Look who’s representing Minnesota in the 11th season of Bravo’s “Top Chef: New Orleans” series: Sara Johannes, chef of Shoyu, a Japanese restaurant at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport (Concourse G). Johannes is a graduate of St. Paul College’s culinary arts program and worked at the Walker Art Center’s 20.21 and with Wolfgang Puck at restaurants in California before arriving at Shoyu. The Bravo series debuted last week and headed to the swamp with the contestants — all from the Midwest — who were charged with making a dish from one of Louisiana’s delicacies: alligator, frog or turtle. The show airs locally at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Bravo. For weekly recaps, check out Star Tribune.com/tabletalk.
Assignment: Salads in schools
Some of Minneapolis’ top local chefs and restaurateurs are going back to grade school — in the best way. They’ve teamed up with the city schools’ Culinary and Nutrition Services to form a True Food Chef Council to promote more wholesome, unprocessed, “real” food in schools. They’ll help develop recipes and work with students in cafeterias. Some dishes may even end up on a restaurant’s children’s menu. Through October, more than 20 restaurants are raising money to install salad bars in the Marcy Open, Jefferson, Hall and Seward Montessori schools. At Lucia’s, for example, a portion of the price of their Jefferson Pumpkin bars will go to Jefferson Elementary School. For a list of participating restaurants and “their” schools, visit http://bit.ly/1bu9GLN.
Mississippi Market delivery expands
A year ago, the two Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-ops began a delivery service in St. Paul. Now they’ve expanded, crossing a couple of rivers to deliver to 50 ZIP codes in the area. Customers can shop online — no need to be a co-op member — by visiting www.msmarket.coop. Delivery is available Monday through Saturday, with groceries arriving in reusable cloth bags. Delivery fees range from $9.95 to $17.95, depending on location and time chosen for delivery.
Best Buy, best chefs
You never know who you’ll run into at Best Buy. This Saturday, Jamie Malone, chef de cuisine at Sea Change Restaurant, and chef Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant will be at the Richfield Best Buy store, 1000 W. 78th St., from 1 to 4 p.m. demonstrating small appliances while preparing recipes. Yes, samples! Their appearance is part of a small-appliance sale, a contest for a $2,000 kitchen appliance makeover and chance to win a dinner for two at a restaurant chosen by the chefs.
Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey
Every once in a while, a really cool cooking class comes along. This time, it’s hosted by Cooks of Crocus Hill, which is bringing in chef John Currence, a James Beard Award winner, New Orleans restaurateur and author of “Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some” (Andrews McMeel, $24.48). The $75 class is at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 at the school, 877 Grand Av., St. Paul. On the menu: lemon-pickled apples, green onion hush puppies, mustard-crusted pork tenderloin with apple cider reduction and pork fat beignets with bourbon caramel. To register, visit www.cooksofcrocushill.com.
Kowalski’s turns 30
Kowalski’s stores celebrate their 30th anniversary Saturday with special events in all stores from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They promise samples, fun and surprises. Congrats to them! Also plan ahead for Oct. 22, when chef Lidia Bastianich appears at the Woodbury Market from 5 to 7 p.m. to sign copies of her newest book, “Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking.”
Poll: Which 2013 Taste Holiday Cookie Contest entry do you most want to try?