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Pulse: Momma Cuisine, World Food Championships


What’s cooking?

Momma Cuisine’s television debut

Naperville’s own Johanna Cook has cooked up an opportunity to move from her kitchen into yours. Her series, “Great Everyday Meals,” and her cooking talk show, “LIVE! With Momma Cuisine,” made its television debut this week on Comcast’s MyDealTV Channel 111.

“I am excited for my show to be on MyDealTV, because I am excited to continue to reach wide audiences and inspire them to cook great everyday meals,” Cook said. “It sounds silly, but sharing my talents and passion on television has been a childhood dream, and now it’s coming true.”

The shows stay true to her mission of “bringing recipes for great everyday meals to every home using simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques.” And next year, you can get even more Momma Cuisine.

“Starting in January, viewers will find full-length cooking show episodes every week, featuring simple ingredients and basic cooking,” she said. “We are planning for ‘LIVE! With Momma Cuisine’ to go from a monthly talk show to a weekly talk show with recipes, celebrity guests, lifestyle segments, giveaways and more.”

To learn more, visit

No fires here

Chef earns World Recipe Champion

Beth Peterson says starting a fire last weekend during the World Food Championships in Las Vegas was one of the more stressful moments of the competition. But that “oops” didn’t stop her from becoming the World Recipe Champion.

The Naperville resident came away with the $10,000 prize after two intense cooking rounds Nov. 9.

“The competition was filmed and will be on A&E TV in the spring,” Peterson says. “I know they filmed me,” she says referring to the stress-filled moment when she accidentally set her box of pasta on fire by setting it on an electric burner.

In the first round, she had to submit two pasta dishes. She entered her signature white chicken chili, and her gourmet macaroni and cheese. In the second round, she had to create a dish incorporating bison and pasta.

“After celebrating until after midnight on Saturday, the winners were called into a room and given directions for the final table contest,” Peterson says.

By 10 the next morning, she had to be ready with two entries, including one that showcased Las Vegas. She rallied her friends, Oswego chefs Gail Huesmann and Vita Jarrin, to strategize and then set out at 4 a.m. to go shopping.

Her final entries included an elevated cascading pasta, which she called Lucky Linguini.

Although she didn’t win the World Food Champion title, she is pleased to be World Recipe Champion, one of the seven categories at the event.

“Although I didn’t win, I was glad that Dave Elliot and his mother did win,” she said. “They entered with his mom’s recipe, and they won the title.”

Ranch rules

Sandwich creations with a lesson

Neuqua Valley High School students proved they were hungry for a challenge last week during a sandwich competition at Tom & Eddie’s restaurant in Naperville.

The marketing classes were instructed to put their classroom knowledge to the test by creating a unique sandwich and a plan to promote it. The top-selling sandwich would be declared the winner, and a portion of its sales would go back to the school.

“I want to thank (teachers and) students for making the Neuqua Valley High fall 2013 Burger Challenge a big success,” said Rich Ward, operations manager of Tom & Eddie’s. “I thought the students did a great job creating their burgers; I also hope they learned some real life business lessons along the way.”

In the end, the buffalo ranch chicken sandwich — a fried chicken breast dipped in buffalo sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato, fries and ranch dressing — proved victorious.

“Congratulations to the buffalo ranch chicken team,” Ward said. “This sandwich was off to an early lead and held on throughout the night. Well done.”

If you missed the student-created menu items, visit the restaurant Nov. 21 when they will serve up their sandwich options. To learn more, visit


Exhibit explores architecture

DuPage Children’s Museum is bringing the scale, beauty and engineering of Greek and Mayan architecture to the Chicago region with the opening of its newest exhibit, “Monumental,” on Saturday, Nov. 16.

The exhibit will remain at the museum for more than six months before being offered as a traveling exhibit to other museums and institutions.

Through interactive components and specially designed public programs, children will explore building styles, construction techniques, common decorative elements, and the cultural attributes of Greek and Mayan monuments, while exploring fundamental principles that helped shape modern-day architecture.

Working with the National Hellenic Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art, the museum has developed an exhibit that will explore the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, as well as the Mayan structures at Chichen Itza in the jungles of southeastern Mexico.

“This is an exciting new addition to the museum that we’re thrilled to unveil,” said Peter Crabbe, director of exhibits, in a press release. “Weaving history and culture into the exhibit experience alongside the core concepts of art, science and math has allowed us to create an entirely new experience that will appeal to all ages.”

Monumental is also a pilot effort by the museum to develop, design and build an exhibit that can be rented to other museums and institutions.

“This will impact the design of the units and will allow us to evaluate the possibility of offering future traveling exhibits,” said Cricket Brooks, exhibits manager. “We’ve developed this exhibit in a way to ensure that it can function successfully even at smaller institutions or museums that may not have as extensive of an exhibit staff as we do.”

Dads involved

Who let the DOGS out?

Watch DOGS will soon be at Mill Street Elementary School, and they are not the furry canines you might think. The Naperville school plans to launch the Watch DOG program — dads of great students — in December.

“I was honored they asked me (to head up the program)and then took off and ran with it,” said Lance Jansen, who has two daughters at Mill. “The program is designed to get the fathers more involved in their children’s education. My feeling is the dads get involved in the extracurricular activities, (like) coaching.

“We need to get these dads in a classroom and let them see firsthand what our teachers are doing and how great they are doing it.”

Watch DOGS is a nationwide program created by the National Center for Fathering. The volunteer movement was designed to encourage dads or father figures to spend time with their children during the school day, and exists in more than 2,800 schools in 46 states across the country.

“My goal is to get every father or father figure signed up for the program and to spend one day a year in the school with their child and every child at Mill Street,” Jansen said.

The launch will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the school. For more information about the national program, 

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