What Do Mommy Chefs Want for Mother's Day?

Local chefs share Mother's Day wishes

By Audarshia Townsend
|  Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009  |  Updated 4:54 PM CDT
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Famous Moms

Bill Lambert/Erickson Design

Punk rock mom and pastry chef Michelle Garcia is pictured here with her mother.

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They're truly the queens of their kitchens, so they almost never get a day off to relax.

The 312 Dining Diva caught up with some of Chicago's busiest chefs -- who just happen to be moms -— to find out their idea of the perfect Mother's Day:

Malika Ameen, executive pastry chef and co-owner of the exotically sexy Aigre Doux, manages to run a tight ship in the kitchen with her husband Mohammad Islam even though they have three sons under age seven. A blissful Mom's Day for her would be huevos rancheros served to her in bed by her family. And no housework.

Favorite Menu Item at Aigre Doux: Black Truffle Pizza with a wood-fired crust.

Tru's Gale Gand, the tireless pastry chef, author, TV personality and restaurateur, is also the mom-in-chief of three children (two girls and one boy). Her special fantasy day would consist of homemade cards from her kids, just-picked Daffodils from her garden, foot rub from her husband and movies. Of course, there'd be breakfast in bed, seeing as the award-winning artist just released Gale Gand's Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal (Crown Publishing Group; 2009). She'd want her family to whip up her recipe for Blanched Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Shaved Parmesan paired with fresh-squeezed OJ (with strawberry puree, passion fruit juice, and a shot of Cava).

Favorite Menu Item at Tru: King crab, white asparagus, pineapple, and tarragon appetizer; also the gianduja cremeux with concord grape sorbet, basil and manchego cheese dessert.

Punk rock mom and pastry chef Michelle Garcia only has one son, but her two popular, organic-focused North Side bakeries, Bleeding Heart and Smash Cake, probably fill in as her second and third children. If she managed to get a day off for Mother's Day, she'd want to be lavished with gifts from Lush (the cosmetics store with handmade organic products, not the spirits shop!). Also, for her son not to hit her in the head with his Star Wars' lightsaber.

Favorite Menu Item at Bleeding Heart: The infamous tattoo cakes that put her store on the map. Get the organic goodies in whatever flavor you like with the Mom heart tat surrounded by flowers.

Sarah Stegner may have more prestigious awards than children (one daughter, one Robert Mondavi Culinary Award Of Excellence, two James Beard Foundation awards), but she takes her role as mom to heart. As co-owner and co-executive chef at Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, she always works on Mother's Day, but if she had the chance to get away she'd spend every precious moment with her daughter.

Favorite Menu Item at Prairie Grass Café: She keeps it simple with spaghetti and roasted chicken.

Audarshia Townsend is the creator of the local food blog 312DiningDiva.com. She also provides content for Dining Chicago, Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, Playboy.com and Concierge Preferred.

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