Events

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The American Culinary Federation is coming to KC

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Ben Vaughn, a popular Food Network personality (he hosted the network's Health Inspectors series), will be one of the culinary experts giving presentations at the American Culinary Federation convention in Kansas City next week. - FOOD NETWORK
  • Food Network
  • Ben Vaughn, a popular Food Network personality (he hosted the network's Health Inspectors series), will be one of the culinary experts giving presentations at the American Culinary Federation convention in Kansas City next week.

Kansas City’s most acclaimed restaurants and barbecue joints might have a run on reservations later this month. Chefs from other cities invariably are interested in checking out buzzworthy local spots, and downtown Kansas City will be awash in white chef jackets July 25–29, when hundreds of members of the American Culinary Federation gather for their annual convention at the downtown Kansas City Marriott.

The schedule includes a barbecue competition, in a “Pork 101” class, a workshop in buttercream sculptures, and trends in modern food trucks when the ACF — a national organization of more than 20,000 professional chefs and cooks — meets here. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event.

The 2014 convention is the first time that the event has been held in Kansas City, according to an ACF spokesperson, and it’s the reason that the Greater Kansas City Chef’s Association is hosting a barbecue competition for attendees the night before the convention kicks off.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Uberdine re-creates a school lunch tray, the chef Joe Shirley way

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 4:07 PM



Last Saturday's Uberdine event, "School Days," featured chef Joe Shirley's versions of, from top left, mixed vegetables, Jell-O, chicken patty, tuna casserole, rectangle pizza, and bread and butter.
  • Last Saturday's Uberdine event, "School Days," featured chef Joe Shirley's versions of, from top left, mixed vegetables, Jell-O, chicken patty, tuna casserole, rectangle pizza, and bread and butter.

It has been at least 24 years since local chef Joe Shirley — the founder of the Uberdine series of pop-up restaurant events — last ate a school lunch at Horace Mann Elementary School in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri. But he has never quite forgotten the experience — or his favorite things on the heavy plastic lunch tray.

"My favorite days were the ones where the kitchen served a nice homemade cinnamon roll with chili," says Shirley. "And the cinnamon roll was just barely touching the chili, giving a slight chili note to the sweet roll."

Shirley created his version of that roll for the Uberdine event he titled "School Days" last Saturday at the St. James Place Community Kitchen — a nonprofit organization at 3934 Troost — that serves as many as 250 free meals five nights a week to patrons, many of them homeless. The "School Days" event raised enough funds for St. James Place to pay for at least one night of meals for the men, women and children who patronize the facility.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Cafe Trio celebrates a decade by passing gifts around

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Chris Youngers, left, and Tai Nguyen had very little restaurant experience when they opened the original Cafe Trio at 35th and Broadway. A decade later, Cafe Trio is one of the few independent restaurant  operations on the Country Club Plaza.
  • Chris Youngers, left, and Tai Nguyen had very little restaurant experience when they opened the original Cafe Trio at 35th and Broadway. A decade later, Cafe Trio is one of the few independent restaurant operations on the Country Club Plaza.

If you're feeling somewhat philanthropic and have been meaning to dine at Cafe Trio - the intimate bistro at 4558 Main, just east of Mill Creek Park - Monday nights in June might be just the reason to do so. Tonight and June 23 and June 30, the owners of the 10-year-old restaurant, Chris Youngers and Tai Nguyen, are donating 10 percent of the night's receipts to a different charity. Tonight's percentage will be donated to the Good Samaritan Project; the funds raised on June 23 and 30 will be given to the Kansas City Care Clinic and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, respectively.

The charitable donations are just one way that Youngers and Nguyen are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Cafe Trio. Patrons dining at the restaurant in June are given a $10 gift card, and the staff serves champagne and cake to diners on Friday nights until June 27.

There have been times during the last 10 years that Youngers and Nguyen weren't sure they were going to make it to this anniversary, especially after the national economy tanked in 2008. "We had taken on debt to move from 35th and Broadway to this location in 2009," says Youngers. "We went from having 12 employees to 50 employees."

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Tonight will be the rowdy last hurrah for Pandolfi's Deli

Posted By on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Pandolfi's Deli closes tonight, but owner Jake Hendershot  wants it to be a party -- not a funeral.
  • Pandolfi's Deli closes tonight, but owner Jake Hendershot wants it to be a party -- not a funeral.


