Eli’s Kicks off Summer with Two Chicago Celebrations

This past Friday, Eli’s was honored to be served at two different celebrations in Chicago. One was an event for the Gene Siskel Film Center honoring actor, director and producer Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo was the recipient of the Siskel Center’s Renaissance Award for his achievements in the film industry. The event was hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago Hotel and Eli’s was happy to give the attendees our new Salted Caramel Pretzel Bars as dessert. Eli’s Cheesecake was also served at the Above the Rails Gala, the opening party for The 606. The 606 is a new trail in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood that has been in development for the past decade.  The party was held the night before the public opening of the trail and brought together Chicago community leaders to celebrate the innovative new trail. Eli’s was thrilled to be served at both festivities and we look forward to all the rest of our summer events.

Eli’s gave out our new Salted Caramel Pretzel bars alongside another Chicago legend, Fannie May Candies.

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Eli’s Cheesecake President Marc Schulman and his wife, Maureen Schulman with honoree Mark Ruffalo.

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Graduation Day 2015 at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences with Commencement Speaker, Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator for the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA

Graduation Day at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences is always a special day for me and for all of us at Eli’s Cheesecake. It was on Friday, June 11, 2014 that the Eli’s Cheesecake Blog debuted with graduation at CHSAS featuring World Food Prize Winner Catherine Bertini. The next day, I had the privilege of giving the commencement speech at Kendall College; the last graduation in Evanston before this institution moved to its impressive campus on Goose Island in Chicago.

After being involved with CHSAS for over 25 years, I have watched a generation of future leaders graduate from the School and it is always so inspiring to participate in the  ceremony to hear from the global leaders in food and agriculture who have joined us in the celebration and to see the students recognized.

This is also the 4th year that Eli’s Cheesecake has presented scholarships to graduating seniors. This year’s recipients of the Aaron Easter Memorial Scholarship, given in the name of the late son of Robert and Cheryl Easter, were Alana Chose and Alyssa Pedersen, who will be attending the College of ACES at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. The Robert A. Hatoff & Eli M. Schulman Scholarship is given in the name of our Founder and his dearest friend, Robert Hatoff, and was awarded to Grace Mikrut attending Illinois State University and Noor Ahmand, attending the University of Illinois Chicago

In 2015 we welcomed Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service for the United States Department of Agriculture. A group of us from the School has visited Dr. Jacobs-Young at the USDA in January of 2012 and she gave remarks at the commencement in June of 2012 when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was the speaker.  Today, Dr. Jacobs-Young serves as the Administrator of the ARS which has an annual budget of $1.1 billion and has over 2,700 employees with more than a hundred locations nationally and around the world. ARS works to ensure that Americans have reliable, adequate supplies of high-quality food and other agricultural products and is a significant partner with the land grant colleges nationally.

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Dr. Jacobs-Young took a tour of the  six career paths at CHSAS before the graduation ceremony with the Top 10 graduates. Here Noor Ahmad, co-valedictorian and FFA President explains the Food Science Career Path.

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The Top 10 graduates of the CHSAS Class of 2015 give a tour of the animal science career path and the CHSAS Farm to Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service of USDA.

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The CHSAS Graduating Class of 2015.

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After the graduation ceremony, Dr. Jacobs-Young is congratulated by Rouhy Shalabi, Business Advisory Board Co-Chair and LSC Chair, Dr. Laurie Kramer, Associate Dean of the College of ACES at the University of Illinois, Marc Schulman, President of Eli’s Cheesecake and Co-Chair of the Advisory Board, Lucille Shaw, Assistant Principal and Sheila Fowler, Agricultural Department Chair.

 

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Dr. Jacobs-Young, Lucille Shaw, and Marc Schulman congratulate the recipients of the Robert A. Hatoff & Eli M. Schulman Scholarships, Grace Mikrut on the left and Noor Ahmad on the right.

 

 

Eli’s heading to 2015 IDDBA Show

This weekend, Eli’s will be heading to the 2015 IDDBA Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA! The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association hosts this annual expo to bring together buyers, merchandisers and executives from across the nation for networking opportunities, industry insights and the exchange of ideas. Eli’s will be at booth #4633 showcasing a wide variety of our desserts, featuring our new Salted Caramel Pretzel Bar, Strawberry Topped Cheesecake and our 5” Original Plain. We look forward to learning from all the educational opportunities as well as sharing our legendary quality with other industry professionals from across the country.

 

Come check out our booth at the IDDBA show!

Come check out our booth at the IDDBA show!

