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Columnist
Roby cooks up a winner for Martha Stewart
By Dave Heun | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 3/17/2010 12:01 AM

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Who is the best-known Geneva resident worldwide?

Geneva residents aren't in any sort of competition to reach critical acclaim, but Alain Roby certainly can say he is the likely answer to that question.

The senior pastry chef for Hyatt Hotels has made a name for himself with popular cookbooks and monstrous pastries that have earned spots in the "Guinness Book of World Records."

He surged further into the national spotlight last month on "The Martha Stewart Show," oddly enough, on the strength of being at least 6 feet tall.

"One of his publicists, Katie Hadley, just happened to call the booking agents for the show on a day they were looking for a chef for their 'Tall Show,' " explained Linda Parke, also one of Roby's publicists.

"He happens to have records for the tallest cooked sugar structure and tallest chocolate building, so it was only natural that he create something tall for the show."

That creation was a 1,250-pound chocolate cake that was more than 6 feet tall.

"It also worked out that Alain is taller than 6 feet, as all guests and audience members had to be 6 feet or taller that day," Parke said.

Since the show, Roby's name has surfaced on more than 50 blogs and Web sites referring to his appearance and the huge chocolate cake he created, Parke said.

Roby will remain busy this spring, with one of his upcoming events being a March 31 book signing and demonstration at the Little Traveler in Geneva. He'll also be part of the Celebrity Chef Tour Chicago in May.

Bistro spot filled: Third Street patrons were surprised when LeBerry Bistro recently closed, but they'll be surprised again to find a new family restaurant on the second floor of the Berry House at 227 S. Third St. in Geneva.

Fresh & Delicious Up on Third opened two weeks ago and manager Stephanie Skafgaard is hoping it can find its niche among the upscale eateries and bar-and-grills.

"We're a family restaurant, so we're something in the middle, and that's what we are going for," said Skafgaard, who will manage the restaurant for owner Maria T. Camerota.

While it promotes "breakfast all day," the restaurant has an array of appetizers, salads, burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.

"It's all homemade and fresh," Camerota said.

For the fathers: Author and public speaker Jay Payleitner of St. Charles has written a new book, "52 Things Kids Need from a Dad."

Payleitner will be signing copies of the book from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Family Christian Book Store, 356 Randall Road in South Elgin.

Payleitner, a father of five and a foster parent 10 times, says he isn't out to bash fathers. His life's work is based on the premise that families without fathers are a significant social issue, and that fathers "need to be reminded that they matter."

dheun@sbcglobal.net