January 15, 2010 - January 2010 Culinary Updates
    The culinary throw-down "Bad to the Bone" - slated for January 15th at Stubb's BBQ downtown on Red River - has been rescheduled to February 28th, due to the rain. Stubb's outdoor stage will still host an evening of live bands, while chef David Bull - executive chef at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas - takes on chef Shawn Cirkiel of Austin's Parkside and Paul Petersen, star of TLC's BBQ Pitmasters and former executive chef of the Gage Hotel in the Big Bend National Park just outside Marfa.
  The chefs will create a dish that includes all three of the evening's "secret ingredients" - which could range from diverse edibles such as grapefruit to cauliflower to oysters.
     A live video feed will project all of the kitchen stage action onto Stubb's stage canopy, giving the audience close-ups of the food preparation.  Audience participants and a panel of noted culinary experts will sample the dishes and use live text voting to determine the winning chef.  DJ el john Selector will spin bad-to-the-bone soul, funk and world beats to keep the tempo pumping until all final votes have been cast.
     Once the winner is announced, the seven-piece Latin band Charanga Cakewalk - featuring master multi-instrumentalist Michael Ramos - takes the stage for live concert. "Bad to the Bone" tickets are $35, and all proceeds will benefit the Sustainable Food Center - which helps more than 20,000 Central Texans access healthy, affordable and locally grown food annually.  Call (512) 480-8341 or visit www.StubbsAustin.com for tickets and updates.
     The annual "Taste of Austin" returns to the Palmer Events Center on Wednesday, January 27th, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Organized by the Westwood High School DECA club and the Greater Austin Restaurant Association - to benefit their scholarship fund - the event brings more than 100 Austin-area restaurants together for an evening of sampling and schmoozing.  
    General admission tickets are $25, and reserved seating tickets are $35.  Take it from personal experience:  it's worth the extra $10 to have a place to sit down your plate as you make the rounds of all the food booths.  This event sells out every year, so visit www.TasteOfAustin.org to reserve your tickets ASAP.
   Finally, the Tuaca Body Art Ball returns to the Paramount Theatre on Monday, February 1st, to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.  Produced by Dallas-based Chris and Candy Productions, the event asks visual artists to convert models into living, and revealing,
works of art -via body paint and costuming.  
 The models are actually performers from the likes of Cirque du Soleil, Forty Duce and America's Got Talent. The fast-paced show dazzles with dancers, singers, and specialty acts - all set to a dynamic soundtrack and synchronized lights, and all to show off the spectacular work of the body-painting artists.  
   I had the pleasure of twice serving as a celebrity judge for the fun event, and the work of the artists is always amazing.  The event is free, but you must RSVP online at www.TuacaBodyArtBall.com to get on the guest list.  Don't tarry - this event fills up fast!

(2009 Austin Tuaca Body Art Ball photo courtesy Chris and Candy Productions)