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Eli’s Excited to be Included in Mayor’s Stanley Cup Wager

This morning, the mayoral wager was placed on the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals and once again Eli’s is extremely excited to be included in on the action. This year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel bet Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn 122 slices of Eli’s cheesecake along with Giordano’s best deep dish pizza and other Chicago classics. Mayor Emanuel chose to bet 122 slices specifically to honor each year of the Stanley Cup. Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the playoff wager one of his “favorite Chicago traditions” and it is one of ours as well. We here at Eli’s look forward to seeing the Hawks bring home another victory.

UPDATE: Congressman Mike Quigley has also bet his Florida colleagues an Eli’s Cheesecake on the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helped finalize the wager with a “puck drop” on the steps of the Capitol Building.

 

 

Eli's shows their Blackhawks pride

Eli’s shows their Blackhawks pride

 

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Cheesecake Day Tradition Continues at Capitol

Last Wednesday, the Illinois State Comptroller’s Office celebrated one of their favorite traditions, Cheesecake Day. Cheesecake day was founded by the late former state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to bring people together during the final days of session at the Capitol. Now, 12 years later, it is still celebrated (now with current Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger) and Eli’s is still proud to donate cheesecakes to the beloved celebration. This year, Eli’s gave cases of our Original Plain Cheesecake, our Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and our ever-popular Red Velvet Cheesecake. We at Eli’s are pleased that everyone enjoyed themselves and can’t wait to return next year!

 

Photos courtesy of State Comptroller Leslie Munger

Photos courtesy of State Comptroller Leslie Munger

Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger and staff enjoy slices of cheesecake

Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger and staff enjoy slices of cheesecake

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Eli’s Proud to Participate in A Taste That Matters

Yesterday, Eli’s attended the 4th Annual A Taste That Matters, a culinary event benefitting the Northern Illinois Food Depository. The Northern Illinois Food Depository works to provide nutritious meals to people in need in Boone, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago counties.  The event, presented by Jewel-Osco, is the organizations largest fundraiser with more than 600 guests in attendance. Guests enjoyed a variety of food provided by the local businesses and an expansive silent auction.  Eli’s provided an array of desserts including our Cherry, Apple, and Dulce de Leche Mini Pies and other bite sized treats including our 7 Layer Bar, Salted Caramel Bar, Pecan Bar and Brownies. We also served tiny slices of our Original Plain cheesecake with two different topping options – a Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and our Housemade Strawberry Coulis. Eli’s was thrilled to be a part of such a fun event. If you would like to learn more about the organization, please click here.

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A Taste That Matters was sponsored by a variety of leading food and beverage providers in the Northern Illinois area.

Eli’s served a variety of our mini desserts for attendees to sample.

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Eli’s Cheesecake Introduces New Products at NRA

Eli’s Cheesecake has been exhibiting at the National Restaurant Show (NRA Show) from the very first show in 1985.  It is very exciting and rewarding to connect with our customers, friends and business associates.  With over 60 years in the food service industry, we are proud of our heritage and happy to serve our customers with the high quality desserts decorated by hand and made with the finest ingredients.

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This year, we introduced trendy flavors like a Mini Dulce de Leche Pie and Salted Caramel Pretzel Bar.  Adding to our line of cheesecakes, we debuted a small, 5″ round Original Plain Cheesecake, as well as a newly-formulated Strawberry Topped Cheesecake in both a 5″ and 9″ round. For more information, food service distributors and operators are invited to our new foodservice industry website http://foodservice.elicheesecake.com/

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This year, Chicago Chef Graham Elliot visited our booth! We also had Students from Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) at the booth to share their honey story with the attendees.  CHSAS is one of the few urban agricultural high schools in the country.   Eli’s new Honey Mediterranean Cheesecakes is made with honey from CHSAS.

We also were honored to be visited by Brian Margulis, of Creative Hospitality Associates, and the Restaurant Association of Singapore who were in town for the NRA Show.  The group visited our Bakery Cafe on the northwest side of Chicago, where they learned about Eli’s history, products, and community outreach from Marc Schulman, president, and Debbie Marchok, VP of Marketing.

We look forward to another exciting NRA Show in 2016!

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Eli’s Cheesecake Welcomes Food Science Students & Eli’s Scholars from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences for Job Shadow 2015

The Job Shadow Activities for students at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences is scheduled each year to begin on Ground Hog Day, February 2nd, and continue through the Spring Term. For the 2nd time in 4 years, the kickoff rally was postponed as a major storm hit Chicago.

