The Capital Area Food Bank was thrilled when superstar Bruce Springsteen recently donated front-row tickets to his Erwin Center concert to be auctioned off as a benefit and also invited them to pass out donation envelopes at the concert. Those two gifts alone netted $6,000. Imagine their surprise and glee when last week's mail brought a personal check from Bruce and wife Patti Scialfa in the amount of $10,000! What a generous and thoughtful gift to all Central Texans. Local venues and musicians are following suit. The big Antone's Blues Festival lists CAFB as one of its beneficiaries, and several outdoor events over the summer (including the Chronicle Hot Sauce Contest) include the donation of nonperishable food items as part of the entry fee. Performers and performance venues can adopt a food pantry with very little cost to themselves. Encourage the music/theatre/dance lovers who patronize your events to donate nonperishable food items at the door, and it all adds up to everyone fighting hunger together.
Two Austin restaurant biz power couples made a transaction recently that benefits both parties. Restaurateurs Bick and Erika Brown sold Manga at 43rd and Duval to chefs Wm. Emmett and Lisa Fox on the first of May. The Foxes are doing some minor renovations and equipment changes, and expect Asti to debut in the great Hyde Park location by midsummer.
While the Browns are busy relocating all their talented Manga staff at Zoot, Hyde Park Bar & Grill, and Dolce Vita, they are also awaiting the arrival of their second child. The Foxes, meanwhile, are eager to experience the birth of their first solo restaurant venture. Best wishes, all around.
When Leslie McGrath closed her popular Blanco River Cooking School in Wimberley, many wondered who might step in to fill the void left when that very pleasant retreat disappeared. This summer, two new programs on the horizon show lots of promise. Belgian cooking teacher Marie Claire Quittelier operates MarieCuisine (249 E. Main, Fredericksburg, 830/990-0498), where she promotes cuisine du marche: fresh, seasonal cuisine. This June she is teaching a series of cooking classes both at her Fredericksburg store and at Becker Vineyards (830/644-2681) near Stonewall. Quittelier's series at the vineyard began on Mother's Day and continues June 4, 11, 16, and 18. Classes offer hands-on instruction, recipes, meals, and wine tastings. For reservations, contact either the store or the vineyard... Another very interesting program is a series of classes scheduled at Red Corral Ranch, a secluded, 1,100-acre ranch with a three-acre organic garden and 10 secluded guest rooms near Wimberley. The ranch program uses fresh, organic produce grown on the property and is taught by chef/owner Suzanne Perkins and chef Amy Juried, both faculty members at the Culinary Academy of Austin. Their first event is a Memorial Day weekend retreat, May 26-28, which offers cooking classes, wine tastings, and an elaborate seven-course meal based on the extravagant banquet from the movie Big Night. For more information, call 830/833-9310.
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