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Hurricane Relief

Dine out, and help Gulf Coast restaurant workers

By JANET K. KEELER
Published September 21, 2005


The Southern soul food of Lincoln Heights Bistro in Safety Harbor will have a Louisiana accent this weekend when a displaced New Orleans chef takes over the kitchen.

Chef Richard Bond, owner of the Mardi Gras School of Cooking and Catering in New Orleans, will serve up such Louisiana favorites as chicken and andouille gumbo, bread pudding with bourbon sauce and oyster bisque for brunch and dinner Sunday and dinner on Monday.

Lincoln Heights owner/chef Dawn Algieri is paying for Bond's trip from Baton Rouge, where he found safety from Hurricane Katrina. His cooking school has much damage and he is out of work, she says. Besides cooking at Lincoln Heights, Bond will be a guest chef at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at La Maison Gourmet, 471 Main St. in Dunedin. Call (727) 736-3070) for more information.

Bond is the first of many displaced chefs that Algieri hopes to bring to her restaurant for a weekend series of fundraisers called "Cookin' fer N'Awlins."

Poor communication with the storm-ravaged area has hampered her ability to contact chefs, but she hopes a posting on the Southern Foodways Alliance Web site (www.southernfoodways.com) will connect her with cuilinary professionals who need work.

"I wanted to do something," Algieri says. "I don't have full-time employment because we aren't in season yet. So I thought, let me see if I can find some work for someone."

Besides paying the chefs, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. Sunday's brunch seatings are 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Price is $24.95. Dinner on Sunday and Monday is at 6 p.m. and costs $49.95. Lincoln Heights, which seats just 45 people, is at 603 Elm St. Call (727) 726-4210 to make reservations.

From noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 2, Algieri will host another chef for a Cajun and Creole picnic with live music on the grounds of Lincoln Heights. Cost is $24.95.

There are other food-related hurricane relief benefits in the Tampa Bay area, including:

Bern's Steak House in Tampa, 1208 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-2421, and little sister SideBern's, 2208 W Morrison Ave., (813) 258-2233, will donate 100 percent of profits from noted menu items to New Orleans Hospitality Workers Relief Fund. At Bern's, that would be the blackened Delmonico steak and Maine lobster etouffee for $44.95 and Georges Duboeuf Domaine Jean Descombes at $27.65 a bottle and $6 a glass.

The menu at SideBern's changes daily, and the fundraising entree will be noted on the menu.

For a $500 donation, you can have your portrait taken and hung on the wall of Restaurant BT in Tampa, 1633 W Snow Ave., (813) 258-1916. Norman Batley, who with his wife and chef B.T. owns the restaurant, is the photographer. Money will be donated to the Red Cross.

Fine Wine & Spirits Warehouse hosts a wine tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at 3613 S Beach Drive, Tampa. More than 60 wines from Kunde, Foley, Archery Summit and others will be paired with New Orleans and Cajun cuisine from Rusty Evers and Art of the Feast to benefit American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Cost is $30 per person, $50 per couple. Call (813) 837-8941 for more information.

The Grand Central District in St. Petersburg will host a chili cookoff from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22 in businesses on Central Avenue between 18th and 31st streets. Cooks will compete in two categories, homemade and restaurant.

Organizers want cooks to team up with a business for the event. There is a $24 fee to enter the contest, and a portion of proceeds will go to hurricane relief. Cost for the event is $8 in advance and $10 on the day and includes a booklet of recipes and tastings. Tickets go on sale Oct. 1 at Grinders Coffee & Art Bar, 2444 Central Ave. To enter or get more information, call 727 328-7086 or go to www.grandcentraldistrict.org

On a national scale, many restaurants, including major chains, will participate in National Dine Around on Sept. 27 and Dine for America on Oct. 5. A portion of proceeds for meals purchased on those days will go to hurricane relief.

For participating restaurants, go to www.strength.org and www.dineforamerica.org

* * *

Restaurants planning relief fundraisers should send information to Food File, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Information will be included in the weekly Food File calendar.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at 727 893-8586 or krieta@sptimes.com

[Last modified September 20, 2005, 10:37:05]


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