Virginia B. Wood urges interested readers to get involved in the local chapter of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, gives details about the Wine & Wildflower Trail, and updates readers on local restaurant news.

Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

For several months now, a small group of Austin women has been attempting to launch a local chapter of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs with very little response. Considering how many women responded to a recent column about the underrepresentation of female chefs at high-profile local charity events, it was surprising that the April 3 WCR meeting didn't attract more potential members. One avenue to higher public profiles for women in the food business and better representation at events could be a strong organization and support network. Complaining isn't enough; taking action is very important. The Austin WCR chapter is interested in hosting a large-scale charity event in the fall of 2000 that will showcase the talents of women chefs, caterers, and food producers from around the state. Women interested in planning and participating in such an event should attend the next scheduled WCR meeting at Ella's Restaurant (#1 Jefferson Sq., 458-2148) on Monday, May 1. Contact Sharon Gerhardt at Ella's, Rebecca Rather at Rather Sweet Bakery (814 W. 12th, 474-4822), or Beth Pav at Cooking by Design (402-0216) for more information about WCR.

Wine in Every Direction

Enjoy the annual Wine & Wildflower Trail this weekend, April 14-16, with bluebonnets and wine tastings at all your favorite Hill Country wineries. Check out the various tours, tastings, and luncheons at If you're headed in the other direction, the festive folks at Messina Hof Wine Cellars (4545 Old Reliance Road in Bryan, 409/778-9463) host a day of family fun and health awareness Saturday, April 15, at their Wine & Roses Festival with a Run Through the Vines, a Grapestomping Championship, live music, arts and crafts booths, and a luncheon in the Vintage House Restaurant.

Lots of Restaurant News

Break some bread with the new operators of the Granite Cafe (2905 San Gabriel, 472-6483) when the restaurant reopens Wednesday, April 19, with the husband and wife chef/manager team of Sam and Molly Dickey at the helm. The Dickeys also own TapRoot Breads (917 W. 12th, 478-0887) and are the proud parents of a new baby boy. These talented young people officially have their hands full!... It's got to be a good sign that so many folks are curious about the location and opening date of Asti, the new trattoria from the husband and wife chef team of Wm. Emmett and Lisa Fox. We'll tell you as soon as they tell us. Another hot topic is the opening date of Aquarelle (606 Rio Grande, 479-8117), the new Provencal restaurant just off Sixth Street in the west end of downtown. Aquarelle co-owners Terry Foreman and Robert Brady now say they're shooting for the last week of April... Taco entrepreneur Orlando Arriaga proudly announces the opening of Taco Shack III (12439 Metric Blvd., 873-7977)... Eat more beef at the newest Texas Land & Cattle Company (14010 Hwy. N. 183, 258-3733)... Check out some of the new menu items and tempting variations on the refreshing signature Mojito cocktails at Saba Blue Water Cafe (208 W. Fourth, 478-7222), the hot downtown spot for quality noshing. And speaking of Saba, Austin's Laurie Smith Design is hard at work on their spiffy new downtown Houston location.

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