The Food Column: Iron Chef making a stop here

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Alexandra Guarnaschelli, a "Next Iron Chef" winner and a judge on Food Network's "Chopped," drops in to Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Giant Eagle Market District, Bethel Park, for a cooking demo. Admission is free, but register ahead at

Also, Ms. Guarnaschelli and her fellow TV foodie, Melissa d'Arabian, are joining the fight against kids' cancer this summer. The Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all kids with cancer, encourages volunteers to set up lemonade stands June 7 to 9 and donate their proceeds to the organization. They hope to raise a collective $1 million for childhood cancer research.

Those who host a lemonade stand will receive kits that include kid-friendly recipes and tips from the two TV stars. For more:

Cake-related events

Let Them Eat Cake: It's a bake-off gone upscale. This year's storied cake competition pits amateur and professional bakers against each other to create the best cakes reflecting the theme "5001: A Baby Odyssey," celebrating The Midwife Center's 5,000th birth. The event includes a wine and beer bar, refreshments, silent auction and musical entertainment, plus a VIP pre-reception. 7:30 p.m. May 18 at Pittsburgh Opera in the Strip District. Proceeds benefit The Midwife Center. or 412-321-6880.

10th Annual USC Bake-Off: Kids are invited to bake and decorate cakes as part of Upper St. Clair's annual Community Day. Three winners will be recognized in the categories of most patriotic, most original, and favorite TV show, movie or book. One grand prize of $100 will be awarded. Preregister by Wednesday, May 15. Entries must be delivered to the Rec Center, 1770 McLaughlin Road, Upper St. Clair, between 5 and 6 p.m. May 17. Awards will be presented at 11 a.m. May 18. 412-833-5405.

Ethnic food festivals ...

Ukrainian Food Festival: Pierogies, halushki, kielbasa on a stick, nut rolls, homemade breads and more. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at St. Vladimir Church Hall, South Side.

Greek Food Festival: Chicken oregano, souvlakia, pastitsio, spanakopita, Greek salad and other traditional Greek dishes, plus live bouzouki music and Greek dancing every evening. May 12-18 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Oakland. (Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday). 412-682-3866.

Serbian Food Festival: Barbecued lamb and chicken, meat-filled pastry rolls, rice pilaf, cabbage and noodles, beans and sauerkraut soup, breads, cookies and other Serbian delicacies. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 18 and noon to 4 p.m. May 19 at St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church Center, Aliquippa. 724-375-9894.

... and the rest of the fests

Colonial Chocolate Weekend: Learn about chocolate in Colonial America and enjoy samples this weekend at Fort Pitt Museum in Point State Park. At 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, "Colonial Chocolate Evening" includes a presentation on chocolate in American culture, including how it was made and consumed by Pittsburghers during the 18th century, plus samples of a colonial-style chocolate drink. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 11, watch colonial re-enactors roast coffee and chocolate beans and prepare 18th-century game such as buffalo and venison. Friday's admission is $5 per person; pre-register at 412-281-9285. Saturday's events are free with museum admission.

National World Fair Trade Day: Performers, artists and food sampling. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Ten Thousand Villages, Squirrel Hill.

National Road Festival: Celebrations run along 300 miles of the Historic National Road (Route 40). See an authentic wagon train and enjoy music, arts, crafts and food. May 17-19. For a full schedule:

Ambridge Nationality Days Festival: It's the 48th year for this event featuring local foods, entertainment, crafts and children's activities. Noon to 8 p.m. May 17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 18 and noon to 6 p.m. May 19 in Downtown Ambridge.

Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival: It's a day to celebrate all things sheep -- shearing, spinning, lamb cook-off, and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 18-19 at Greene County Fairgrounds, Waynesburg.

Charitable events

Grapevine: The 10th annual wine tasting event features wines, tapas, auction and mystery wine sale. 6 p.m. next Thursday, May 16, at Bossa Nova, Downtown. $65 per person benefits Make-A-Wish; designated drivers get in for $35. or 412-471-9474.

Cocktails & Cuisine: KDKA-TV's Jon Burnett emcees an evening of appetizers from more than 20 local restaurants, wine and ale, live jazz and auctions. 6 p.m. May 17 at The Woodlands, Wexford. $75 per person benefits Crisis Center North. 412-364-6728 or

Spaghetti Western Dinners: Help a small local theater achieve its renovation goals by enjoying spaghetti, meatballs, bread and a Western flick. 5 p.m. May 19 (movie is "Death Rides a Horse"), June 2 ("Grand Duel") and June 23 ("Any Gun Can Play") at Parkway Theater, McKees Rocks. $8 per person. Reservations: 412-766-1668.

Cookbook signings

In conjunction with Sewickley Civic Garden Council's 49th annual May Mart, the Penguin Bookshop (420 Beaver St.) presents four cookbook authors Saturday, May 11:

At 10 a.m., my fellow PG food columnist Miriam Rubin and her new book, "Tomatoes."

At noon, Bill Staley & Hayley Mason with their new "Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining."

At 2 p.m., Denise Schreiber with her "Eat Your Roses: Pansies, Lavender, and 49 Other Delicious Edible Flowers."


Quickie Cocktails: Chef Elizabeth Schandlemeier Bilgunn discusses how to build layers of flavor and prepare for summer cooling-off. 5:15 p.m. Friday, May 10, at Pittsburgh Public Market, Strip District. $10.

Pressure Canning for Low-Acid Foods: Learn to preserve vegetables, soups and meats through pressure canning. Includes demo, samples and recipes. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Buffalo Inn, South Park. $25. Preregistration required: 412-473-2540.

Food for Profit: Six-and-a-half-hour workshop on how to start a small food business, including presentations by the operator of a shared commercial kitchen and a health inspector. 9 a.m. May 23 at Penn State Extension Allegheny County, 400 N. Lexington Street, Point Breeze. $45. Register ahead:

Meet the First Lady

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner": Children ages 8 to 12 (with the help of a parent or guardian) may submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable and tasty. Entrants have a chance to be one of 56 chosen for a Kids' "State Dinner" at the White House this summer. Submit to by Sunday, May 12.


Rebecca Sodergren: or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.


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