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Favorite Food Stars

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One of the biggest things we all have in common is we all eat. Food is our universal language. We all talk food. There is no better way to bring people together than through shared meals and conversation. Eating is one of the most powerful ways to socialize and connect. When you think about it, everything in this world involves around food and eating.

  • Movies and popcorn
  • Dinner and a movie
  • Football and Burgers
  • Wedding and cake
  • Wine and cheese
  • Coffee & conversation
  • Christmas & cookies

As a Dietitian I have a passion for food and cooking. I am definitely in the right field and consider myself a “superfoodie,” AKA someone who loves superfoods or foods in their most natural state. I especially love to experiment with superfoods in the kitchen and find ways to combine healthy and delicious in a way that’s fun and easy. Typically when people think of healthy food, they think of bland, boring, and tasteless. But did you know that flavor comes from nutrients? The more nutritious and colorful your foods are, the more likely they are to be loaded with flavor.

With that being said, I love checking out the Chicago food scene, exploring new restaurants, learning about popular chefs, and tasting many different dishes. Usually I cook meals at home Monday though Friday, but come the weekend–I am on the hunt to find the best restaurants in town. It allows me to experience the city to the fullest and make time to check out the culinary masterpieces from the best chefs. It also gives me inspiration for cooking new and delicious meals at home.

Even though I probably eat out more now that I live in Chicago, I find that most of the dishes I eat, use only the freshest and most seasonal ingredients full of nutrition and flavor.

Typically, some of my best meals are the most nutritious. Some of my favorites have been:

  • Sea salt crusted baked Branzino (European sea bass)
  • Roasted broccoli with burrata cheese
  • Brussels and kale salad with tahini dressing

Because I believe the story of food is the most powerful part of the eating experience, I love meeting chefs and the creators behind the dishes. I am such a sucker for chef celebrities and get so star struck when I get to meet my favorites.

Here are some of my favorite chefs and culinary artists.

Bob’s Red Mill Spotted at Plum Market

Diva Q: BBQ Master & Food Network Star

Ellie Krieger: Food Network Star & Fellow Dietitian

Mamma Agata: Almafi Coast Italian Chef

Michael Chiarello: Celebrity Chef Specializing In Italian California Cuisine

My Twin Brother, Matt Johnson: Co-Author of Target To Table

Nathalie Dupree: TV Show Star of the American Southern Cuisine & first woman since Julia Child to host more than one hundred cooking episodes

Sandra Lee: Semi Homemade Food Network Star

Sarah Grueneberg: Head Chef at Monteverde in Chicago

Siggi Hilmarsson: Creator of Siggi’s Skyrr Icelandic Yogurt

Tim Love: Texan Chef & Grill Master

Chef Paul Kahan and Rachel Holtzman

Typically, I know just by the feel of the restaurant and atmosphere whether it is going to have good food. Usually good restaurants have two things in common. Their bathrooms are clean and their bread is amazing. If a bathroom is dirty, messy, or unorganized, that typically translates into the food. You have to look at the bigger picture of the restaurant as a whole–the people, the atmosphere, and the cleanliness. I also know my meal is going to mind-blowing if the bread is amazing. The bread is the very first impression upon dining and it has to make a statement. Another piece to this is spotting the head chef. If you see the chef mingling with their guests or cooking in the kitchen–you know they care about the food and the experience as a whole. This is typically where I can snap a fun photo.

Here are a list of some of my favorite Chicago restaurants.

  • Nico Osteria
  • Publican Quality Meats (Burger Night)
  • Publican
  • Cafe Iberico
  • Blue Door Farm Stand
  • Two
  • The Bristol
  • Alinea
  • Goosefoot
  • Haisous (Pilsen)
  • Bavette’s
  • Bandera
  • Gilt Bar
  • Doc B’s
  • Eduardo’s Enoteca
  • Cafe Ba- Ba- Reeba
  • Orso’s
  • Longman & Eagle
  • Revolution Brewery (Burgers)
  • Twenty Five Degrees (Burgers)
  • Piccolo Songo
  • Parlor Pizza
  • Glenn’s Diner
  • Gather
  • Clever Rabbit
  • Somerset (Rooftop Menu)