poached in olive oil, served with lemon beurre blanc; Caprese Salad, fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato, with olive oil and balsamic; Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Skewers braised in arrabbiata sauce. Singles will receive name tags and are invited to stay after class for a 11 p.m.-1:30 a.m. party with cash bar.

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 7-9 p.m., Cooking with Cheese with John Branyan, executive chef, Garrett’s Café, Rockford: Apricot Baked Brie with hazelnut baby arugula salad and champagne vinaigrette; Spinach and Basil Salad with gruyere croutons and pancetta, tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette; Sauteéd Beef Medallions with Gorgonzola Risotto and Beurre Rouge, and haricot vert; and Fresh Berries with goat cheese sabayon.

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. 22, 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 entreés 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 will receive name tags and are invited to stay after class for a 11 p.m.-1:30 a.m. party with cash bar.

From the July 26-Aug. 1, 2006, issue

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