Watching cooking shows is one of my favorite ways to relax: it’s an opportunity to learn about different cuisines and techniques, and the food always looks amazing! When the Safer at Home order went into place and I found myself cooking at home more often, it seemed like a great opportunity to draw on my love of cooking shows to learn from the many talented chefs cooking in the Near West Side.

Made in the Near West Side is a weekly cook-along social media series that highlights the chefs and restaurants that are unique to our neighborhood while also providing additional revenue to restaurants through the sale of meal kits. This is a crazy time for small businesses and restaurants. In many ways, restaurants are the backbone of our community – they employ our neighbors, they are places for us to gather, and they bring in new visitors. We want to do everything we can to help make sure they weather this storm.

The cooking demos also serve another important function — they make for great, family-friendly projects while we’re all staying Safer at Home. Right now, a lot of people are looking for new ways to spend their time, and cooking is a creative outlet for all ages.

Lisa Kaye Catering kicked off the Made in the Near West Side series with a great tutorial on how to make her white lasagna and also offered take-and-bake lasagna to go. [Author’s note: it was delicious!]. In the upcoming weeks NWSP will feature Five O’Clock Steakhouse, Daddy’s Soul Food, Triciclo Peru, and 2Mesa — and more restaurants and makers will be added throughout the month of June.

The Near West Side has a rich history and our culinary landscape reflects that, from well-established institutions like Five O’Clock Steakhouse to Rev-Up winners like Triciclo Peru that are in their fledgling stages. Regardless of what these upcoming weeks hold for us, it’s important that we continue to find ways to support the businesses that make the Near West Side a great place to live, work, and play. Check out Near West Side Partners’ Facebook page every Wednesday at 4 PM to watch our chefs cook and be sure to try one of their meal kits. It is a delicious way to support small business!

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