News that will make you smile

For more than three years, film-loving Chronicle readers enthusiastically supported the unique food-and-film series Eat, Drink, Watch Movies sponsored with the Alamo Drafthouse, Austin RentAll Party, and many of Austin's top restaurants to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Once the Drafthouse hired chefs of its own and began to develop special meal presentations to complement a variety of different films, that series was retired. This summer, however, we've borrowed an idea from the Food Network and have a great new benefit planned. Iron Chef Alamo: John Bullington vs. Trish Eichelberger will feature the two Drafthouse chefs battling it out to the hilarious 1996 Stephen Chow classic God of Cookery. The secret ingredient in this competition will be the movie itself, and each chef will prepare and serve five small dishes paired with petite wine flights during the movie. After the film is over, the audience will vote on whose "cuisine reigns supreme" based on taste and how well each menu complements the film. Tickets are $75 per person and are available online at A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank... Culinary Academy of Austin (6020-B Dillard Circle, 451-5743) owner Steve Mannion e-mailed with the news that chef instructor Kristopher Jakob recently completed the career evaluation and written testing necessary to be designated a Certified Executive Chef by the American Culinary Federation at the comparatively young age of 30. Congratulations, chef... Check out the August issue of Southern Living with a lovely feature about Austin's own Chez Zee (5406 Balcones, 454-2666; Owner Sharon Watkins says to be on the lookout for their unique Crème Brûlée French Toast, soon to be available via mail order... A simple e-mail request for a popular recipe prompted an Austin chef to take off on a cross-country journey last week. Z'Tejas Grill (1110 W. Sixth, 478-5355; 9400 Arboretum Blvd., 346-3506) Executive Chef Jack Gilmore has just returned from Enterprise, Ala., where he fried up some fish served with plenty of Z'Jalapeno Tartar Sauce at the birthday party of U.S. Army CW4 officer Kyle Hill. Hill and his wife met at Fort Hood in nearby Killeen and were big fans of Z'Tejas. Kelly Hill e-mailed the restaurant explaining that her husband was safely home from Afghanistan and that she was hoping they would share the tartar-sauce recipe so she could serve it at the birthday fish fry celebration in his honor. She wasn't even really expecting a response, much less the one she received. Something about the Hills' story resonated with chef Gilmore, and he offered his services as chief cook for the party to show his support for military families. "Call me nuts, but I wanted to go fry some fish for those folks," Gilmore says. What a birthday gift!

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Iron Chef Alamo, John Bullington, Trish Eichelberger, Kristopher Jakob, Jack Gilmore

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