What's cookin'? The 26th Annual Parenthesis Family Center Kitchen Walk will be held on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Courtesy MIKE SCARPELLI

It’s the room in the house that receives the most attention, where discussions are held, plans are made, homework is completed, and, of course, where food is prepped, presented and consumed.

The kitchen is the epicenter of a house, a vital space that many homeowners put a lot of thought and effort into creating. On April 30, Parenthesis Family Center will offer the public a chance to view 10 newly-renovated Oak Park and River Forest kitchens as part of its 26th Annual Kitchen Walk. As it has for many years, the event is sure to be a top draw.

The kitchen walk, which this year is expected to draw over 800 participants, is Parenthesis’ biggest annual fundraiser, raising over $50,000 for its programming. The non-profit organization, which provides a wide range of parenting and children’s programs, has been serving families since 1980. This year’s event features a kitchen built around a 13-foot tobacco shop humidor, and a kitchen that includes an adjacent conservatory. Paul and Terri Schroeder, of River Forest, whose pre-renovated kitchen was featured on the walk over 20 years ago, also makes a reappearance.

“It’s exciting to see how each space has been transformed to meet the needs of the 21st century, especially in such an architecturally significant community,” said Stephanie Kiesling, who, along with Brooke Marks, has co-chaired the event for the last two years.

And what would a kitchen walk be without a chef on hand? Chef Denise Norton of Flavour Cooking School in Forest Park will showcase her talents in a working kitchen en route. Kitchen viewers can observe Norton at work and sample her treats. At another stop, Marion Street Cheese Market will provide refreshments.

If you go …

Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 the day of the walk. They can be purchased in advance at www.kitchenwalk.info or at local retailers. Oak Park’s Green Line Wheels is also offering a rental discount for those who wish to bike the route.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...