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Odor Brings Boot for Outdoor Food Making

The odor from the outdoor food preparation going on at a business called Home Bakery and Festivals in Chicago was so foul that neighbors began calling local newspapers.

In a backyard, three women were working in the heat of Chicago’s summer — one breaking eggs, one using a hose to clean out a mixture from a bucket, and the third shredding potatoes with a machine.

A probe into Bakery and Festivals by the Chicago Tribune brought a pledge by the city of Chicago Monday to begin looking into the practices of a business that is called “a fixture in the close-knit Polish delicacy scene” in the Windy City.

Chicago does not allow much outdoor food preparation. Exceptions are the Taste of Chicago, the rooftops that provide views of Wrigley Field, and so-called supervised street festivals.

The twist at Bakery and Festivals is that it’s been doing both outdoor preparation in the Logan Square area, and then serving at outdoor festivals that occur almost every weekend during the summer.

Chicago has inspected the business, including three times before the current summer festival season got underway.  The city does acknowledge it has not kept up with all its outdoor preparation areas.

Dr. Cortland Lohff, who manages Chicago’s health inspectors, says Home Bakery and Festivals is going to have to bring its food making inside.

Owned by Peter Matyszewski, Home Bakery and Festivals has been a food vendor at the Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival, Taste of Polonia, and Chicago Pride Fest, among others.

The outdoor food production team members were working among flies, without hair nets or plastic gloves, cracking eggs and shredding potatoes for potato pancakes. 

To the Chicago Tribune, Matyszewski acknowledged knowing outdoor food preparation is contrary to Chicago’s food code.  He insisted his food is safe.

Home Bakery and Festivals has been open since 2004, and typically operates from May to October.

© Food Safety News