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

August 6, 2020

By Peg Kern

Favorite Cookbooks and Why We Love Them

Filed Under  What's Up at TIK

What's the best cookbook? Do you prefer one that covers all the bases, or do you like specialized cookbooks, one for bread, one for desserts, one for appetizers? Do you like cuisine-specific cookbooks, one for Greek food and a different one for Italian? I confess, I'm all of the above. I love cookbooks. Even though I, like most people, find a lot of recipes online (heck, I post a ton… Read
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Posted

July 27, 2020

By Peg Kern

Travel Inspirations: The Lavender of Provence (Plus a Recipe)

Filed Under  Destination Feature, Recipe

Every summer tourists flock to Provence to see a sea of beautiful, purple fields ripping in the breeze. The lavender fields of Provence are so famous that most years you need to book well in advance if you want the chance to see these gorgeous blossoms in bloom. This year is of course an exception – if you could get to France (and those of you in Europe can!), you… Read
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Posted

July 15, 2020

By Peg Kern

Spanakopita from a Greek Cooking Vacation

Filed Under  Food History, Recipe

As one of the iconic dishes of Greek cuisine, most people have seen, and even tried, spanakopita at some point in their lives. This tasty savory pie is served at weddings, parties, and banquets throughout the world, and it's easy to see why: they are delicious, easy to prepare as a hand-hand pie, and able to prepared ahead of time, as they tasty eaten either hot or at room temperature.… Read
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Posted

July 7, 2020

By Peg Kern

Travel Inspirations: Visiting Rome on a Cooking Vacation with TIK

Filed Under  Destination Feature

We are often asked what our favorite destinations for the best cooking vacations are, and as I explained in our recent video (see below!), that is a hard question to answer. But in an effort to inspire you, we are going to feature some of our personal favorites. For me, there is only one place to start: Rome! I have always been of the opinion that whatever part of Italy… Read
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Posted

June 24, 2020

By Peg Kern

Meringue Roulade with Strawberries

Filed Under  Recipe

We love baking in our house, and when we discovered this tasty meringue dessert watching an episode of Britain's Best Home Cook we knew we knew we had to try it. I think it's originally a Mary Berry recipe, but we've adapted it slightly based on the ingredients we had at hand - and in the end only needed 5 ingredients to make it! The advantage of a meringue roulade… Read
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Posted

June 19, 2020

By Peg Kern

Recipe for Salt Cod Fritters from our Spain Cooking Vacations

Filed Under  Food History, Recipe

In honor of our new virtual cooking class in Madrid offered with our friend and partner Mireia, we're exploring one of our favorite Spanish tapas dishes: salt cod fritters. Salt cod has a long history in Europe, including in the Mediterranean basin. It might seem odd to some - where this so much fresh seafood and fish to be harvested from the sea, why develop a culinary tradition around dried,… Read
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