Margaret (Peg) Kern has been fulfilling her clients’ travel dreams since 2004 when she joined The International Kitchen as a tour coordinator after leaving academia. She and her business partner bought The International Kitchen in 2015 and have expanded the company to include more trips, new destinations, custom itineraries, and a robust food and travel blog.

Raised in a small town in Ohio, Peg always wanted to see the world. She started doing so by heading to New York City for college, where she graduated cum laude from Columbia University. One of the highlights of college for her was a junior year spent in Rome, Italy, studying Italian literature and art at the University of Rome la Sapienza. Her interest in travel blossomed into an intense and enduring love for Italy.

After returning to Rome for a year (and enjoying work in a couple of Roman
eateries), she headed to Chicago for graduate school. Peg received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian literature from the University of Chicago, graduating with honors, where she then taught for two years as part of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities.

By 2004 Peg was ready to leave academia behind to pursue other interests, and when she saw an ad for a boutique tour company that specialized in food-themed tours, she jumped at the chance to the join the team. That company was The International Kitchen, one of the premier providers of culinary vacations and food-themed travel since 1994.

Having lived for several years in Italy during the preceding decade, Peg was particularly keen to introduce travelers to the authentic Italy she knew and loved, but she quickly expanded her areas of expertise to include the rest of Europe, most notably France and Spain. She stepped back from the company for a few years to start a family but came back full force in 2015 when she assumed co-ownership of the business. She has instilled the travel bug in her sons and enjoys traveling with the whole family to check out cooking classes and food tours in destinations around the world.

Peg’s experience in traveling and living in Europe has made her well suited to plan trips for her culinary travelers, and she couples that with years of experience in restaurants and the food service industry. Although her work in the food industry began inauspiciously in high school at the local McDonald’s, she has worked at restaurants and bars in the US and Rome, and worked as a private chef on Long Island.

A consummate foodie, Peg enjoys cooking for her family, entertaining friends at lavish dinner parties, and judging her sons’ home-cooking competitions. Some of her favorite food activities include perfecting her bone broth, making bread from her 30-year old Italian Mother yeast, and exploring the many ethnic cuisines so wonderfully available in Chicago.

Peg’s favorite destination remains Italy, including the regions of Lazio, Sardinia, Campania, Tuscany, Umbria, Sicily, Abruzzo, Lombardy, the Veneto, and Piedmont – to name a few.

Her philosophy when it comes to writing about food and travel is to share what she knows and to explore what she loves.


Posted

June 1, 2020

By Peg Kern

Supplí al Telefono - Recipe for Fried Roman Rice Balls

Filed Under  Recipe

One of our favorite types of Roman street food to eat are Supplí al telefono, a type of fried rice ball that is very like the more widely known arancini, which hail from Sicily. Supplî are a perfect and hearty little snack, consisting of leftover risotto formed into an oblong ball, stuffed with cheese, and then breaded and fried. You can find supplí throughout Rome in local "Pizza al taglio"… Read
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Posted

May 20, 2020

By Peg Kern

Mussels with White Wine (Cozze al Vino Bianco)

Filed Under  Recipe

We love mussels. We love them with a clear broth or a tomato broth, baked or steamed, stuffed - even raw. We like them with an Italian flair, or French, Spanish, Thai, or Mexican - we pretty much just like mussels. I've eaten mussels so many times during my travels to Italy and France in particular, that they have become a favorite dish of mine when traveling. You can find… Read
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Posted

May 13, 2020

By Peg Kern

Worry-Free Bookings with TIK

Filed Under  What's Up at TIK

Times are strange these days, aren't they? People are hunkered down in their homes, worried about their jobs, anxiously watching the news, and even homeschooling their children. The only thing that seems certain in the age of COVID-19 is that right now everything seems so very uncertain. All this makes it hard to plan for travel. We have many, many clients who want to travel, for whom it is a… Read
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Posted

May 8, 2020

By Peg Kern

Recipe for Rice Pudding

Filed Under  Recipe

Rice pudding is at heart a type of porridge like any other. It incorporates a grain (rice), a liquid (usually milk or milk and water), a sweetener (sugar, honey), and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, ginger). It can include fresh fruit, fruit zest, dried fruit, nuts, and egg (which gives it a custard-y texture). I've read it hearkens back to Tudor times in Great Britain, but it is popular where… Read
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Posted

May 1, 2020

By Peg Kern

What Are Crêpes? And a Recipe for Savory Crêpes

Filed Under  Food History, Recipe

What is a crêpe? Many cultures have a form of pancake, and the French are no exception. crêpes are a thin, unleavened, and can be served in a multitude of ways! They originally hail from the Brittany region of France, where they are made of Buckwheat flour. The recipe below, like many others, uses wheat flour, but if you are gluten free, using a buckwheat flour is a great alternative.… Read
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Posted

April 27, 2020

By Peg Kern

Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Sage

Filed Under  Recipe

We love pasta in almost any shape or size, and homemade egg pasta, or "pasta all'uovo," is one of our favorites, and one you will probably learn during our cooking vacations in Italy. There are versions of this pasta made from Tuscany to Puglia, from Sicily to the Veneto. You can use the same pasta recipe for lasagna noodles, or cut the pasta sheets to make long noodles of different… Read
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