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Extra Helpings

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Mark your calendar for a star-studded benefit dinner at Wally Joe restaurant on Sunday, March 26th. The dinner benefits Share Our Strength's program to fight childhood hunger.

Chef/owner Wally Joe has invited five nationally acclaimed chefs who will each be in charge of one course, leaving two courses to Joe and his pastry chef Jorge Noriega. The lineup for that night includes Johnny Iuzzini, pastry chef at Jean Georges in New York City. Iuzzini was voted one of America's top-10 pastry chefs by Pastry Art & Design magazine in 2003 and 2004 and is known for surprising diners with desserts that are outstanding and different. Chocolate goat cheese, anybody?

Shawn McClain owns three highly renowned restaurants in Chicago. He serves up high-end Asian-infused Continental food at his restaurant Spring; inventive, mostly vegetarian, small plates at Green Zebra; and modern American cuisine with an emphasis on artisan meats at Custom House.

Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun's and Krog Bar in Atlanta has worked in upscale kitchens around the South since he was 14 years old. His preparations are modern American, and his menu offers items such as sea scallop Benedict and Hamachi crudo.

Bob Waggoner, executive chef at Charleston Grill in Charleston, South Carolina, fuses low-country cooking with his own French-influenced technique to create contemporary "Southern haute cuisine," such as Maine lobster tempura over lemon grits and roasted venison tenderloin over sawmill gravy.

Last but not least: Don Yamauchi, executive chef at Tribute restaurant in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where he prepares dishes that are contemporary French with global accents. On his menu, this translates into soy-marinated cod and herb-crusted Kumamoto oysters.

Seats will go fast for this seven-course food-and-wine extravaganza. The cost of the dinner (complete with wine pairings) is $175 per person, including tax and gratuity. All proceeds will go to Share Our Strength. A champagne reception begins at 6 p.m. at L Ross Gallery; dinner at Wally Joe begins at 6:45 p.m.

Wally Joe, 5040 Sanderlin. For more information and reservations, call 818-0821.

If the benefit at Wally Joe is too rich for your taste buds and your budget, Miss Cordelia's Lazy Sunday Jazz Brunch on March 12th might be more your style. Among the menu items are artichoke, prosciutto, and goat-cheese strata, hash-brown casserole, New Orleans French toast, and cheese-grits cakes. Live jazz will be provided by local musicians. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is $16 per person.

Also new at Miss Cordelia's: executive chef Nancy Kistler's weekly Healthy Options Menu, featuring three meals that are less than 550 calories, low in fat, sodium, and all the other bad things that we usually load onto our plates. Kistler makes them high in fiber and essential nutrients. Why not give it a try? Among this week's dishes are Chicken Limone with olive whipped potatoes, pasta with pomodoro sauce, and fish Armandine over spinach.

Cordelia's Table, 737 Harbor Bend Rd. (526-4772)

Ever wondered how Southern Jews manage to keep a kosher diet, when the sweet, the greasy, and the barbecued lurk at every corner? Marcie Cohen Ferris explores those foodways in Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South. The book includes numerous photographs, anecdotes, oral histories, and more than 30 recipes from friends, family, fellow Southerners, and fellow Jews.

Cohen will sign copies of the book on Thursday, March 9th, at 6 p.m. at Davis-Kidd Booksellers.

Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 387 Perkins Ext. (683-9801) Home chefs, keep an eye peeled! The Viking Culinary Arts Center is moving its cooking school to Park Place Mall at Park and Ridgeway in late spring. The retail store will remain downtown. While the setup for the cooking school will stay the same, more classes might be offered at the new location, which will also feature a small retail store. For more information, call 578-5822.

Vikingrange.com

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