Eat + Drink

Introducing Chow Town, The Star’s new food blog

Updated: 2013-05-01T00:41:19Z


The Kansas City Star

Welcome to our table — and our new food blog, Chow Town.

Whenever I’m asked what I do (whether at a cocktail party or a PTA meeting), my answer is usually met with an audible sigh soon followed by: “Oh! That’s my dream job!”

True, not many people get to spend their days (and nights and weekends) reporting (OK, and eating and drinking) their way through their city. Two decades ago when I started the job, I never dreamed that Kansas City would become a place where you could chow down on everything from burnt ends to foraged henbit, a ruffly edible green with a nutty taste that grows in backyards.

In the line of food editor/restaurant critic duty, I’ve racked up what the newspaper’s editor refers to as “bona fides”: I’ve taken a semester of culinary classes at Johnson County Community College; I’ve earned Kansas City Barbeque Society judging certification; I’ve interviewed such cultural icons as Julia Child, Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Pollan and Anthony Bourdain.

And through my reporting I’ve helped to push our local food scene into the national spotlight.

Now we are adding a more personal spin to The Star’s trademark food reporting with the addition of a blog. I imagined this space as the perfect place for behind-the-scenes snippets from the farm, kitchen, garden and bar, all delivered with a bit more attitude and voice.

As the curator of Chow Town, I have gathered some of The Star’s top journalists, as well as a hungry community of guest food and drink experts, including chefs, bartenders, cookbook authors, a barbecue expert, the manager of a farmers market, a culinary student and a personal chef.

Their job? To offer up a daily diet of juicy, meaty and delicious tidbits gleaned from all corners of our ever-expanding culinary scene.

So whether you’re a home cook or a restaurant gourmet, a wine enthusiast or a college student on a beer budget, a fan of food trucks or a culinary armchair traveler, we’re ready to share the most comprehensive and authoritative take on all things edible.

Through our posts, you’ll glean tips on ingredients, find new recipes and learn cooking techniques straight from the pros. We’ll keep you up to date on restaurant news, and we’ll introduce you to food personalities, including rising star chefs, local farmers and artisan producers. We’ll offer up home entertaining ideas, talk food politics and tell you what’s new on the supermarket shelf and our own dinner tables, all while keeping an eye on the latest culinary trends.

We love to eat. We love to socialize. We love to share. So pull up a seat, grab a fork and join the conversation. Watch for the blog to officially debut Wednesday, May 1.

Chow Town contributors

Jill Wendholt Silva is The Star’s James Beard award-winning food editor and restaurant critic. She has won more than 25 national writing awards, and her work has been included in the “Best Food Writing” anthologies of 2008 and 2011. She is the author of The Star’s “Eating for Life” cookbook, the mastermind behind Food Truck Friday and the past president of the Association of Food Journalists. She also makes a mean flan.

Sarah Gish is an enterprise reporter at The Kansas City Star. She helps produce dining and bar guides for Ink magazine, writes a monthly cooking story for The Star’s Food section, and tweets (mostly) about food @sarah_gish. She spends way too long picking out beer.

Cindy Hoedel writes for The Kansas City Star Magazine, grows food on a half acre of land in the Flint Hills, bakes her own bread, makes killer dill pickles and sand hill plum jelly, and writes about sustainability.

Steve Paul has been a writer and editor at The Kansas City Star since 1975 and regularly contributes restaurant reviews. He cooks a bit at home, has developed a decent knowledge of and experience with wine, and makes frequent forays into the taste and practice of craft cocktails.

Joyce Smith is an award-winning Kansas City Star business reporter covering restaurant news — openings, closings, expansions, lawsuits, trends, new products, new menu items, health code violations and more. When she isn’t thinking about the new restaurant to try next or getting a regular fix of a favorite menu item at an old standby, she can be found whipping something up in her kitchen — usually with cream, butter or chocolate among the ingredients.

Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at

Donna Cook is the owner of Rabbit Creek Gourmet Foods in Louisburg, Kan. She is also a master gardener and master food volunteer and is on the board of directors of the Home Baking Association.

Chef Kelli Daniels is owner and operator of Good You Mobile Vending and Catering. She is also chief dishwasher, a restaurant consultant, sister, daughter, a lover AND a fighter, metro cyclist, socialite, epicurean and drinker of strong coffee.

Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’ Hall of Flame. His most recent cookbook release is “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS and Wealth TV for 12 seasons, or almost 300 half-hour episodes produced on six continents. Eckert is also an avid wine collector and aficionado, having amassed a personal wine cellar of 2,000 bottles.

Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ award-winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”

Tyler Fox is a personal chef/event caterer who emphasizes a “nose-to-tail” cooking philosophy as well as vegan and local farm-to-table foods.

Doug Frost is a Kansas City-based wine and spirits writer and consultant who for decades has happily educated the public about all things drink. He is one of only three people in the world to have earned the coveted titles of master sommelier and master of wine. He contributes a monthly wine column for The Star’s Food section.

Chef Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother Nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.

Chef Jasper Mirabile of Jasper’s, a family-owned restaurant, is consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM .

Kathryn Moore (left) and Roxanne Wyss are known as the Electrified Cooks. They are cookbook authors and food consultants offering expertise on a variety of food topics. They are also small appliance experts, with cookbooks on slow cookers and mini-treat machines. Their blog, at, shares recipes with fans who know they have helped set the standard for clear, concise yet innovative recipes. They also develop recipes for industry clients, as well as The Star’s Eating for Life column. They are members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Les Dames de Escoffier.

Chelsey Parker left Burlington County, N.J., at the age of 19 to travel around Europe with the Air Force as an active duty enlisted member. She fell in love with many different cuisines and cooking styles during her two year stay. Now 24, she attends the Art Institutes International of Kansas City’s Culinary Program and cooks for Milbourn’s Food and Drink Co. in Kansas City.

Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. She also writes a nationally syndicated home column and the much beloved weekly Star column Come Into My Kitchen, featuring home cooks and their recipes.

Andrea Shores, raised by generations of cooks, farmers and green thumbs, is an enthusiastic eater and curious cook. She loves sharing her passion for local food by telling farmers’ and food purveyors’ stories. She is also the manager of the Brookside Farmers Market.

Lou Jane Temple’s road to food has been a long and winding one. First as a rock ’n’ roll caterer back stage to the stars, then with her own Kansas City-based catering company, Cafe Lulu, then as a food writer, novelist and private chef. She has had nine culinary mysteries and one cookbook published. She recently moved back to Kansas City and eagerly awaits the next chapter of her food career.

Kimberly Winter Stern — also known as Kim Dishes — is an award-winning freelance writer and national blogger from Overland Park and co-host with chef Jasper Mirabile of “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” each Saturday on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. She is inspired by the passion, creativity and innovation of chefs, restaurateurs and food artisans who make Kansas City a vibrant center of locavore cuisine.

Follow us on twitter @chowtownkc and @kcstarfood. Send comments to

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