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To Serve Man

"St. Louis Cooks and Entertains" -- and you get to sample the results

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Attention, gourmets, gourmands, epicures, gastronomes, gastronauts, gastropods and Gas-X users: The cooking expo that turned the Center of Clayton into a food lover's paradise last year moves west to St. Chuck's Family Arena this year.

What's cool about "St. Louis Cooks and Entertains"? The vendors' area features so many samples that you should skip a meal before going. Last year, you could try cheesecake, health bars, chocolate desserts, cheese, beef jerky, dips and plenty of locally made goodies. Once again this year you can check out displays of the priciest dishwashers and ovens in the Western world, along with some cool gadgets you can actually afford, in the "Dream Kitchen" area.

Celebrity hounds will enjoy meeting Father Dominic of PBS' Breaking Bread With Father Dominic; Southern-cooking authority and author of a dozen cookbooks Nathalie Dupree; Gale Gand, author of Butter Sugar Flour Eggs and owner of the Chicago restaurant Tru; chef Andrew Carmellini of New York's Café Boulud; Nancy Baggett, author of The All-American Cookie Book; Ragavhan Iyer, author of Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking; Elaine Gonzáles, author of The Art of Chocolate; Ina Pinkney, chef/owner of the Chicago Jewish restaurant Ina's; and Joe Miller of LA French/California fusion restaurant Joe's. Local chefs Marc Del Pietro of Portabella, Thom Zoog of Shiitake, Cary McDowell and Jim Fiala of the Crossing, Steve Komorek of Trattoria Marcella and Dominic Galati of Dominic's Trattoria hold forth as well. It wouldn't be a cooking show if these folks didn't put on cooking demonstrations, too. You can pretend you're in the studio audience of Hot Off the Grill With Bobby Flay or some other TV cooking show.

Big sponsor KMOX radio also underwrites talks on entertaining and cooking with herbs, a local and national food writers' roundtable, a wine-tasting event, talks with a brewmaster and a food court.

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