Bons vivants wined and dined at the Great Chefs Dinner

More than 185 connoisseurs of good food and wine were at the Brass Elephant restaurant for the second Great Chefs Dinner Tuesday evening.

Starring in this year's fine food production were chef Don Yamauchi (looking younger than his 26 years) and pastry chef Celeste Zeccola, the visiting team from the Chicago-based Carlos restaurant.


Over cocktails, guests mingled with Carlos proprietors Carlos and Debbie Nieto, Brass Elephant co-owner Tom McDonald and his wife Jami, and co-owner/chef Randy Stahl.

Others who helped raise more than $25,000 for the Child Abuse Prevention Center were co-chairs Betsy Sherman and B. J. Cowie and their respective husbands, George and Bill; and guests Bruce and Peggy Ambler, Jeannie and Michael Sullivan, Georgia and George Stamas, Fran and Jim Brady, and Stephanie Davis.


* Jazz singer Nina Simone will perform at the April 18 grand opening of Nirvana -- a mid-town arts Cafetorium at 1727 N. Charles.

L I'm told Mayor Kurt Schmoke will be there to cut the ribbon.

What's a Cafetorium? According to owners Kevin Brown and William Maughlin Jr., it's the Nirvana Cafe, seating 75, and a 300-seat auditorium, which be the home of the New Metropolitan Theatre Company. (The building is the former Maryland Library for the Blind.)

Brown's play, "Sittin' with the Sisters," about his life with eight sisters, will open April 23 at the Cafetorium. Call (410) 685-9428.

* I magine my amusement when I opened an invitation sporting the names of Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Schmoke, which said "We're Cleaning up Our Act."

It turned out to be the theme of the Downtown Partnership's new "clean and safe" program, designed to improve the public's perception of the city, not its feuding politicos.

Some who stopped by the Mechanic Theatre to cheer on the new concept were Schmoke sans Schaefer, Mary Pat Clarke, Joel Lee, Dan Henson, Marcellus Alexander, Walter Sondheim, Clarisse Mechanic, Bill Struever, Sister Helen Amos, Bruce Hoffman, Elias Dorsey, Rachel Edds, and Police Commissioner Ed Woods.

Around town: I was sorry to hear of the recent death of Shirley MacLaine's mother. Ms. MacLaine is in Baltimore making the movie "Guarding Tess" with Nicolas Cage.


WMAR-TV's Rudy Miller and the Arena's Edie Brown were spotted at the Palmer House last week having their cards read . .