The throngs who crowd the annual Taste of the Nation — Toledo fund-raising event sample exquisite bite-sized tastes from literally dozens of local restaurants and other food preparers.
But to be perfectly frank, the same throngs could eat the same food, or close to it, simply by going to all of the featured local restaurants. So one attraction has to be the guest chefs.
This year there are three, an incredible 50 percent increase over the last few years (it sounds more impressive if you say it that way, instead of just “one more than last year”).
Coming the farthest distance is Nicholas Stefanelli, the chef at Bibiana Osteria Enoteca, just a few blocks from the White House in Washington. The restaurant, which scored an impressive 25 from the Zagat restaurant guide, specializes in regional Italian food in a contemporary setting. A native of Maryland, Mr. Stefanelli is a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Md., just outside Washington.
William Skinner is the chef at Bar North Bistro, which is in the Thunderbird Hills Golf Club in Huron, Ohio. Under Mr. Skinner’s direction, the restaurant (it’s in the public golf course’s old clubhouse) is a proponent of the food-to-table movement. In Huron, home to the Chef's Garden, that can be a very good thing. Although the restaurant's menu is seasonal, it features entrees from duck confit to grilled salmon to hamburgers; the idea is to bring upscale dining to average customers.
The third guest chef is area cook Steven Meese, who does catering around the region. He is trying to get a cooking show picked up by PBS stations and has completed a cookbook, for which he is now searching for a publisher. A native of Daytona Beach, Fla., Mr. Meese has worked at restaurants at Walt Disney World, has given cooking demonstrations at Williams-Sonoma stores, and has worked in restaurants in the Toledo area. He is also a chef ambassador for Share Our Strength — No Kid Hungry, which sponsors the event.
As always, the money generated by the fund-raiser will go to the Aurora House, Toledo Day Nursery, Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, and Toledo GROWs, each of which is in some way involved in ending childhood hunger.
The black tie-optional event will be next Sunday, April 21, at the Toledo Club, 235 14th St., from 5-8 p.m. with entertainment until 10 p.m. Tickets are $150, required in advance (admission is limited). For reservations or more information, call 419-345-5543.
April is the grapest month, so they say. And that is why the Walt Churchill's Market in Monclova Township is holding wine tastings every week this month.
Well, that and the fact that they hold wine tastings (nearly) every week of every month.
As always, the tastings are noon-5 p.m. on Saturdays and generally run under $15, unless otherwise indicated.
On Saturday, wine guy Austin Beeman will be opening superstar bottles from Washington and Oregon. According to Mr. Beeman, the wines of the Pacific Northwest are not as well known as those to the south in California, "but in many ways their wines are much more interesting." To prove his point, he will be pouring samples of Pinot Noir (the Oregon Pinots are said to be superb), Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, and more. This tasting will have a premium price.
On April 27, the tasting will focus on red wine blends, both common and exotic, from around the world. Special attention will be given to the types of grapes that are blended, even when they are not listed on the label.
And a special, midweek wine tasting will be held on April 24, from 6-8 p.m., featuring wines of Couly-Dutheil, a fourth-generation family-owned winery in the Loire Valley in France. Marine Royer, who works in the winery's department of export sales, will be on hand to discuss the wines and their history. No reservations are needed for this special tasting, which costs $15.
The store is at 3320 Briarfield Blvd. For more information, call 419-794-4000.
The title is certainly compelling: Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives.
This documentary purporting to show a link between genetically modified foods and an upsurge in dangerous and potentially fatal diseases will be shown at 6 p.m. on April 23 by the Toledo Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Genetically modified foods are plants and animals that have had scientific changes made to their genetic structure that make them less susceptible to pests, blight, and disease. Critics of the process say that the practice's supporters have ignored its possibly harmful side effects. The movie, made by and largely starring Jeffrey M. Smith, based on his book Seeds of Destruction, also alleges collusion between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and major chemical companies, particularly Monsanto.
The screening will be in the Fellowship Chapel of the Grace Lutheran Church, 4441 Monroe St. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The 85-minute video will be followed by a discussion; participants are encouraged to bring nutritious, non-genetically-modified snacks to share.
For more information, call 419-320-2309.
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