My heart was all a flutter. But I wasn't the only one. One hundred and thirty-nine other groupies, I mean people (98 percent of them women), were on the edge of their seats watching Gale Gand, TV cooking star, cookbook author and executive pastry chef and partner of the renowned Chicago restaurant Tru.
We were all as giddy as tween girls at a Justin Bieber concert, gathered in the Palatine Public Library to hear Gand talk about brunch (Kudos to the Library for nabbing the famous chef!) and buy her cookbooks, including "Gale Gand's Brunch!."
Gand made two impressive-but-simple recipes at the event: an apricot-mango spritzer and an apple struessel coffee cake. Like members of Oprah's studio audience, everyone got a piece of cake to taste, which was buttery, cinnamon-sugary, apple-pie-ish-in-cake-form good. The recipe was so easy that I made the cake and brought it to my block party last weekend. It was gone in minutes!
Gand was informative, fun, funny and full of juicy gossip. Here are ten things I learned at the event:
1. To kick your home-brewed coffee up a notch, put a cinnamon stick in the coffee filter before it's brewing.
2. A damp towel placed under a cutting board will keep it from moving around.
3. Gand has spent time in France. She attended culinary school at La Varenne in Paris. And over the summer, she was in France. At the event, she used a spatula that she bought in Paris.
4.To make fancy ice cubes, try placing a raspberry in the water in each ice cube compartment. Then freeze.
5. Gand cooked with Julia Child in her house in Cambridge.
6. They use blue Band Aids when people cut themselves in Gand's restaurant kitchen. Why blue? Because there is no blue food. It won't ever end up in a prepared dish.
7. It takes 1 1/2 hours to put together a half hour cooking show. It's actually 22 minutes of edited television.
8. Gand has so many endeavors, she can give you an inferiority complex. She even has her own root beer company: Gale's Root Beer.
9. When she was married to another chef, they ate cereal for dinner every night.
10. If you're thinking about buying one of her books, the one she says she refers to most is "Butter Sugar Flour Eggs."