At Eli’s Cheesecake, we schedule our Job Shadow visit by food science students for early May to insure the snow has ended and today was a most beautiful day. Also, May 7th, is the Anniversary of the passing away of our Founder, Eli M. Schulman, and it is a most fitting day to spend with students and also to honor the graduates receiving the scholarships Eli’s Cheesecake is presenting this year.

 

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Jeff Anderson, our Vice President of Purchasing and Operations is the Organizer of the Activities. After a continental breakfast and introduction to Eli’s History and Products by Debbie Marchok, our VP of Marketing, the students participate in a short program on GMP’s and then put on their bakery garb. After a tour of the Bakery by Jeff, each student, as well as their advisors, decorated an Eli’s Cheesecake to take home. After that, the students enjoyed lunch outside under Eli’s Big Top.

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Congratulations to the Eli’s Cheesecake Scholars for 2015 graduating from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. From left to right: Jeff Anderson (Eli’s); Lucille Shaw (CHSAS); Jolene Worthington (Eli’s); Grace Mikrut (attending Illinois State University) and Noor Ahmad (attending the University of Illinois at Chicago), both recipients of the Eli M. Schulman & Robert Hatoff Scholarship; and Alyssa Pederson and Alana Chase, both recipients of the Aaron Easter Scholarship and attending the College of Agriculture, Consumer & Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Dr. Charles Guengerich (President Emeritus Wright College); and Marc Schulman (Eli’s).

Eli’s Cheesecake a hit at the James Beard Awards Welcome Reception

When it was announed last year that the James Beard Awards would be leaving New York for the first time ever and coming to Chicago, Eli’s wanted to be involved. Thanks to the Illinois Restaurant Association, we were featured on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at the Welcoming Reception at Soho House Chicago. The event was packed with over 600 in attendance, including the big names like Rick Bayless and Andrew Zimmern. Eli’s was honored to be able to provide the Celebratory Cheesecake, which became the most photographed part of the event. The guests couldn’t believe it was real and that they could take a slice home. Along with the big cake, Eli’s also provided two specialty cheesecakes – a goats milk cheesecake with huckleberries and almond streusel and a Belgian chocolate cheesecake with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. This was a great way for us to showcase Eli’s Cheesecake’s place in the Chicago Food Scene and our commitment to always being at the cutting edge of Desserts.

Maureen Schulman (right) with Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation

Maureen Schulman (right) with Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation

Eli's mini specialty cheesecakes at the James Beard Awards welcome reception

Eli’s mini specialty cheesecakes at the James Beard Awards welcome reception

The celebratory cheesecake

The celebratory cheesecake

 

 

Eli’s Cheesecake delighted to host visit by Sarah Sewall, the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights of the State Department

At Eli’s Cheesecake, we are very proud of our long time partnership with RefugeeOne, the largest full service refugee settlement agency in Illinois. Without RefugeeOne, we would would have never met Elias Kasongo, who came to Eli’s Cheesecake in 1994 after being held for 4 years in a refugee camp in Zambia after leaving his home in the Congo. Over those years, Elias has gone from the dish room to becoming Purchasing & Materials Manager with a degree from Northeastern Illinois University, having a beautiful family and now a home owner.

Elias’ story is compelling and we so honored to get a call on Friday that a distinguished visitor to Chicago, Sarah Sewall, the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights wanted to stop by Eli’s to meet Elias. Under Secretary Sewall was in Chicago to speak about atrocity prevention to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She also visited RefugeeOne (where she learned about Elias and Eli’s Cheesecake) and met with the leadership of World Business Chicago and Chicago Sister Cities International.

At Eli’s Cheesecake, Under Secretary Sewall and her colleague, Virginia Blakeman, were able to meet with Elias and  with Vlora Morina who came to Chicago and Eli’s Cheesecake from Kosovo after the War that had brought so much devastation to that area. Marc Schulman, President of Eli’s Cheesecake, and son the Founder, Eli M. Schulman, was able to share a presentation of the history of Eli’s Cheesecake in Chicago including its Big Cakes for Presidential Inaugurals, creating the 50th Birthday Cakes for both Secretary Clinton and President Obama and the company’s strong commitment to the community including the RefugeeOne Partnership.

 

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Virginia Blakeman of the State Department, Elias Kasongo and Vlora Morina, both of Eli’s Cheesecake, Sarah Sewall, the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights of the State Department and Eli’s President, Marc Schulman

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Under Secretary Sewall listens to Elias Kasongo’s story of coming to Chicago from a Refugee Camp in the Congo and achievements at Eli’s Cheesecake.

 

 

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Vlora Morina speaks with Virginia Blakeman of the State Department about her work at Eli’s Cheesecake and her story of coming to Chicago from Kosovo.