Pulse: Food Network chef shares expertise

Dr. George McArdle (second from left), his daughter Tracy (left), White Sox legend Ron Kittle (center) and John McArdle (right) enjoy the tailgate party last year before the inaugural Non-Smoking Lung Cancer Awareness Day at U.S. Cellular Field.  |  Submitted
Taylor Fountain, 17, Waubonsie Valley senior spent the day shadowing Dr. Kathy Birkett, thanks to an innovative program offered at through the District 204 high school.  |  Submitted
Kathy Birkett

IT for food

Food Network chef shares expertise

Fans of the Food Network most likely know muscular restaurateur and chef Robert Irvine. He has pulled off his fair share of rescue efforts in his show, “Restaurant: Impossible.” But Irvine’s expertise also includes a wealth of information about marketing and how technology is indispensable for new and existing restaurants to compete in today’s market.

Irvine will share that knowledge during two visits today in the Chicago area. He’ll talk about the role of technology in the food industry and offer a private cooking demonstration at the Pirch home center, 642 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook.

Later today, Irvine will speak with Comcast Business employees at the company’s Naperville office, 1415 W. Diehl Road.

Jack Segal, Comcast vice president of corporate communications, said the group “has had a relationship with Irvine for a while,” and said “he is the perfect spokesman for the food industry.”

“Robert has a lot of expertise as a chef and a restaurant owner, but he also knows how to run a business and make it successful using technology,” Segal said. “People see this big, muscular guy who keeps himself in good, physical condition, but he also understands a lot about nutrition and how what you eat relates to health.

“And on the business side of things, he also knows how important technology is in terms of getting the word out about your business and getting customers back.”

Irvine’s visit is sponsored by Comcast.

Who’s the boss?

Superintendent gets shadow for a day

Ever wonder what it would be like to be the superintendent of your school district? Taylor Fountain doesn’t have to wonder anymore.

The 17-year-old Waubonsie Valley senior spent the day shadowing Dr. Kathy Birkett, thanks to a program offered through the District 204 high school.

“During my shadowing experience, I was able to learn a lot about Dr. Birkett,” said Fountain, who plans to pursue a special education degree at Aurora University. “It showed me how much she does for us as head of the district and all of the responsibilities she has to take care of.”

After spending what she describes as a “packed day,” Fountain learned not only about career opportunities but about Birkett as well.

“Dr. Birkett may have a lot of work on her hands and a lot of important things to deal with, but that does not mean she isn’t fun,” she said. “I had a wonderful day with her and am honored that I was able to shadow her. It is not often that someone gets a chance like this and I will never forget it.”

The feeling was mutual.

“My conversations with Taylor were invaluable to me as I love to hear a student’s perspective,” Birkett said. “I enjoyed sharing my daily life with her and gained as much as I gave. Anything that I can do, even one student at a time, to encourage a future educator, I will do.”

That’s a win-win.

Big Break

10-year-old appears in ‘Love Story’

Adia Clark Lay ought to be in pictures. Now she is.

The 10-year-old member of the Young Naperville Singers recently was cast in the upcoming movie, “Love Story: A Musical Movie.”

“It was my first movie role, so it’s a big deal,” said Clark Lay, of Oswego. “Although it was a featured extra role, it felt like so much more than that. I enjoyed the process and am really grateful for the opportunity.”

For her part, the fourth-grader is in a scene where she is a beauty contestant who performs a song and dance routine. But, you’ll have to wait to see it. Details regarding the release date for the film are not known at this time.

Good game, good cause

Focus on lung cancer, nonsmoking kind

Those looking for a good game, a good time and a good cause will find that and more at U.S. Cellular Field when the Janice McArdle Cancer Research Foundation teams up with the Chicago White Sox for the second Non-Smoking Lung Cancer Awareness Day on June 10.

“We want to get the word out about the nonsmoking lung cancer,” said Dr. George McArdle, of Naperville. “We hope people can join us for the game and hopefully raise some funds for the foundation.”

McArdle started the Janice McArdle Cancer Research Foundation, “Jannie’s Hope,” in honor of his wife, Jannie, a vibrant and active non-smoker who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2008. Jannie was a “giant Sox fan,” so pairing with the South Side team was a logical choice.

Besides the game, McArdle is hosting a pre-game tailgating party in lot A adjacent to the ballpark. It is a family-friendly event, so bring kids, friends and neighbors to celebrate Jannie McArdle and give hope to others. There will be complimentary food, beer, wine and soft drinks.

Tickets ($22 outfield reserved) must be purchased through Jannie’s Hope to have the proceeds donated to the Janice McArdle Cancer Research Foundation. For more information, visit

Dream come true

Neuqua welcomes Chicago Symphony

Those wanting to experience a world-class symphony need look no further than Neuqua Valley High School this weekend.

Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be in town Sunday, May 18, for a special family concert performance designed to captivate children ages 6 to 13.

“This is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in our house; we are star struck,” said Charles Staley, Neuqua Valley fine arts chairperson. “Bringing the best orchestra in the world to our community is a dream come true. And, the fact that the concert is intended to respectfully introduce the target audience (children ages 6 to 13) to one of the greatest composers in history makes this concert almost too good to be true.”

Staley said much like Leonard Bernstein’s concerts for young people 50 years ago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Edwin Outwater will introduce each musical selection to the audience to guide them in their listening.

“Part of his discourse will help the audience identify the key characteristics of the music that make it unmistakably Beethoven,” he said. “There is no question that this historically monumental music played by the world class Chicago Symphony Orchestra will inspire children to seek out more Beethoven and stumble upon Brahms, Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn, Copland, and on and on.”

Performances are set for 1:30 and 3:15 p.m. Sunday. Special preview materials will be emailed to all ticketholders before the concert. Tickets ($15 and $25) for the 1:30 concert are available online here. Tickets ($15 and $25) for the 3:15 concert are available online here.

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