The Business of Food with Steve Alexander | WGN Radio 720 - Chicago's Very Own-logo

The Business of Food with Steve Alexander | WGN Radio 720 - Chicago's Very Own

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The Cubs throw a change-up at fans

In the audio clip below, Hugo Perez, Chief Storyteller for ZENB, a Chicago plant-based food company, tells WGN’s Steve Alexander about the history-making partnership that is bringing pasta dishes to Wrigley Field. ZENB is “pasta you can feel good about” because of its healthier profile, and it’s gluten-free pasta that doesn’t have that tell-tale lack […]


Hundreds wait in line for a …. salad

In 2007, Georgetown University students had two choices of food: fresh, slow, and expensive, or unhealthy, fast, and cheap. Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru decided they could do better, not only for themselves but for others. After putting together a business plan, they found a former burger stand and began building their vision […]


Bullied and mocked as a kid, he now provides a safe space for small-town students

“I would never want somebody to go through what I did,” says Riley Hintzche, who waited until he was in college to come out as gay. His mother, upon being told, said, “What took you so long?” Hintzche is using his experiences growing up in a small Illinois farm town to create welcoming and safe […]


Winners Drink Milk … and pour it over their heads

In a tradition that dates back almost 100 years, the winner of the 2023 Indianapolis 500 stood in Victory Lane, and after putting a wreath of flowers around his head, he was handed a bottle of milk. He gulped down some of it and dumped the rest over his head. The milk was provided by […]


The cruelest disease?

After Chef Art Smith’s great aunt and grandmother died of Alzheimer’s and his mother began showing signs of the mind-robbing disease, he thought, “Art, here you have the capacity, you have the ability, to find the best” doctors and treatment. But the fame and wealth and connections he’d made as chef to the stars and […]


Free Italian Beef!

You can celebrate National Italian Beef Day (a holiday created in 2015 by Chicago’s Buona Beef) with free beefs from the first family of the sandwich. Al’s Beef, operated by the grandson of the man who invented the Italian Beef Sandwich in 1917, will be handing out free beefs Friday and Saturday the 26th and […]


Closed for the summer: Parts of the Illinois River

Repairs and renovations will close three locks and dams through September.


Six-figure entry level jobs

“If you got it, a truck brought it,” is a line from Al Pacino in The Irishman. It’s true. Nearly everything we consume, especially food, gets to us by truck. But there’s a huge shortage of truck drivers — roughly 80,000, according to Matt Hart of the Illinois Trucking Association — and in the audio […]


Wienermobile is axed. In other news, food trucks descend on Chicago’s Loop

While fans of the Wienermobile may mourn the loss of the iconic hotdog on wheels, other fans of food trucks are cheering the return of Chicago’s Food Truck Festival. Every Friday from now until October, eight to 12 trucks will gather from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. next to the Picasso sculpture featuring everything you […]


New restaurant pops up in Viagra Triangle

Chicago’s restaurant scene was shocked last fall when Tavern on Rush announced it was closing after more than 25 years of high-end food, drink and entertaining. On May 15, The Bellevue opened in the legendary space, which Executive Chef Marco Di Benedetto describes as “a great update, vibrant colors, a beautiful clean look.” In the […]


Will the CME Group leave Chicago?

Hours before Brandon Johnson was sworn in as Chicago’s 57th mayor, CME Group CEO Terry Duffy warned that the huge trading complex containing the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange would consider moving out of Chicago. Duffy, speaking on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast, was responding to campaign rhetoric from then-candidate Johnson that […]


Four and a half acres of candy and snacks

In the audio clip below, Carly Schildhaus of the Sweets & Snacks Expo tells WGN’s Steve Alexander that more than 800 of the world’s leading candy makers, snack makers, and up-and-coming innovators will show off new products over a four-and-a-half acre space in Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center. Retailers looking for the next big thing […]


It’s power outage season – Get your fridge and freezer ready

In the audio clip below, Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator Diane Reinhold gives some tips on preparing your refrigerator for power outages and tells WGN’s Steve Alexander how long food can last in the fridge and freezer with no electricity and when you should throw it out rather than risk illness.


Strip-till and cover cropping

Joining us for a second opportunity to teach non-farmers how conservation farming works, Illinois farmer Chase Brown tells WGN’s Steve Alexander in the audio clip below about cover crops and strip-till, and why he’s seeing more traditional tillage farmers adopting these relatively new methods of growing our food.


Black Farmers Week

In the audio clip below, Illinois State Representative Sonya Harper from Chicago’s South Side, and Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, talks about the state of Black farm ownership during Black Farmers’ Week, and a multi-million dollar effort to help undo some of the devastation done by a century of discrimination, a combination of systemic […]


What is no-till farming?

A Macon County farmer explains no-till farming and why some are resistant to it.


That salmon on your plate? It could be from Indiana

Most of the salmon we eat in the US is farmed, and most is imported. The pandemic supply chain breakdown showed how important domestic salmon farming is and an Indiana farm has benefited. At its farm in Albany, Indiana, AquaBounty grows salmon from eggs imported from its facility in Canada, and 18-20 months later market-ready […]


Take a walk for eating disorders

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the nation’s leading nonprofit for eating disorders, is organizing its Park Ridge, Illinois, NEDA Walk on April 30, 2023. In the audio clip below, walk coordinator Mary Allen tells WGN’s Steve Alexander how prevalent eating disorders are in the United States. She says a common misconception is that eating disorders affect […]


Free money

May 10th is the deadline for Illinois restaurants, hotels, and performing arts businesses to apply for $175 million in grants. In the audio clip below, Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, tells WGN’s Steve Alexander which restaurants can qualify for grants of $5,000 to $50,000, and how they can apply online.


Mouse burns down Illinois farm

Farmers face all sorts of risk. Weather is the most obvious, with prices, labor, and others often part of the conversation. In the audio clip below, farmer Dave Wulff tells WGN’s Steve Alexander about the February night something odd came knocking. A man was banging on his door at two in the morning because Dave’s […]