Go Away With … Steven Raichlen

For his latest book, “Planet Barbecue” (Workman Publishing, $35), master griller Steven Raichlen traveled to 60 countries to see for himself how grilling is done in places such as South Korea, Uruguay and South Africa. With his first-hand knowledge, he put together more than 300 barbecue recipes that are eclectic yet basic enough for the average home griller to follow. The 57-year-old chef describes his life as spending “half the year in Miami, half the year in Martha’s Vineyard and half the year on airplanes. No wonder I’m so tired.”

Go Away With … Jill Litwin

When a friend asked Jill Litwin to help her make healthy and tasty meals for her child, Litwin put together a few yummy, kid-friendly dishes. These ideas became the starting point for Peas of Mind, an organic frozen food company catering to kids who’ve outgrown standard jarred baby food. Based in San Francisco, the energetic 35-year-old CEO loves to travel, whether it’s to nearby Sonoma or to the beaches of Jamaica. Litwin talks about some of her favorite hotels, why she always travels with a scarf and a custard shop in Greenfield, Wis., that makes her mouth water.

The spice of the Caribbean: Flavors of jerk chicken, peppers a festival draw

The Chicago Carifete celebrated its 13th anniversary Saturday in Hyde Park with music, costumes and a parade. But it was the mouth-watering Caribbean dishes that attracted some of the fest’s most loyal attendees. “We love the food because it tastes really authentic,” says Arlene Levels of Indianapolis, who traveled with three bus loads of foodies for this year’s Carifete. “And it tastes really authentic because the vendors are all from the Caribbean. This isn’t something you can get in a mall.” She and her friends Carla Lewis and Baretta Shannon began their day eating Jamaican beef patties—a dish traditionally made with beef, hot peppers, thyme and paprika stuffed into a doughy pocket.

Celebrity restaurants

Oprah Winfrey couldn’t do it. Michael Jordan had to change his game plan. And even Wolfgang Puck hightailed it back to Los Angeles after his restaurant failed in Chicago. Could it be that the Second City actually is more persnickety about celebrity-owned eateries than its East and West Coast counterparts? Quite possibly, when it comes to restaurants owned by celebrities — whether they’re athletes or superstar chefs.

Cooking with the stars

Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa aren’t the first two names to pop up when you’re think of potential hosts for a cooking show. The photogenic real-life couple have both had some success in the music world, but neither is a professionally trained chef. That’s OK, says the Food Network, which has been making an aggressive effort to include programming that’s as entertaining as it is instructional. Operating under the credo that you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in culinary arts to be able to show people how to saute and flambe, the Food Network has added the rocking duo to its stable of Emeril, Bobby Flay, Iron Chefs and the rest.

The stars stay in the Zone with their own chefs

Jennifer Aniston does it. So do Madonna and Demi Moore. No, we’re not talking about the latest yoga craze, but rather the Zone diet, which promotes eating 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent dietary fat in each meal.

100% pure Rachael Ray

Petite Rachael Ray looks exactly the way she does on her Food Network shows, “30-Minute Meals” and “$40 a Day.” But even she’s a little surprised when–as she leaves a Starbucks in downtown Chicago–a man stares at her cup of java and shouts, “Hey, Rachael! Is that on your $40 budget?” It’s not.

Nigella Lawson: Another British invasion

Good English food was an oxymoron until the Brits invaded America. Again. While they’re barging through our kitchens this time, we’re not so hot to keep them out. It helps that the latest imports such as Jamie Oliver, that hottie on the Food Network’s “The Naked Chef,” are easy on the eye. These days foodies are raising eyebrows at the sexy star of “Nigella Bites,” the delectable Nigella Lawson. She’s slim with model good looks, and this recent widow is raising a family without complaint or a ladle out of place.

The new men of food: Tyler Florence, Bob Blumer

Back in the day, celebrity chefs started and ended with Julia Child and her messy but amusing style. But thanks to the advent of cable television in general and the Food Network in particular, the faces of a new breed of hot-shot chefs are becoming familiar. Joining the ranks of Emeril Lagasse, Ming Tsai and those poker-faced Iron Chefs are a couple of young guns–Tyler Florence and Bob Blumer.

Sushi Wabi is artistry on a roll

I’d never really thought of sushi as a to-go option like I do with Chinese, Thai or Italian. But when you’re craving an uncluttered, fresh and filling meal, sushi – bite-sized creations based on flavored rice and other ingredients, often raw fish – makes a delicious change of pace from a burger and fries.

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