Austin loses a leading foodie, at least for a while; plus, the French rule
Cathy Cochran-Lewis, community relations coordinator for Whole Foods Market here and formerly director of cooking schools for Central Market, is leaving Austin in early August. She is relocating to Boulder, Colo., to be closer to her aging father and to establish in-state residency for her daughter, who plans to attend a veterinary program at the University of Colorado. During her years in Austin, Cochran-Lewis was instrumental in building Austin's national culinary profile by bringing chefs and food writers here to teach at Central Market and promoting their statewide network of in-store cooking schools around the country. She is also a member of the board of directors of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and founding member of the local chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, a service organization for culinary professional women. After leaving Central Market, Cochran-Lewis spent a couple of years operating her own public relations firm, Chef Source, representing chefs and cooking teachers on the national circuit. She signed on with Whole Foods last year to work on community-related events and lend her expertise to the development of its new Culinary Center. She will continue to handle special projects for Whole Foods, which should bring her back to Austin periodically, and she eventually hopes to work for its Rocky Mountain region. Cochran-Lewis is a respected colleague, and we wish her the best in her new endeavors. Austin's loss will certainly be Boulder's gain... The Texas Restaurant Association held their annual convention and Southwest Foodservice Expo in Houston during the last week of June. Longtime Austin restaurateur Gerald Stone, of El Mercado restaurants and Vinny's Italian Cafe, was named to TRA's prestigious Hall of Honor for his service to the industry and the accomplishments in his body of work as evaluated by his peers. Kudos to Stone, who is the first Austinite inducted into the hall in more than 20 years. Other local members include Harry Akin (Night Hawk), Matt Martinez Sr., (El Rancho), and Charlie Goodnight (Hill's Cafe)... Bruce Barnes, a manager at Hoover's Cooking (2002 Manor Rd., 479-5006) is in Brackenridge Hospital recovering from serious injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in the very early morning hours of Thursday, June 29. The accident occurred on Manor Road east of the intersection at Airport, and Barnes was not wearing a helmet. We'll keep you posted if and when the local restaurant community can be of assistance to Barnes, his wife, and infant son... The coolest new 39-cent commemorative stamps for foodies have to be Crops of the Americas, with beautiful, vivid renderings of sunflowers, corn, squashes, beans, and chile peppers. What a great way to acknowledge the culinary bounty of the New World!... It used to be that I had a pretty impressive collection of local condiments, salsas, jams, and jellies, but the freak power outage this spring disabled my refrigerator, and I lost it all. I know this has been a particularly bad year for fruit, but if anyone's wild plum trees made enough fruit to make jam or jelly, I would love to buy some.
Bastille Day! Amélie Mauresmo's Wimbledon triumph and a couple of home-team stage successes in the Tour de France weren't enough to overshadow Zidane's World Cup meltdown, but maybe Independence Day festivities will be. Well, probably not, but at least they'll serve as a delicious distraction. Austin's French eateries are no exception and invite their customers to join in the fun. As always, Chez Nous (510 Neches, 473-2413) will augment their regular menu with traditional season specialties to commemorate the day. The Pelegrins at Le Bistro Marseillais (www.bistrolemarseillais.com) are offering a light, summery version of the classic Cassoulet and fresh Blueberry Tarts on their delivery menu this week. At Aquarelle (606 Rio Grande, 479-8117), customers can relax in the bar and nosh on a complimentary buffet of cold summer hors d'oeuvres, such as celery remoulade, pâté de champagne, and legumes à la grec. Friday evening, July 14.
Event Menu: July 14-20
The Texas Culinary Academy (11400 Burnet, 837-2665, www.txca.org) will celebrate Bastille Day and the rich French heritage of their culinary curriculum with an open house this weekend. Festivities will include cooking demonstrations by chefs from Aquarelle and Capitol Brasserie and a wine and cheese tasting in Ventana Restaurant presented by experts from Grape Vine Market. The tasting is from 2 to 4pm and requires a $40 reserved seat to attend. Call 339-3850 for reservations. The remaining activities are free and open to the public; noon-4pm, Saturday, July 15.
Private chef Judd Servido (217-4509; www.juddservidio.com) invites you to participate in an event at Gina's Kitchen (917 W. 12th, 236-0705) that is part interactive cooking class, part dinner party, and all fun. Ten students will arrive at the kitchen at 1pm, ready to spend the afternoon in groups doing the prep work for two appetizers and a four-course dinner. Each student is allowed to invite one guest, who will arrive at 5pm bringing a bottle of wine to complement the meal. All the guests will enjoy appetizers and champagne before the students return to the kitchen and cook the meal. Cost for the day is $160, which includes a day of instruction, a chef's jacket with the student's name embroidered on it, dinner for two, and plenty of fun. Reservations are necessary; 1-9pm, Sunday, July 16 and July 30.
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