In the pioneering culinary era of the mid-twentieth century, Chicago chef Alma Lach was one of the primary figures who transformed traditional American cooking. As a chef, cookbook author, and food consultant, Alma was widely known for her bestselling book, Cooking à la Cordon Bleu (1970), later revised and published by the University of Chicago Press as Hows and Whys of French Cooking (1974). A graduate of the Cordon Bleu school in Paris (Grand Diplôme, 1956), she was also a member of the Chevalier du Tastevin and Les Dames d’Escoffier. She authored cookbooks for children, co-hosted a cooking show on public television, developed menus for travel and corporate clients, and invented kitchen tools such as the Curly Dog Cutting Board.
Lach also collected more than 3,000 cookbooks reflecting her broad range of interests in food preparation and dining, from classic French and Chinese cuisine to cookbooks popularizing the foods of American ethnic groups and recipe books produced by churches and volunteer groups. This exhibition will explore Alma Lach’s wide-ranging culinary career and display selections from her fascinating collection of cookbooks.