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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Jefferson Park’s Fearless Cooking Shop Closing After 3 Years

Financial strains from the pandemic and past city troubles that lost the business money are to blame for the closing.

Fearless Cooking at 4410 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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JEFFERSON PARK — A kitchenware shop that also offered cooking classes is closing at the end of the month after three years in the neighborhood.

Fearless Cooking, 4410 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Jefferson Park, is closing July 27, owner Catherine Siebel announced in a newsletter to subscribers and on social media Tuesday.

Financial strains are to blame, Siebel wrote.

The business opened in July 2019, four years after the owner and mother of two had the idea to curate cooking classes for beginners. She secured the location in 2018 but had to wait more than a year to open due to city inspections, paying rent on the space throughout the delay.

Then the pandemic hit, and Siebel pivoted to offering virtual classes, deliveries, appointments and concierge gift services while the shop was closed. She had to lay off her staff and balance homeschooling two children during the quarantine, she wrote in the newsletter.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Cooking and kitchen store Fearless Cooking, pictured in 2020, used to hold in-person cooking classes before the pandemic. The owner hopes to resume them soon as the city moves toward a full reopening.

Fearless Cooking reopened for in-store classes and shopping in late 2020. The shop has since offered summer cooking classes for kids, sales and cooking demonstrations types of cooking classes and techniques, but they were not enough to make up for lost income, she wrote.

The burden of the pandemic “has put us in pretty dire financial straits, and we haven’t been able to recover,” Siebel wrote.

Siebel did not immediately return requests for further comment.

“Here is the truth: I did the best I could. I didn’t hit every mark, by a long shot,” Siebel wrote. “Here is the other truth – Fearless clearly isn’t the store that the neighborhood wants. In April, I had more requests for donations than I had customers.

“In 2022, I’ve canceled six classes because no one has registered. During last week’s 20 percent storewide sale, only eight customers came in for the entire week,” she wrote.

The decision was a difficult one to make but “it’s time to move on,” Siebel continued. In a video to customers posted on social media, the owner said she hopes the neighborhood will come say goodbye and check out the store’s 20 percent off sale, which is active until Fearless Cooking closes.

The store is also hosting a closing party 6 p.m. July 27.

“I hope you can find ways to see us, join us in the next few weeks,” Siebel said. “It’s been quite a ride having Fearless and being a part of this community … I really appreciate everyone who supported us.”

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