Sun-Times Food, Digested: The Circus! Also, Feminism.

Hello hello, Chicago Sun-Times. How is your Wednesday going?

• Sandy Thorn Clark suggests — gasp! — Thanksgiving without the turkey. We personally are firm members of the everything-but camp, liking to fill our plates with sides and stuffing. In fact, for the last three years have celebrated Thanksgiving without the whole bird in the center of the table (we’ve done capon, brisket, and [cheating a little] turkey breast pinwheeled with sausage, pancetta, and rosemary). Molly Harrison of Green Zebra weighs in with her suggestions for a meatless Thanksgiving.

• Dave Hoekstra profiles Michael Vaughn. Do you know who that is? You should, because he is the freaking Ringling Bros Circus Chef. Who cooks his meals on a train car. And he got the job how? Oh, he ran away from home as a kid. TO JOIN THE CIRCUS. AS A CHEF. We’re flipping out a little with the awesomeness of this — the sheer Tim Burton/Roald Dahl-esqueness of the scenario of being the dining car cook for a circus train. Detracting from the article’s super-awesomeness is this slightly odd quote: “Challenges of diversity on the Pie Car are similar to running a diner in Manhattan. There are at least 10 ethnic groups in the circus troupe.” Um. Can individuals only eat food from their own ethnicity?

• Our Favorite Sun-Times Reporter Ever, Lisa Donovan, checks out the cemitas at Cemitas Pueblo — the crispy, avocado-y sandwiches are freaking delicious.

• Misha Davenport sits down with last season’s Top Chef winner, Stephanie Izard, to talk shop. Izard’s “Mediterranean-inspired gastropub” is still in the planning stages — she’s scouting locations and refining the menu. And of course everything will be locally sourced, because that is basically the rule for every single new high-profile gastropub-esque restaurant.

• Wahoo! The Goose Island Brew Pub on Clybourn isn’t closing!

• Stacy Warden of Centerstage swings back at the largely male Chicago celeb-chef scene (think Tramonto, Bayless, Achatz, Trotter) with a rundown of some toques who run on estrogen: Judy Contino of Bittersweet and Carrie Nahabedian of Naha, among others (where’s Gale Gand?). We tend to bristle at these sort of “Hey! Us too!” articles that profile individuals of a less-represented gender or ethnicity, since it’s hard for them not to strike a condescending tone. But we won’t get into a long screed on feminism and diminished expectations on this blog. Instead, we’ll just turn the mic over to Mindy Segal, who “believes that it’s especially important in a male-dominated industry to create opportunities for women, but says the real key to culinary success is “putting your nose to the grindstone.”

[Photo: Mushrooms at Green Zebra, via twobythree’s Flickr]


Sun-Times Food, Digested: The Circus! Also, Feminism.