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Thanksgiving Tips & Tricks Recipes – Nov. 15, 2017

Posted in: Dave's Blog

Every year we look forward to our annual Thanksgiving tips & tricks class at the shop. Last night, we had 70 awesome customers (and a few family members!) gather in our shop to watch Dave cook and teach everyone how to organize and prep a tasty, stress-free Thanksgiving feast.

Below you will find the recipes for all of the dishes we cooked (and ate) at last night’s class!

We hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Bon appetit!



1 loaf Bread cubed

½ Onion, diced

3 stalks Celery, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 Carrots, diced

¾ stick Butter

10 Mushrooms, sliced

1 Qt Stock

½ Tbsp Herbes de Provence

Fresh sage, chopped

Salt and Pepper


Combine onion, garlic, celery, carrots and butter in sauce pan. Saute to brown. Add mushrooms, stock, herbs and seasonings. Bring to boil and add bread. Stir to incorporate. Dump into baking dish and bake in 375 degree oven to brown top—about 30 minutes.

Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato


2 LB. Sweet potato—larger the better

¼ cup Real Maple syrup

1 Tbsp Butter

Salt and pepper


Place whole, unpeeled sweet potato in 350 degree oven. Roast about 50 min. until potato oozes the sweet juices and is very soft and puffed. Remove from oven and let rest up to 24 hours in fridge. When cool to touch, peel the cooked potatoes and slice into large pieces. Place on cookie sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake in oven just to warm—15 min. Meanwhile, place butter and syrup in small pan. Bring to simmer and stir to just melt butter. Remove from heat, pour over warm potatoes and enjoy!

Cranberry Bars



3 cups Flour

1 cup Powder Sugar

12 oz. Cold Butter


2 cups Cranberries

½ cup Orange Juice

¾ cup Sugar

Streusel Topping:

2 sticks Butter

2 ¼ cups Flour

1 ½ cups Sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. For crust place all crust ingredients into food processor and pulse quickly just enough to make a chunky, soft consistency. Dump mixture onto a buttered or non-stick sprayed 9×16 cookie sheet and press evenly to make a nice crust. Bake 15 – 20 min. until lightly brown.

Meanwhile, make streusel: Mix butter, flour and sugar in bowl and blend with fingers until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Mix all filling ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cook low for 30 minutes until cranberries pop, stirring occasionally. Pour over baked crust, sprinkle 1 ½ cups streusel topping over cranberries. Return carefully to oven and bake for 20 minutes until very lightly browned. Let cool and EAT!!

Turkey Gravy


1/2 Diced Onion 

2 Diced Carrot

1 rib Diced Celery

2 cloves Minced Garlic

2 Tbsp Butter

¼ cup Flour

1 quart Stock

½ Tbsp Herbs de Provence

 Salt and Pepper

1 Tbsp Chicken Base


Place onion, carrots, celery and garlic in sauce pan with butter. Saute to brown and add flour. Stir well to lightly brown and slowly whisk in stock. Bring mixture to boil and add seasoning.

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What if I ran my company like most corporations?

Posted in: Dave's Blog

I just got off the phone with a major airline carrier and was SO proud that I don’t treat my customers like they treated me! I thought it would be a great idea to compare and contrast our “product and service” with what is widely accepted (we pretty much have no choices now) as crappy service… and fake, plastic products, too.

What if you walked into my shop and I said very confidently: We do not have your order—the computer had a glitch. Return another day and we should have it.

What if you called my shop and I said: Please hold…FOR 20 MINUTES…WTFLIP!

What if you ate my soup and I double billed you and you wanted your money back: Fill out this form and we will take 20 days to process it and our refund team will assess this and get back to you with a yes or no answer.

What if you wanted to change your catering order from 20 guests to 25 guests and I told you: Sorry, it is not within the 72 hour order change window… call back another time.

What if you were waiting outside my door in the rain for us to open at 8:00am and we stood and looked at your cold, wet body until exactly 8:00 and 1 second to open the door.

What if you got home with your carry-out order and were missing a sandwich, called us to get a replacement one and I said: Prove it…where is your receipt?

What if you came in with a gift certificate from your sister and I said: That expired…or the value is less than original.

What if you came in for a sandwich and I said: Not now…the cooks are on break

What if you came in later than your catering pick up time and I said: Sorry…we gave your food to someone else…you were late!

What if you wanted no mayo on your sandwich and I said: No changes to our product.

What if you had to cancel your catering order with us and I said: Oh, that is too bad…your deposit is non refundable.

I WOULD BE CLOSED…THAT IS WHAT WOULD HAPPEN!! Why do we put up with this crappy attitude?

I avoid it as much as I can help. My secret….? Shop, use, frequent and fall in love with businesses that love you back!

Your life will be much fuller, I guarantee, with no hidden fees, no expiration dates, and even a smile…and a dirty joke!

