Archive for May 18th, 2012

Cook, create, celebrate

It’s been a wild week, and I can’t think of a better way to unwind than to meet up with old friends to cook – and eat – together. That’s what Mike and I are doing tonight. We’re taking a hands-on class called “Small Bites, Big Party” with Chef Paul Lindemuth at Marcel’s Culinary Experience. Marcel’s is the culinary retail store and cooking school my friend Jill Foucré opened in Glen Ellyn, Illinois last Fall. Here’s a short description of classes from their web site:

With all classes, in addition to the instruction by our staff of chefs, you get to enjoy the meal that is made, take home the recipes and a grocery list, and take advantage of a 10% discount to the entire store that day. In addition, hands on classes include preparation of the meal, beer and wine (adult classes only), and a Marcel’s apron to take home!

Jill’s sister and brother-in-law just happen to be my friends Jenny and Dean Fischer – they’ll be joining us in the class tonight, along with twelve others who are sure to become our friends, especially after the complimentary beer and wine. Not exactly sure how much I’ll be able to participate in the hands-on cooking part, but trust me, when it comes to taste-testing, I’m an expert!

A photo from Marcel’s grand opening gala. That’s Jill in the middle, flanked by her sister Jenny, and Jenny’s husband Dean.

Jill’s business is named for her paternal grandfather, a French chef and restaurateur who grew up in Tours. I never had the privilege of meeting Marcel Foucré, but I was very fortunate to have known Jenny and Jill’s mother Suzanne. Jill wrote a tribute to her mother for Marcel’s May newsletter and agreed to let me use it with this blog post. I’ll say goodbye here and leave you with Jill’s tribute to her mom for Mother’s day. I’ve gotta dash over to the pool to do laps – Jenny emailed me this morning and said to make sure we come to class hungry!

A note from Jill

As we celebrate our mothers this month and also fully delve into our gardens, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my mom, Susanne. Susanne was the daughter-in-law of Marcel, and that was a tough spot to be in when you were married a few days before your 20th birthday and pretty much didn’t know how to boil water. Having a French chef for a father-in-law made for some tense visits but my mom was never one to back down from a challenge.

She not only learned how to cook beautifully but she knew how to entertain. She threw parties that were the envy of the neighborhood and every detail was attended to – including a guest list that threw the most dynamic people into a room together. She did love a spirited debate! I got my love of cooking from both my father and my mother but my love of entertaining was definitely from Susanne, who couldn’t have enough dishes, tableware, beautiful flowers from her always lush gardens and great food with great company.

It’s sadly ironic that losing my mom in 2009 was one of the things that spurred me on to do something different with my life — she would have loved Marcel’s so much and she would be so happy to see me doing what I love. It has been such a pleasure to meet so many customers who share her passion for bringing people together and creating just the perfect setting for doing so.

All of us at Marcel’s truly enjoy helping you find just the perfect thing whether it is for a weeknight meal for family or a once in a lifetime special occasion. Thank you to all of you who let us into your homes to cook, create, and celebrate. And Happy Mother’s Day, Mom — I couldn’t have done this without you.


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May 2012
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