Sicilians are notoriously superstitious and Kansas City's Columbus Park - for many decades a solidly Sicilian-American community - is a neighborhood where omens are taken very seriously. And the omens are practically overwhelming tonight: the first full Moon on a Friday the 13th in over a decade (there won't be another until 2049) and the last day of Pandolfi's Deli, the restaurant opened by Jake Hendershot four years ago in the former Lapetina floral shop. That's right, the one connected to the former Lapetina Funeral Home, where mob boss Charles Binaggio - among other mob greats over the years - was set out for public viewing in a costly copper casket in 1950.

But there will be a party tonight - no last rites permitted - at 538 Campbell when Hendershot and his staff (and a few special guests, including Hendershot's parents, his new bride Aubree, and former Pandolfi's chef Grant Cansler) will host a farewell bashfor the restaurant beginning at 5 p.m. The Barkley Martin Ensemble starts playing at 8 p.m. and festivities are scheduled to continue until 11 p.m. Or later. 

"We'll be selling food - we're already sold out of a couple things - until we run out of food," says Hendershot. "We're selling beer, wine and mixed drinks too. We made a lot of limoncello - it's in the freezer now."

Hendershot made the decision to close the neighborhood lunch venue last month. He hasn't ruled out opening another Pandolfi's in a different location.

"We're expecting at least 200 people," says Hendershot. "We'll have seating inside and outside."

If as many friends and fans show up as Hendershot expects, the street in front of the deli could be a mob scene. Figuratively, of course.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Chef Justin Voldan of Hotel Phillips wins Golden Fork Award

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Hotel Phillips executive chef Justin Voldan, left, with sous chef Himesh Zimba, received the 2014 Golden Fork Award at last evening's "Taste of Kansas City" event sponsored by The Pitch.
  • Hotel Phillips executive chef Justin Voldan, left, with sous chef Himesh Zimba, received the 2014 Golden Fork Award at last evening's "Taste of Kansas City" event sponsored by The Pitch.

Justin Voldan, the 30-year-old executive chef at the Hotel Phillips Kansas City, won the 2014 Golden Fork competition at Thursday night's "Taste of Kansas City" event, sponsored by The Pitch in the KC Live Block of the Power & Light District. Voldan competed against five other local chefs in preparing a meal from a collection of ingredients presented to them just moments before the cooking competition started.

For a slideshow of photographs from this year's "Taste of Kansas City" event, click here.

Voldan, an Illinois native, has been at the Hotel Phillips for three years; the Golden Fork Award was his first major culinary-competition win since he moved to Kansas City in 2011. Each of the competing chefs was given the same ingredients to use in preparing one or two (and in some cases three) unique dishes that were judged by me, author and blogger David Hayden, and food blogger and cookbook author Emily Farris. The event raised funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.

The competing chefs, in addition to Voldan, were second-place winner Charles d'Ablaing from Chaz on the Plaza; third-place winner Shawn Brady from the Ambassador Hotel; Cruz Vasquez from Accurso's Italian Restaurant; Bobby Stearns from Ophelia's Restaurant; and the 2013 Golden Fork Award winner, Jason Wiggins from the InterContinental Hotel Kansas City.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Taste of Kansas City 2014 set for this Thursday

Posted By on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 4:50 PM

There will be sweet, savory and intoxicating samples to taste at the 2014 "Taste of Kansas City" event, to be held on Thursday, May 22, in the Power & Light District. General admission tickets cost $55 each. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • There will be sweet, savory and intoxicating samples to taste at the 2014 "Taste of Kansas City" event, to be held on Thursday, May 22, in the Power & Light District. General admission tickets cost $55 each.

Twenty local food and beverage vendors, including Accurso's Italian Restaurant, Blue Bird Bistro, Jerusalem Cafe, Colors Macarons, the Dubliner, and Westside Local will be sharing samples of their products this Thursday, May 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m. when The Pitch presents "Taste of Kansas City"  in the KC Live Block of the Power & Light District. The event raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.

Six local chefs will compete for the 2014 Golden Fork trophy, including last year's winner, Jason Wiggins of the InterContinental Hotel Kansas City. All six chefs will be challenged to create a creative meal prepared with the ingredients of a "mystery box" of ingredients unknown to the competing chefs until shortly before they begin cooking.

