More than 30 restaurants, including 18 Steak at L’Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge, and the Steamboat Natchez, on Wednesday, May 21, will be offering special menus paired with special wines to kick off the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, which runs through May 24. The fixed price meals will include all courses and beverages.

Among the New Orleans restaurants taking part in the annual event are Antoine’s Restaurant, August, Broussard’s, Café B, Café Reconcile, Commander’s Palace Galatoire’s, GW Fins, La Petite Grocery, Restaurant R’evolution, RioMar, Tableau and The Pelican club. Go to nowfe.com/events/wednesday for a complete list of the restaurants and their menus.

At 18 Steak, the five-course menu will be paired with wines from Charles Krug Winery and hosted by Peter Mondavi and chef Samantha Foglesong. The evening begins with drinks at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. The menu will feature burrata salad with roasted spring vegetable “pesto” and crostini; spiced, chilled heirloom tomato soup with grouper ceviche; parpadelle pasta with oxtail and baby summer vegetables; grilled pork loin with potato and leek fritter and grilled Brussels sprouts; and a chef’s choice dessert pairing.

Cost is $125 per person and includes tax, gratuity and a complimentary bottle of Charles Krug wine. For reservations, call (225) 224-4142 or email cellard@lbrmail.com.

The New Orleans Steamboat Co.’s Steamer Natchez will host a dinner featuring the wines of Wedell Cellars. Cost is $125 inclusive. Call (504) 569-1401.

Other events during the four-day festival include the Royal Street Stroll on May 22, the Big Gateaux Show: Pastry Competition & Tasting in the Grand Ballroom at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, seminars and grand tastings on Friday, May 23, and Saturday, May 24.

For more than 21 years the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has showcased the New Orleans area’s foods alongside national and international wines. It has raised more than $1 million for local nonprofit organizations. This year, Café Reconcile will be the beneficiary of 40 percent of the event proceeds, organizers say. The remaining 60 percent will be shared by the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s ProStart Program, Delgado Culinary Arts School, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts’ Culinary Program, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, and the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans.

Whole Foods offers grilling ideas

Whole Foods Market Louisiana stores will celebrate “Grills Just Wanna Have Fun” Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. each day. The free event is open to the community with samples and grilling inspiration.

A complete grilling guide is available online at wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/cooking-entertainment-guides/complete-grilling-guide. In addition, Whole Foods Market meat team members will recommend recipes for lesser-known cuts that stretch the budget.

Kids Dish cooking class scheduled

Tracey Koch and Stephanie Riegel will teach a Kids Dish cooking class from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at Whole Foods in Town Center, 7529 Corporate Blvd., Baton Rouge. The menu will feature healthful, summer sandwiches kids can make on their own.

Class is open to children ages 8-14 and parents are encouraged to enjoy an hour of shopping while the class is under way. Cost is $10. Space is limited. Call (225) 218-0452 for reservations or more information.

Cooking in Central seeks contestants

Cooks and sponsors are still being sought for the City of Central’s premier fund-raising event, Cooking In Central, which will be held May 30-31 at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Central.

The cook-off contests in the categories of jambalaya, fried turkey, cochon de lait, pork roast, brisket and barbecue chicken will be held on May 31.

The event has raised over $1.9 million dollars in the last 8 years, benefitting local schools, St. Bernard Parish Schools, St. Helena Parish Schools, Louisiana Disabled Veterans, children’s charities, Central Veterans Helping Veterans, and Blue Star Moms. Last year Cooking in Central donated more than $50,000 to Moore, Okla., in the wake of its deadly tornado. This year’s event will benefit the Central Veterans Memorial Garden, the Central Community Assistance Foundation, and all Central Schools.

For more information, please go to CookingInCentral.com.

Compiled by Advocate staff