Italian chef brings Italy to cooking class

Fresina Pasta Co. & Italian Specialities, 3458-B Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge, will host a cooking class featuring a visiting chef from Florence, Italy.

Maurizio Moretti will teach “If You Can’t Be in Italy, We’ll Bring Italy to You” at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday. Cost is $75.

The menu will include a first course of fettunta, crostini Toscani and crostini con zucchini; a second course of gnocchi di patate con funghi, or potato gnocchi with mushroom sauce; and a dessert of a ricotta cake with chocolate sauce.

Call (225) 926-1341.

Folse seeking chefs for Gumbo Festival

GONZALES — Chef John Folse is looking for a few good gumbo chefs.

The restaurateur is teaming up with Alabama restaurateur and former University of Alabama and Miami Dolphins football player Bob Baumhower for the inaugural L.A. Gumbo Festival scheduled for April 11-13 in Orange Beach, Ala.

The festival will feature a gumbo cook-off pitting Louisiana cooks and chefs against those from Alabama. Cooking will begin at 8:30 a.m. April 13, with judging set to start at 11:30 a.m.

Prizes in both the Foodie Category and Professional Chef caetgories include $200 for third place, $300 for second place and $500 for first place, the difference being prizes will be awarded to both Louisiana and Alabama chefs.

First-place winners in the professional category for both Louisiana and Alabama will then compete for the grand champion title and $1,000. Prizes of $500 will be awarded for People’s Choice and best booth.

Entry fees for Foodies are $50 per contestant and $250 for professionals. Registration forms are available at Mail the forms to L.A. Gumbo Festival, 26801 Railroad Ave., Loxley, AL, 36551. Deadline for registration is April 1.

The festival is free, but competition tasting tickets are $2.

Call (251) 408-7973.

‘Sippin’ on the River’ set on Creole Queen

NEW ORLEANS — Bizou Wines will host a “Sippin’ on the River” wine tasting at 1:30 p.m. April 21 aboard the Creole Queen paddle-wheeler, which is docked at the foot of Poydras Street near the Riverwalk.

More than 100 small-production wines from Oregon, California, Washington, Portugal and France in varieties ranging from chardonnay to zinfandel will be offered. There will also be a selection of cheeses and live jazz music.

Tickets are $60 per person. Boarding begins at 1:30 p.m. with the cruise starting at 2 p.m. Visit

Deanie’s holds fest, crawfish-eating event

METAIRIE — Deanie’s Seafood Restaurants and Market is holding its fourth annual Pinch a Palooza Festival & Crawfish Eating Contest from noon to 8 p.m. April 21 at its Bucktown location, 1713 Lake Ave.

The street party will include five bands, an all-male dance troupe, lots of boiled crawfish and other crawfish dishes, entertainment for children and an artists market. The crawfish-eating contest will feature teams competing for prizes.

A portion of the event’s proceeds will support the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and its New Canal Lighthouse Museum.

For more information, go to or call (504) 834-1225.

5 BR restaurants part of Dining Out events

Five Baton Rouge restaurants — Bistro Byronz, California Pizza Kitchen, Mestizo, Monjunis and Stroubes — are participating in the Dining Out for Life International event.

Dine out for breakfast, lunch or dinner April 25 at a participating restaurant and a portion of your check will go to HAART, the HIV/Aids Alliance for Region Two. Nationwide, organizers anticipate raising $4 million to help fight HIV/AIDS, a news release says.

In New Orleans, dozens of restaurants will participate on July 18. At least 25 percent of proceeds will benefit the NO/AIDS Task Force.

Diners may also ask for a donation envelope to make an additional contribution, which will include entry in a drawing for a prize for both diner and waiter.

Visit http://www.diningoutforlife for more information.

‘Funkin’ fundraiser slated May 25 in N.O.

NEW ORLEANS — The John Besh Foundation and the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience will host the “Funkin’ It Up” fundraiser at 7 p.m. May 25 at the Hyatt Regency, 601 Loyola Ave.

Chefs Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese Food; John Currence, City Grocery; Donald Link, Link Restaurant Group; Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s; Aaron Sanchez, Food Network, Mestizo Restaurant; David Slater, Emeril’s; Jacques Torres; and Besh will present the evening’s food.

As part of the fundraiser, chef Leah Chase will be awarded the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award.

The Ella Brennan award recognizes one person annually that has made a “lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community,” a news release says.

Tickets start at $250 and run to $325 for VIP admission to the fundraiser and afterparty at Borgne. VIP tables for 10 are available for $5,000. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Compiled by Food staf