This year's competing chefs will be, in addition to Jason Wiggins, Charles d'Ablaing from Chaz on the Plaza, Cruz Vasquez from Accurso's Italian Restaurant, Shawn Brady from the Ambassador Hotel, Bobby Stearns from Ophelia's Restaurant, and Justin Voldan from the Hotel Phillips.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Uberdine to serve its first brunch on May 25

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2014 at 3:13 PM

One of the eight courses served at the May 25 Uberdine brunch is a pan-seared scallop on Farm to Market brioche with a fried quail egg, dusted with bacon powder. - JEFF AKIN
  • Jeff Akin
  • One of the eight courses served at the May 25 Uberdine brunch is a pan-seared scallop on Farm to Market brioche with a fried quail egg, dusted with bacon powder.


Chef Joe Shirley isn't ready for his real restaurant yet - he and his wife, Carolina, want to wait until their only child, a sixth-grader, goes to high school - but his nine-month-old pop-up dining concept, Uberdine (which The Pitch named "Best Restaurant Experiment" in last year's Best of Kansas City issue), is giving the young chef the opportunity to keep his day job as the executive chef for a major financial institution and express his culinary creativity on his own terms.

Since launching Uberdine last July, Shirley has mounted four very different dinners in unique locations, including a coffee-inspired meal at the Roasterie and a Japanese-style meal at the Filling Station coffeehouse in midtown. Uberdine's first brunch is to be held Sunday, May 25, at the Farm to Market Bread Co.'s headquarters at 20th Street and Walnut. Tickets are still left for the brunch, which has two seatings (at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; for prices and reservations, visit the Uberdine website here).

The eight-course brunch will, like the previous four Uberdine events, be a showcase for Shirley's creativity: one of the courses is described on Shirley's menu for the event as "Mac and Cheese": truffle, cheddar, explosion.

Explosion

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Polski Day will go on - but more quietly - without Don Lipovac

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 2:07 PM

There will still be plenty of lively music -- and cabbage rolls -- at Polski Day this Saturday.
  • There will still be plenty of lively music -- and cabbage rolls -- at Polski Day this Saturday.


For the first time in a decade, the annual  Polski Day festivities in Kansas City, Kansas - a celebration of the long Polish heritage of Strawberry Hill - will not showcase the accordion styling of the legendary Don Lipovac. The popular entertainer and recording artist died April 26.

But the show - and the dinner - must go on.

"Everyone loved Don," says Kathy Kolenda-Smith, the chairman of the festival. "He was a mainstay of our festival, even though he wasn't Polish but of Slovenian and Croation heritage. He grew up in Strawberry Hill and knew all of the traditional music of the many different ethnic groups here."

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mary Roach passes through town to talk about Gulp

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Author Mary Roach wants to take tourists on a cruise down the alimentary canal on Thursday at the Central Library. - CHRIS HARDY PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Chris Hardy Photography
  • Author Mary Roach wants to take tourists on a cruise down the alimentary canal on Thursday at the Central Library.


"It sounds so leisurely," Mary Roach says. "Like sailing down the Danube - a picturesque adventure."

The journey she's telling me about isn't a river cruise, though, but a float trip down the alimentary canal. That's the subject of the author's most recent book, Gulp, newly issued in softcover.

It's the word canal that causes confusion, she says. That anatomical passage is a canal only in the most, you know, romantic sense. It's really more of a fleshy tube that extends from your mouth to your anus and functions in the digestion and absorption of food and the elimination of waste.

Just what happens along the alimentary canal is one of the adventures in fascinating (and occasionally gruesome) bodily functions that Roach traces in Gulp. Roach discusses the book - and the research behind its often hilarious anecdotes - at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at the Kansas City Central Library (14 West 10th Street, 816-701-3400).

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival celebrates the spirits and the sow

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM

The first Pitch Bacon & Bourbon Festival will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Guild, 1621 Locust. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • The first Pitch Bacon & Bourbon Festival will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Guild, 1621 Locust.

It is, of course, Homer Simpson who has defined our culture's love of bacon. His declaration that he could be a vegetarian only if bacon grew on trees pretty much sums up our endless hunger for the stuff.

Bourbon doesn't grow on trees, either, but the corn-based, fermented whiskey is both vegetarian-friendly and a fine complement to all things fried, smoked or both.

Put them together and you get The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival, a drinky porkathon with something for every Homer Simpson. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, eight Kansas City restaurants - including Accurso's, Anton's Taproom, Barrel 31, Blue Bird Café, EBT restaurant, and the Rock & Run Brewery and Pub - join more than 25 whiskeys to fry and pour their wares at the Guild (1621 Locust). The event is sold out.

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