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The Real Food Rehab Holiday Gift Guide: Sunday Dinner Club

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

I just want to gush over Josh and Christine for a moment if that's OK. Because I've come to really love them. They've allowed me to stage in their kitchen for the past couple months and I've learned so much about cooking and using beautiful ingredients. Yes, I'm well-read and well-versed when it comes to food, but I learn by doing and they've been providing me a very generous education. They're quite a bit younger than me but they've become mentors of sorts and it just proves that you never know who your teachers in life will be or where your great lessons will come from. They are the real deal and you should know them better...

WHO Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp are the chef/owners of Sunday Dinner, an underground community dining club in Chicago and Eat Green Foods, a line of granola bars handcrafted with local and sustainable ingredients. They also have a stall at Chicago's Green City Market selling locally sourced, pasture raised burgers and sandwiches. When not cooking or eating, they spend their time thinking about what, when and where they are going to cook and eat next.

THE GIFT Being fervent supporters of seasonal, local and sustainable foods has many known benefits — chief among them is the unparalleled flavor these foods so amply provide. We are strong proponents of keeping dollars in the local economy. However, when the Midwest turns into a veritable wasteland of cold, slush and snow, I look to Paternoster Family Farm in California to satiate our fix for fresh, delicious and responsibly grown produce. The Paternoster’s have been diligently attending to their citrus orchards in the San Joaquin Valley for over 50 years and recently started shipping Satsumas, Navel Oranges and Pomelo grapefruits direct to elated foodies and chefs alike. What better gift is there than supporting a small sustainable farm, not to mention unbelievably good citrus?

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Chicago, Illinois

WHAT INSIPRES YOU? Seasonality definitely informs our cooking but I find we're most inspired by what fellow chefs and artisans are creating and how they continually channel their passion into their food.

GO-TO DISH WHEN COOKING FOR YOURSELF?(Christine) Since I live by myself and admittedly spend an excessive amount of time working, I gravitate towards dishes that can be made in mass and eaten over time. Lately, this has been tacos and assorted accoutrement - rice and beans, salsas and seasonal toppings of the like. I make all the parts on one day and spend the rest of the week happily consuming them in various tasty combinations. See Rick Bayless’ Mexico One Plate At A Timefor solid, user-friendly recipes.

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