August 2014 | chicago foodie girl


Sweet Alchemist: Meeting Chef Yigit Pura

*Guest post by chicago foodie girl contributor, Diana

Hellooo Foodies!

I have to begin by saying that I had The. Best. Weekend. Ever! I managed to meet three Top Chef contestants at three different events, one which included Chef Yigit Pura. The first time I had heard of him was when he competed on the 1st season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts about four years ago. That season was a bit of a wild ride; but in the end, Chef Yigit’s talent and skills awarded him the prize of Top Chef. Hurray!

Chef Yigit Pura, c/o Bravo TV

I recently began following him on Instagram, as well as his San Francisco bakery, Tout Sweet. They recently posted a limited edition line of macarons available for purchase; a lovely tribute to Hedwig and the Angry Inch! As you see below, it's a beautiful macaron filled with a bourbon orange marmalade ganache, a brandied cherry center and most importantly, coated in edible red glitter. Yes, RED GLITTER!! I was intrigued, so I ordered a box and planned to share it with Starr in the very near future!


On Saturday, while on a break between the Chicago Food Truck Social and dinner at The Tiki Terrace, we taste tested these gorgeous macarons, along with Tout Sweet’s Candied Milk Jam with Vanilla Cognac (I couldn’t resist buying that as well!). The macarons were divine and dainty; we savored a couple and tasted the candied milk jam (look at those beautiful flecks of vanilla bean!). Both were food-gasmic!

 Helloooo, delicious! Hedwig Macaron and Candied Milk Jam, so good!

On Sunday, Chef Yigit was appearing at the Williams-Sonoma store in Lincoln Park for a signing of his new cookbook, Sweet Alchemy, along with a cooking demo. When I saw the tickets were for sale (included a copy of the cookbook and the demo), I jumped at the chance to meet him and bought a ticket. Starr wasn’t able to attend; so this meant that I’d have to go alone. My slight social anxiety had me a bit worried as I never go to foodie events without my partner in crime; she does all of the talking! However, I thought this would be a great opportunity to work on getting over my fears and just being myself.

I was the first to arrive (that's how I roll, punctual where it's almost annoying, lol); the store is gorgeous and there's a demo kitchen in the back. Chef Yigit was already there, working with the staff to prep for the cooking demo. I was so nervous and kept saying to myself, “Don’t geek out… don't geek out!” :-) I took a seat; he immediately turned toward me, greeting me warmly and chatted me up for a bit. I gushed about tasting the Hedwig macarons and milk jam; he was so sweet to entertain my conversation, looking at my pictures and telling me about the amount of work (and booze! woot!) that went into creating the macarons.

You have to love a man who can cook and look good at the same time. ;-)

The demo began and within a few minutes, I knew we were in for a good time! Chef Yigit is natural comedian and storyteller; he’s so personable and engaging with the audience and is never awkward. He is so down to earth; I felt as if he's the kind of guy who can talk to virtually anyone and make him or her feel instantly comfortable. I loved to hear him talk and geek out about his love of science, which I felt gave the class more dimension.

The dessert he made was called “The Sexy Chocolate Coupe," (featured in his cookbook) which is a dark chocolate cremeux, bittersweet flourless chocolate cake, vanilla whipped cream, a hazelnut spear, and toasted cacao nibs. He was going to prepare small tastings for everyone, but before that he did a plating demonstration of three full servings, stating that two of them were for the audience members that helped out during the demo. Once he finished, he picked up the third one, hands it to me stating, “And this is for being the first one here.” Huh? OMIGOD! Me? It was the sweetest gesture ever! And yay for punctuality!

And the dessert? Amazing! Smooth and chocolatey, the nibs, cake and hazelnut spear added awesome textures and layers of flavor.

My dessert tasting. This is what punctuality gets you. Woot! Trust me, there is flourless chocolate cake buried in there. And it was delicious. ;-)

Another sexy dessert pose. Wanna touch my hazelnut spear? :-)

Sample tastings for the common folk. (Just kidding!)

The man does not make dessert; he makes edible art, don't you think?

It was a wonderful event and the endearing Chef Yigit really made my day. Although I missed hanging out with Starr, I was so proud of myself for doing it on my own, even talking to Chef Yigit without stumbling over my words or making an ass out of myself (success!). However, I think he could tell I was pretty giddy/geeked out, I blame the espresso the store handed out at the start of the class. :-)

If you ever find yourself in San Francisco, stop by Tout Sweet for some tasty treats and perhaps you’ll have an opportunity to meet Chef Yigit. His cookbook looks absolutely amazing, you can buy it here. And if he makes it back to Chicago, be sure to get out there and meet him!

Thanks, Chef Yigit! Can’t wait for Tout Sweet Chicago! (hint hint) :-)




Earlier this month, I was invited to join a select group of other Chicago Food Bloggers to sample the summer menu at the go-to restaurant for Chicago Symphony Orchestra lovers and Loop visitors, Tesori. For those of you who are familiar with the area, you may remember the space once housed the formal (and slightly stuffy) long-standing Rhapsody; that space was completely renovated and it is now home to the more low-key, approachable, and intimate Tesori (which translates to "little treasures" in Italian).

Not only has the space been completely renovated, but so has the cuisine, thanks to Chef Andrew Deuel, a veteran of legendary New York kitchens Armani Ristorante and the Rainbow Room. The Mediterranean/Italian-inspired restaurant features a seasonal menu of updated versions of classic dishes (old-school Italian meets modern farmers market); it also includes an extensive global wine list and a list of fun cocktails. Our group was given the opportunity to sample six courses (including wine pairings) from the current menu, all of which were flawlessly executed.




A few weeks ago, Diana and I were invited to check out the summer menu at Adamus, the newest restaurant and lounge along Jeweler's Row. For those of you who are familiar with the area, you may remember the space next to the Silversmith Hotel that once housed Ada's Famous Deli; that oddly shaped space was completely gutted/renovated and is now home to the gorgeous Adamus. The transformation from that decrepit deli to the sleek new lounge is simply amazing - the entire space is decorated in blacks, silvers, grays with diamond accents (a nod to the Diamond District) and elegant chandeliers.

Communal dining area, bar, and lounge space

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