Last week I stopped in at Moxie’s ReSale Boutique to get a gift to take to Chris Herold, who’s just reopened Champ’s West. While in there I spotted a plate of mini cupcakes and asked if I could have one. Mollee, who owns and operates Moxie’s told me to help myself so I did and I had a couple and they were so good. I found out from Mollee, they come from a new bakery/restaurant/caterer called, “The Chef & The Baker.” She told me they in addition to baked goods, they also have unique sandwiches, soups and salads and daily specials. Mollee said that it was run by a husband and wife and that I told her I’d have to do a post from there sometime.
Well, today is that fateful day. I’m really excited because my cousin Danny Seitz and his wife Patty are in town from Baltimore for a Spalding high school class reunion (I should add here that one of Danny's English teachers in high school was none other than MBIP Contributing Writer, Mike Foster!). I saw Patty last summer, but I haven’t seen Danny in over 30 years! Through the magic of facecrack, Patty set up a time to meet for lunch and I thought what better place than The Chef & The Baker to meet at and so, just like Jackie Gleason used to say: "And awaaay we go!"
Here we are at The Chef & The Baker, it looks nice and I tried to get a shot of the sign on the roof, but the sun is glaring it out, so this is the best you get. It's located on McClure Avenue close to Glen Oak Park. A handy stop if you want to have a picnic over there!
That little fellow seems to know where he's going, let's follow him...
It's really nice in here, let's go say hi to everyone...
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to, The Chef and The Baker: Ian and Karen. Ian and Karen just opened this establishment a month ago and they said its been going great. They do catering on any level from personal to corporate and they're open daily serving up sweet treats and gourmet box lunches. Ian studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and is a Certified Executive Chef. Karen studied at I.C.C. and completed their culinary and restaurant management program. Both of them have experience working in other kitchens around town and are now excited to be opening up their very own place. Very cool to see two people pursuing their dream!
And this is the little fellow that we followed in here, it's Ian and Karen's son, Gabriel. Here he is doing an imitation of one of my favorite Harry Nilsson albums.
Completing The Chef & The Baker team is Brian, who told me that everyone calls him, "Beans." Well, I'm not a fan of beans, so I'll call him Brian. Both Brian and Ian used to work at Salt and Brian said he cooked the cheeseburger we had when we had our first Saturday Night Cheeseburger there over a year ago. And of course you know what that means...time to cue this up!
The front display case is loaded with sweet treats that are baked from scratch in here daily. All the recipes are by Karen and Ian and Brian handle the cooking duties.
There's the mini cupcakes I had at Mollee's store. There's a variety of flavors to sample including red velvet, peach and vanilla sprinkles.
Here's some of the full size cupcakes in the counter, peach cobbler with fresh peaches on top of the cupcakes.
Everything in here looks so good!
Wow, these look fabulous, chocolate with caramel chocolate frosting. I'm going to get one of these for sure!
At The Chef & The Baker you can have your cake and eat it too, so there!
This is just one of many awards that Ian has won through the years, others include: 2014 HOI Chefs 1st place People Choice Brisket Award, 2013 HOI Chefs 1st place dessert competition, 2012 HOI People Choice Gingerbread House award and 2012 HOI 3rd place Gingerbread House award.
Karen and Ian said that a lot of the people from the neighborhood have been stopping in to check the place out. Here's Ian chatting with someone who lives close by, let's go see who he is...
Meet Dominique, who's holding a mini red velvet cupcake. Dominique said he'd definitely be stopping back, very cool!
Over in the front window, The Baker is feeding the Little Chef.
A ceiling fan whirs above underneath an impressive tin ceiling.
A lot of the bakery goods and box lunches are bought on a take-out basis, but there is a nice little dining area over there if you'd like to dine in.
Suddenly, a silhouetted couple appear at the door and I'm a little frightened because I don't know if "silhouetted" is actually a word. But we must soldier on!
It's my cousins, Patty and Danny! As I said in the beginning of this post, it's been well over thirty years since we've seen each other. We've got a lot of catching up to do, but first...
We must order lunch, it's called, "priorities," people! First things first, land ho and shiver me timbers, matey!
You order up here at the front counter. We each chose a different entree so you, the blessed MBIP reader can see some of the different lunch choices in The Chef & The Baker.
Ian dutifully writes the orders down in very impressive penmanship! Yes, I'm cursed with being obsessed over small details like that.
We sat down at the table and Patty surprised me by showing me this clipping that she found at Danny's dad's (my Uncle Bill's) house. It's my mom's wedding picture! How cool! "Anne Seitz Says Vows," if she wouldn't have said them you wouldn't be reading this right now, so you can either thank her or perhaps blame her for this thing we do known as MBIP!
Patty found yet another newspaper clipping at my Uncle Bill's house and this one is hilarious, it's my mom in the kitchen with my sister Terry who has apparently slipped on the floor. The thing we were wondering about it is that it was taken by a staff photographer named, George Day. So was this guy just hanging around all day waiting for Terry to trip in the kitchen? People sure had a lot more time on their hands back in those pre-facecrack days. The Journal Star should've come around when I was in high school, I was tripping all the time back then. Another photo opportunity missed!
Ian delivered lunch and snapped a photo of us at our table. I'm taking a cue from Gabriel and pointing at the stars of this post, Danny and Patty.
I got the Beef and Cheddar sandwich with fresh pasta salad and that chocolate caramel cupcake we saw earlier.
Danny got The Havana, which is pulled pork, black forest ham and Swiss cheese on a house made hoagie roll.
Patty got a wrap that's called, The Bird and it's sliced smoked turkey breast with an artichoke and spinach spread, fresh tomatoes, red onions and lettuce. She also got the Citrus Cous Cous and I'm not sure what kind of cupcake that is, but it looks amazingly delicious! Time to dig in!
We all agreed that these are some of the best sandwiches anywhere. All the bread is baked fresh daily and the ingredients and combinations in the unique recipes that Karen has created produce extremely tasty delights. You need to check this place out, a real jewel has just been added to Peoria's dining experience.
Here's Patty flipping The Bird, not the first time that's happened here on MBIP!
And last, but certainly not least, here's that chocolate caramel cupcake and it's amazing! Both the cupcake and frosting are really dense and packed with sweet chocolate flavor. This was a great lunch and I really want to thank Danny and Patty for taking the time to meet and hang out with me. It was such a blast sharing old and new stories with the two of them! We talked about organizing a full blown cousin reunion next year and I'm hoping we can make that happen. Maybe we can get The Chef & The Baker to cater it! We'll see you all tomorrow!
Today’s post was brought to you by Knuckles Pizza. Check them and all the other fine businesses helping to support this blog over at the MBIP Bucket List Page. Your Daily Random Linkage awaits you at the bottom of the that page as well!