Men in Transition

The selection of chef W. Emmett Fox as the new president of the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival coincided with Fox's departure from the San Gabriel Restaurant Group. San Gabriel owner Reed Clemons opted to replace the executive chef position with a corporate director of operations. Look for Emmett Fox to achieve his longtime goal of restaurant ownership before year's end... Brio Vista assistant GM Roger Hernandez has been recruited to join the management team at the Tempe, Ariz., outlet of Z'Tejas Grill. Brio pastry chef Mark Paul will take over the assistant GM job in addition to his dessert duties.

Wine & Dine

In addition to a new summer menu, Ella's (#1 Jefferson Sq., 458-2148) has added regular weekly fixed price wine dinners where patrons can enjoy a three-course meal paired with one glass of wine for $29. Ranch 616 (616 Nueces, 479-7616), the new venture from Ella's partners Sharon Gerhardt, Darryl Sneary, and Kevin Williamson, is now open for dinner and drinks, and will be adding both breakfast and lunch within a matter of weeks. The wines of Testarossa Winery will complement a five-course dinner at Brio Vista (9400-B Arboretum Blvd., 342-2642) on Monday evening, July 26. Reservations are required. Messina Hof Wine Cellars (4545 Old Reliance Rd., Bryan, TX, 409/778-9463) invites wine lovers to enjoy its 17th Annual Harvest Weekends, from July 23 through August 15. Guests get to pick and stomp grapes in addition to taking part in tours, tastings, and seminars. Special luncheons and theme dinners will be served at the winery's Vintage House restaurant. Contact for more information.

Cowboys & Firemen in the Kitchen

No, it's not an animated feature, it's cooking classes at Central Market (4000 N. Lamar, 458-3068). Cowboy chef/author Grady Spears of Reata Restaurants in Alpine, Fort Worth, and Beverly Hills will present a class featuring recipes from his popular cookbook A Cowboy in the Kitchen (TenSpeed Press,$29.95 hard) Thursday, July 22, 6:30-9pm. Then, on Saturday, July 31, cooking firefighter Tim LaFuentes will prepare some of his award-winning firehouse recipes, including the salsa he's entered in The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Contest.

Culinary Historians Unite

The new Foodways Group of Austin will hold an organizational meeting on Sunday, July 25, 4-6pm, at the Culinary Academy of Austin (2823 Hancock, 451-5743). The purpose of this group is to create an organization where local food-o-philes can explore food and foodways of the past and present, in Texas and around the world. Culinary history groups like this are being formed around the country ( Foodways is an anthropological term describing the eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or historical period. Hopefully, the Foodways Group of Austin will develop classes, lectures, events, and other programs focusing on culinary cultural heritage. Food writer Alice Arndt, co-founder of the Houston Culinary Historians, and Glenn Mack, director of education at CAA, will host the organizational meeting. Call Mack (451-5743) for more info or to RSVP to the July gathering.

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