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Posted in: Dave's Blog

I spend a lot of time wondering where things like “non dairy creamer” come from…This thought usually leads to wonders like; how about “non tree apples” or “chicken flavored chicken” or “natural and artificial beef flavor”, and the always troubling “cheese food product”.

Makes me go….hmmmmmmm!

I was just on vacation with my family and we went to a few very upscale pie places—you know—$30.00 pies made with tons of fruit and various toppings. I am a pie freak and I had my freak on! We ordered many different slices so we could enjoy various tastes. The apple slice of pie looked great, very much like it should—crusty, carmelly, full of apples. I bit into a huge chunk and tasted nothing of the apple! Plenty of cinnamon, mace, allspice, nutmeg and other spices—

Where was the awesome apple taste?

This was a tragic example of too much “chef” in the pastry kitchen! Apples are born with simple, juicy, sweet, tangy, recognizable flavor—It is our job as cooks to respect that expected simplicity and just make that pie with maximum apple and a hint of sweet spices.

Why pick on the pie? You and I need to keep it simple when a lot of times we add, marinate, glaze, confuse and over-think lots of our perfect foods! Have you ever been in a Ferrari? Simple perfection—no air, no fancy buttons, no knobs—Just fire up and go! Simple and real as should be our food—Steak should taste like that…STEAK…peaches like peaches and salmon like fishy, delicate salmon!

I hear every day, “how do I grill a better steak?”, etc…My answer now has been “just relax and keep it simple!” Salt and pepper and olive oil and awesome technique! It is actually easy to keep it simple!

Every single time you put something in your pie hole, you should know what it is! How simple is that? Questions like who cooked this pizza, did this grow on a tree, and what did this animal eat before I ate it will naturally make you eat real and eat healthy! Coffee? CREAM! Ice cream? NOT LOW FAT! Beef? GRASS FED! Apple pie? REAL WHIPPED CREAM!

Eat real and keep it real!
The Dave

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Sunny, albeit, windy day to take our Awesome Grilling

Posted in: Dave's Blog
Sunny, albeit, windy day to take our Awesome Grilling

We’ve finally been granted a sunny, albeit, windy day to take our Awesome Grilling 101 class outside! We had a killer time– and got to test out his new grill. Cooking class fantastic for a couples night, girls/guys night out, or go solo and meet new fellow cooking enthusiasts!

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New 2015-2016 cooking classes announced

Posted in: Dave's Blog
New 2015-2016 cooking classes announced

Check out our awesome new 2015-2016 cooking class list!

Daves Specialty FoodsGourmet Breakfast
$45 | Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Awesome spinach & butterkase omelette, Raspberry & vanilla bean pancakes, Eggs benedict

Awesome Grilling 101
$45 | Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Learn the basics and do it right! Proper kabobs, Perfect steak, Grilled pineapple

Couples With Cleavers
$45 | Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
We’re cooking outside! Grilled lamb chops with mint yogurt, Hickory grilled salmon with caramelized apples, Grilled haloumi cheese with sweet and sour peppers

Dudes Grilling Things
$45 | Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Dinner, stogies, and tasteless jokes… Merguez sausage, Spicy shrimp kabobs, Bacon wrapped steaks, Rum grilled peaches

Girl On Grill
$45 | Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
…well, actually, not a girl on a grill! Tuna steaks with avocado, Grilled tomatoes with dill cream, Grilled skirt steak sliders

Old School Celebration Dinner
$65 | Tuesday, September 15th, 2015| 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Cook fancy at home! Beef wellington, Port wine sauce, Salmon en Papillote, Profiteroles

Bistro Cooking
$45 | Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Truly casual French dishes! Pecan chicken, Mussels, Rabbit with mustard sauce

Fish, Fish, Fish
$55 | Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Ceviche, Salmon with saffron sauce, Potato crusted talapia

Holiday Cooking
$55 | Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Rack of lamb with rosemary sauce, Cranberry bars, Stuffed shrimp

Tasty Veggies
$45 | Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Anyone can cook a steak… learn how to do veggies correctly! Portabellas with creamed spinach and roasted tomato, Mushroom paté with hazelnuts, Leek and goat cheese risotto

$45 | Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Molto bene! Arancini, Smoked salmon polenta with brown sugar bacon, Apricot tart with tillegio

Sexy Appetizers
$45 | Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Presented by sexy Chef Dave. Goat, pesto and sundried tomato roulade, Steak tartare, Rosemary candied pecans, Mushroom turnover

Meat and Potatoes
$45 | Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Double baked potato, Chicken chili, Pot Roast

$45 | Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Hands-on and working together! Buttermilk biscuits, Shredded BBQ chicken, Texas cake brownies

Knife Skills
$55 | Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Stop slicing your finger and quit your crying! Bring your own knives and learn how to chop, slice and dice! Hands-on knife skills followed by an awesome demo by Chef Dave

$45 | Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 | 6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Eat local and KNOW where your food comes from! Poached chicken with sage dumplings, Potato, brisket and egg hash, Cheesy eggplant roulade

Call or email us at the shop to book your spot today!
(847) 259-9510
[email protected]

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Read that Label!

