Book Festival serves up a menu of unusual cookbook authors

The Food for Thought stage at next weekend's Baltimore Book Festival will present a full slate of talks and demonstrations by Baltimore-based chefs and visiting cookbook authors.

Among the locals are Johnny's barista Lindsay DiFabbio (1 p.m. Friday), caterer and former restaurateur Connie Crabtree-Burritt (noon Sept. 28) and Bradley Willits, executive chef at the B&O American Brasserie (noon Sept. 29 ).


The most recognizable names among the visiting authors are not necessarily associated with the world of cooking. Realty TV personality Kate Gosselin ("Dancing with the Stars," "Kate Plus 8") will talk about her new book, "Love is in the Mix: Making Meals into Memories with Family Friendly Recipes, Tips and Traditions" (4:30 p.m. Sept. 28 ), and Olympics figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano will discuss his new book, "What Would Brian Boitano Make? Fresh and Fun Recipes for Sharing with Family and Friends" (6 p.m. Sept. 28 ), which he adapted from his Food Network series.

The Baltimore Book Festival is noon-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-7 p.m. Sunday on Mount Vernon Place, centered around the 600 block of N. Charles St. For information, call 410-752-8632 or visit baltimorebookfestival.org.

Alton Brown's return The last time we saw Alton Brown in Baltimore, the Food Network star was the headliner at the March 2011 Foodie Experience event at the Hippodrome.

Brown is coming back to Baltimore as part of a 40-city national tour that begins this October in Palm Desert, Calif. Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour makes its way here on Feb. 22, 2014, when Brown will appear at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric.

Brown's shows, according to a news release, will involve a multimedia lecture, stand-up comedy, live music (apparently he sings) and an "extreme" food experimentation.

Ponchos, the news release says, will be provided for fans in the first few rows.

The Peabody Award-winning host of Food Network's "Good Eats" was a judge on the most recent cycle of "Food Network Star," which featured a memorable second-place run by Baltimore's Rodney Henry.

There's no word from the show's producers on whether Henry will be invited to join Brown for a "Food Network Star" reunion.


Tickets range from $35 to $150.

Brown's appearance at the Lyric is at 8 p.m. Feb. 22. Tickets are on sale at the Lyric box office and Ticketmaster (410-547-7328 and ticketmaster.com).

There's more information about Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour at altonbrowntour.com.

How many in your party? Johnny's opened last October with a first-come, first-seated policy, but the casual Foreman Wolf restaurant in Roland Park is now taking accepting reservations for breakfast, lunch and dinner through Open Table.

Johnny's (4800 Roland Ave., 410-773-0777, johhnysdownstairs.com) is the fifth and most recent restaurant from Baltimore restaurateurs Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf, who in June announced plans to open their first restaurant in Howard County, on Columbia's lakefront.

The farmer meets the chef The annual Farm to Chef Culinary Competition is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 30, at the American Visionary Art Museum. The benefit dining event teams Maryland chefs with local farmers to create innovative farm-fresh dishes that will be served to, and judged by, guests at the Federal Hill museum.


This is the fourth year for Farm to Chef, which is presented by the Baltimore chapter for the American Institute of Wine and Food. Proceeds from the event will benefit Days of Taste, an AIWF Baltimore program that introduces elementary school children to basic farm-to-table concepts.

Among the more than 30 restaurants and caterers participating at this years are Aida Bistro and Wine Bar, Birroteca, Fork & Wrench, Maggie's Farm, Slainte Irish Pub and Zia's Cafe.

Participating farms, growers and vendors include Albright Farms (Phoenix), Brad's Produce (Churchville), Cherry Glen Farm (Boyds), Cunningham Farms (Cockeysville), Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co. (Monkton) and Prigel Family Creamery (Glen Arm).

The event includes cocktail contributions from the Baltimore's Bartenders' Guild, a "food-lovers" raffle and prizes awarded from a panel of judges. There will also be a "people's choice" award based on guest voting.

The fourth annual Farm to Chef Culinary Competition is 6:30 p.m. at the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. Tickets are $99. A complete list of participants, along with ticket information, on the Farm to Chef website, http://www.farmtochefmd.com).

Sake celebrations October is Sake Month, and Oct. 1 is International Sake Day. Two Harbor East restaurants are going with the flow. On Tuesday , Pabu (200 International Drive, Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, 410-576-5800, fourseasons.com), is kicking off a monthlong Sake Happy Hour featuring complimentary sake tastings and an abbreviated version of the Sake 101 class taught by Pabu's master sake sommelier, Tiffany Soto.

Pabu's sake celebration also includes a limited-seating sake dinner on Oct. 10, Saturday afternoon sake classes, and a sake-influenced version of chef Jonah Kim's tasting menu.

And nearby Ra Sushi Bar Restaurant (1390 Lancaster St., 410-522-3200, http://www.rasushi.com) is celebrating sake day on Tuesday, Oct. 1, with deals on hot and cold sake. Ra has also recently launched what it's calling a Friends with Benefits promotion. Every Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests can get one complimentary lunch special (of equal or lesser value) when they bring in a friend.