Virginia B. Wood simmers down quite a stew of news in this week's "Food-o-File."
Names in the News
In the "off with our heads" department, in Wes Marshall's recent piece on the "Big Night" dinner at Ciola's (1310 RR 620 S., 263-9936), the name of chef Jason Rodis was misspelled. We regret the error. And in a column item about the Lone Star State of Mind kickoff party at the recent Saveur Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, I neglected to mention that the musical chefs and cooking musicians who headlined that $100-per-person event submitted their signature recipes, which were then prepared by the catering department at Central Market Westgate (899-4300), one of the event sponsors... In other Wine & Food Festival news, even before the afterglow of one of the most successful events in recent memory had a chance to fade, we received news that the festival board had discharged Executive Director Fernando Saralegui. Festival President Kevin Williamson was out of town and unavailable for comment, but Saralegui himself explained his departure by saying, "I was an agent of change for the festival this past year and sometimes being an agent of change puts you at odds with too many people and egos." As one who thought this year's festival was great and found the changes for the better, I'd have to say I'm a little disappointed, but not particularly surprised, by the board's actions... One piece of great news that got lost in the festival whirlwind was that Driskill Executive Chef David Bull was named as one of the Top 10 chefs in the country by Food & Wine magazine in March. It's a well-deserved honor for the talented young chef and the second time this decade that an Austin chef has made that prestigious list... Popular Austin chef Larry Perdido has returned here after a couple of years in Houston, and we wouldn't be surprised if he's involved when Buckner Hightower and Greg Schnurr open a new restaurant in the former Emilia's space downtown later this spring... Kudos to chef Richard Winemiller, director of the Bowie High School Culinary program, who was recently named Teacher of the Year at Bowie.
May Is SOS Month
This month, some of Austin's top chefs and restaurants join forces to fight hunger at Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation events. Rather than staging one fundraising dinner, this year there's a series of 11 wine dinners hosted by various restaurants around town at a cost of $75 per person, a couple of $45-per-person cocktail events at Saba Blue Water Cafe and Malaga in the Warehouse District, and the return of the wildly successful Wild Beast Feast at Cypress Valley Preserve on Sunday, May 18. For more specific information about each party and to purchase tickets, visit www.strength.org/taste/austin/.
The second film in our spring Eat, Drink, Watch Movies series is undeniably the best movie ever made about the restaurant business, and foodies will not want to miss it on Monday, May 12, at 7pm. After a very short theatrical release last year, Dinner Rush was pulled from distribution, but Alamo Drafthouse owner Karrie League was able to negotiate a one-time-only deal to screen it at our charity event. Chef Harvey Harris of Siena will be preparing the dishes depicted in the film, a tantalizing mixture of Italian-American standards and nuovo Italian star turns paired with Coppola wines and a sparkling Proseco. This time around, we'll have the entire Alamo Drafthouse Downtown to ourselves, and valet parking will be included in the $55-per-person ticket price. Rush to make dinner reservations at www.drafthouse.com.