Posted in: Dave's Blog

Read that Label!

I want to begin by assuming you are not standing in the kitchen in your skivvies eating chef boy r dee out of the can with a rusty fork. Know your food! This is your reminder to read before you eat. Reading while eating is also awesome, but it all starts with the label…the FOOD label. Know your food!

I have said in so many cooking discussions that the more you know about your food, the better that food will be for you. Simply tossing a chip in your pie hole without having any knowledge of the whereabouts of that chip’s birth is never a good idea! Most people freak out when told how a food product they are consuming is made; and respond with: Well, you only live once…give me another oreo!

Well…not so much!

Checking out the label of a prepared product provides you with so many options—Do I even eat this, Is there a “cleaner” option, What the heck is that, I heard this chemical additive is getting a bad rap, etc. It is very simple to look up any ingredient to find out its edibility and its origin (MSG is derived from seaweed. This is how you take natural and turn it Unnatural).

Do you know how soybean oil is processed?

Do you know what carrageenan is?

Do you know who….or what….cut your meat?

Do you know what hydrogenated oil is?

Do you know where that carrot was grown?

How about those aweful “baby” carrots…WTF

Read your labels—your life actually truly depends on it! There is a movement now to get GMOs labeled—currently not a law and that is a no-brainer in my world—JUST LABEL IT is the movement to get that done.

Live better—you only have this awesome life—Make it a healthy one!

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Thank You all for coming out

Posted in: Dave's Blog

This past Wednesday, we managed to fit over 80 food enthusiasts in the shop for an awesome Thanksgiving prep cooking demonstration.


We covered it all; from the proper way to cook and carve your dead bird, to creating a day-by-day cooking schedule for the week of Thanksgiving to saving yourself from a stress filled holiday. Below you’ll find some of what we covered on Wednesday’s demo:

Organize, Plan, Prep: Think like a chef!

No more: -Mystery stuffing (anything boxed that makes for a great maraca when you shake it) -Mystery pie filling -Cool Whip… -Cheap pies (they all know it!) -Bottled gravy

Apps & Munchies: Keep it simple! No heavy appetizers that fill your stomach before the main event.

Your schedule for the week of Thanksgiving:

  • Monday: -Cut mirepoix (celery, carrots, onions) -Make pie crusts, roll out and freeze. Cut bread for stuffing, seal in plastic baggie and freeze. -Roast sweet potatoes (Skin and all! Remember, there is no starch in sweet potatoes, so reheating them later will be clean and easy!) -Make crumble topping for pie -Roast your nuts.
  • Tuesday: -Peel/cut apples for pies (Take a deep breath. I know brown apples were a concern for some, but remember: when you cook your delicious, home made apple pie, your apples will brown naturally in the oven!) -Prep your sweet potatoes (remove the skin, and dice, mash or puree to your hearts content!)
  • Wednesday: -Open your dead bird (avoid a juicy, yucky mess on Thanksgiving day! Place in pan and jam it back in your overflowing fridge) -Cook all of your pies (this gives them time to settle, and for the crust and fruit to absorb the juices– no soupy pies!) -Cook/blanch your veggies.
  • Thursday: -Roast your bird -Rest your bird -And remember, NO FOIL!! –Make that awesome gravy! 

Awesome Turkey Gravy


 1/2          Diced Onion 

   2              Diced Carrot

1 rib         Diced Celery

2 cloves       Minced Garlic

2 TBSP           Butter

¼ cup             Flour

1 quart           Stock

½ TBSP         Herbs de Provence

                        Salt and Pepper



Place onion, carrots, celery and garlic in sauce pan with butter. Saute to brown and add flour. Stir well to lightly brown and slowly whisk in stock. Bring mixture to boil and add seasoning.

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Our first blog

Posted in: Dave's Blog

This is our very first blog for the new website so I will make this short, super sweet and enlightening–

As I travel, cater and generally run into people, it is occurring to me there are less and less truly independent people…not only mentally independent, but physically independent. Let me explain…Mental independence means you are actually able to function 100% of the time without that leash of a cell phone ( and I and the rest of my small posse don’t care whether you have the 5s or the 6s or the droid thingy ) glued to your waste of a hand with that under-utelised neck bent down waiting for a buzz, a beep, or some irrelevent Justin Beiber tweet. This is the opposite of mental independence–this is total dependence and it really makes those robotic people look like, well, robotic people…!

Now for physical independence and its true meaning–Those in my posse have noted that when information is blathered out on the boobtube, the internet (you mean all that stuff is not always true…?), or the in-laws, and a person does no further investigation to find true truth and actual facts, that shows lack of physical independence and a total dependence on any so-called news to get your so-called facts that are mostly not so much…

The bottom line–open your eyes, look up and out at our beautiful way more than 6,000 year old world, think for yourself and speak, find and spread the truth. Simple…and at times I worry there are only a few of us left–Make yourselves known! Thank God our customers are the few and be proud of yourselves!

Till the next passion excites me, the Dave

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