Food-O-File

The Czech Republic is not the first country many people would think of when queried about ethnic influences on Texas cooking. However, from church picnics to family reunions, weddings to kolache-baking contests, Czech foods found at these gatherings comprise one of Texas' richest ethnic cuisines. Food lovers can explore Maticka Kultura: The Foodways of Czech Texans in two demonstrations to be held this Sunday, April 27 at Central Market. Four Czech-Texan cooks will prepare traditional Czech dishes popular in Texas homes. Sisters Rose Ann Hauger and Ann Francis Adams will share the secrets of the most famous Czech specialty, kolaches. Eileen Rosipal will prepare the delicate wedding and holiday treat, ruzicky, and Vlasta Vitek will create a homemade chicken soup with noodles that are mixed, rolled, and cut by hand. The cooks will also talk about their culinary and cultural heritage, answer questions and provide recipes to class participants. The Matika Kultura demonstrations cost $5 and are sponsored by Texas Folklife Resources. Call 458-3068 or

320-0022 to make reservations.

If the traditional cuisines of Interior Mexico are your passion, Fonda San Miguel presents two classes by the leading authority on authentic Mexican cooking, author/cooking teacher Diana Kennedy. There are still a few spaces available for the classes to be held at the restaurant, 2330 W. North Loop, 3-5pm on Monday, April 28 and Tuesday, April 29. The first class will feature the preparation of a variety of gourmet tamales. For inquiries about recipes for the second class and to make reservations, call

459-3401.

Breed & Company-Westlake is hosting their neighbor, restaurateur Barbara Nadalini, owner of Madame Nadalini's, presenting a Classic Tuscan Meal on Tuesday evening, April 29, 6-8pm. The menu will include panzanella (bread salad), vitello tonnato (veal scallopine in tuna sauce) and tiramisu. The recipes for these dishes and many of the other Northern Italian dishes served at Madame Nadalini's were passed down to Ms. Nadalini by her 94-year-old Milanese grandmother.

While you're supporting the hunger relief fundraising efforts of this Sunday's Share Our Strength-Taste of the Nation Dinner at the Shoreline Grill, take time to congratulate Chef Dan Haverty for his recent win in the Texas Beef Council's Chef's Challenge for Beef. Haverty's win at this annual event entitles him to a trip to New York to present a dinner at the James Beard House in the fall. Kudos also to owners Jeff Weinberger and Peggy and Ronnie Weiss, as Haverty is the second chef from their company to win this coveted honor.

Response to their Easter foray into Sunday brunch was so enthusiastic that the owners of Bertram's (1601 Guadalupe, 476-2743) have decided to open for brunch on a regular basis. Brunch will be served 11am-2pm on Sundays; the à la carte menus will change weekly.

This Friday, April 25, Gourmet Guys & Gals owner and successful caterer Betsy Nozick will sign copies of her new cookbook Texas Tuxedos to Tacos (Eakin Press, $21.95, hard) at Book People, 7pm. Chronicle food writer Rebecca Chastenet de Géry collaborated with Nozick and co-author Tricia Henry on this Texas-style guide to party menus and entertaining.

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