Do you have your tickets ready to see Anthony Bourdain this Monday night at Jones Hall? I certainly hope so, because the event is sold out. But don't fret; more celebrity chefs are on their way to Houston in coming months.
Alton Brown, the original food nerd, will be coming to Costco (3836 Richmond) on October 17 for a book signing starting at 1 p.m. The release of his seventh book, Good Eats 2: The Middle Years, has Brown traveling across the nation on a book tour. Where will he eat while he's in Houston? Hopefully not just at the Costco, although they do wicked samples on the weekend.
Bobby Flay is also planning on making an appearance in the Bayou City soon. Like Brown, he's coming to promote his newest book; he's also coming in October. Just two days after Brown, Flay will be signing copies of Bobby Flay's Throwdown! at Sur La Table (1996 W. Gray) on October 19 starting at 6 p.m.
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Not to be outdone by his out-of-state celebs, Texas's own Kent Rathburn (who, as you may remember, beat Flay on a 2008 episode of Iron Chef) will be making a special appearance at Central Market (3815 Westheimer) when he teaches a beer-themed cooking class on September 27. The "From Pint to Plate" class is part of Central Market's "Discover Brewtopia" event, a two-week celebration of beer and all the wonderful things you can make with it (as well as all the wonderful brews you can drink). Rathburn's class will teach participants how to pair beer with food as well as how to make four recipes -- including a dessert -- that feature beer as a primary ingredient. The class runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and is $65 a person. Call 713-386-1700 to reserve your spot.
If you're looking for a laid-back way to spend the nice weekend ahead, there are two Houston-area food festivals that might fit the bill. The Houston Hot Sauce Festival -- now in its 10th year -- takes over the Stafford Centre on Saturday and Sunday, featuring hot sauce and salsa vendors from around the world. Yes, the world. Other food besides Scotch bonnets and ghost peppers will be available to eat, so don't worry about going on a spiritual/LSD journey similar to Homer Simpson's after he ate the dreaded Guatemalan insanity pepper. Unless you really want to, that is. Admission is $5, and children under 12 get in for free.
And for something completely different, check out the yearly Polish Harvest Festival at Our Lady of Czestochowa this Saturday and Sunday. The dożynki, or harvest festival, is an important yearly event that's been celebrated in Poland since the 16th century. Houston's version of the festival has been held at the city's only Polish church for years and is only $3 for both days of festivities. Naturally, plenty of Polish food from Polonia (both the restaurant and its neighboring grocery store) will be on hand, so come hungry.
To celebrate a true harvest, get a ticket now for the upcoming Wood Duck Farms all-star chef dinner on Saturday, October 2. All of the food served at the dinner comes almost entirely from Wood Duck Farms' own fields and is prepared by some of Houston's brightest chefs. On October 2, Seth Siegel-Gardener -- recently of the Just 8 Project -- will be in the kitchen. In upcoming months, chefs like L.J. Wiley and Justin Basye will take the helm. The cost is $75 per person for five-courses; you're encouraged to BYOB.