Food Network is casting in Akron for a new show, Food Court Wars.
According to casting producer Kristen Damiani, the show is looking for folks who already have a relationship, such as friends or family members, who believe they have what it takes to run their own locally inspired original eatery. The concept must be specific to this region of Ohio.
The show will be hosted by celebrity chef Tyler Florence. Two teams will battle to win a restaurant space inside one of Ohio’s shopping malls rent free for one year. The prize is worth up to $100,000.
To apply, email the following information to FoodCourt WarsCasting@gmail.com: Names, photos, short biographies and resumes of all team members, a description of the proposed eatery and how it would be locally inspired and original, contact information and current location of all team members.
For more information, visit www.FoodCourtWarsCasting.com; the deadline to apply is March 27.
Vote for local chef online
Cleveland chef Chris Hodgson is one of 100 nominees for Food & Wine magazine’s annual People’s Best New Chef award.
The program, now in its third year, honors up-and-coming innovators who have run their own kitchens for five years or fewer. Restaurants’ devotees will determine the winner online by voting from now through Monday at www.foodandwine.com/the-peoples-bnc.
Hodgson is chef and partner at Hodge’s Cleveland, one of the Driftwood Restaurants owned by restaurateur Scott Kuhn. His food truck Dim and Den Sum was the first to hit the streets of Cleveland. His second truck, Hodge Podge, finished second on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and was featured on Unique Eats. He and Kuhn opened Hodge’s Cleveland in March 2012.
The winner will be revealed Tuesday online at www.foodandwine.com; he or she will also be featured in July’s Food & Wine, the same issue that profiles the Best New Chefs.
Farm breakfast for a buck
The Summit County Farm Bureau is hosting its fifth annual Farmer’s Share Breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. March 23 at Copley High School, 3807 Ridgewood Road, Copley Township.
Pancakes with local maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, milk and coffee will be served. The breakfast is $1, which represents the average portion the farmer receives as compensation for producing the food for the breakfast.
Families are welcome. All proceeds will be donated to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and local food pantries.
The event will include a free vegetable gardening seminar from 8:45 to 10 a.m., presented by Vince Matlock, a Summit County master gardener specializing in backyard and local foods.
There will be a canned food drive, and the Summit County Farm Bureau Mobile Learning Laboratory will be on site for educational activities for adults and kids, including learning how maple syrup is made.
St. Patrick’s Day festivities
Local places are planning events for St. Patrick’s Day:
• Kirbie’s Family Meats and Catering, 4062 Fishcreek Road, Stow, is curing its own corned beef briskets in house. Complete corned beef dinners will be available Thursday through Sunday, along with sandwiches.
• Hudson’s Restaurant, at 80 N. Main St., Hudson and 3900 Medina Road, Copley Township, will feature a menu of Irish favorites on Saturday and Sunday, including corned beef and cabbage, Irish beef stew wrapped in boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake, corned beef sandwiches and Reuben sandwiches and St. Patrick’s Day drinks.
Nothing sour about this win
Congratulations to the local winners who will be featured on SnowFloss Kraut cans, as victors in the Fremont sauerkraut maker’s Label Stars contest.
Lexi Ortman, 9, of Hartville, and her great-grandmother, Frankie Byrd of Mogadore, will be pictured on cans that will be distributed later this year. Lexi’s mother, Sydnee Ortman, a teacher in Barberton, submitted the photo of her daughter and grandmother.
“Sauerkraut is part of Lexi’s favorite meal, sauerkraut and kielbasa with mashed potatoes. She asks for it whenever her great-grandmother comes over. We make it a couple of times a month,” Sydnee Ortman explained.
SnowFloss asked sauerkraut lovers to send in photos with favorite sauerkraut recipes and anecdotes, showing how they use SnowFloss products.
Maple sugar festival opens
Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath Township, will be holding its Maple Sugar Festival and pancake breakfast from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and March 23 and 24.
This is the only time visitors can tour the village’s sugaring sites. The breakfast is sponsored by Bob Evans Restaurants and includes pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit and beverage.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, $5 for members of the Western Reserve Historical Society. It includes admission to the museum and breakfast. Reservations are not required, and group discounts are available. For more information, visit www.halefarm.org.
Who has the best pizza?
The Interfraternity Council at the University of Akron is sponsoring a pizza competition to benefit the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
The event is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in Ballroom A of the UA Student Union. Admission is $7. Local shops will be entering their pizzas, and attendees can sample and vote for their favorites.
Preserving food workshop
Meats, soups and stews will be the focus of a home food preservation workshop presented by the Ohio State University Extension, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 20 at the Highland Library, 4160 Ridge Road, Medina.
It will be presented by Linnette Goard, a field specialist in food safety with the extension. Topics will include how to use a pressure canner; canning meats, soups and stews; freezing meats; and accessing other food resources.
The program is free, but reservations are required. Call the library at 330-278-4271 to reserve a spot. An optional home canning guide will be available for $10, and canning pressure gauges will be tested for accuracy from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for $5.
Chili cook-off is coming up
The Lauren Audrey Braman Memorial Chili Cook Off and Dessert Bake Off is set for 6 to 8 p.m. March 23 at the Copley High School Commons, 3807 Ridgewood Road, Copley Township.
Admission is $7, children under 5 free. Proceeds benefit teens at Akron Children’s Hospital’s oncology unit.
The fee to enter a chili or baked item is $30. The competition is open to individuals, teams or restaurants. To register, contact Cristine Braman at 330-665-2559, 330-618-7814 or email@example.com. Awards will be given in eight categories.
The 2013 Chili Cook Off is sponsored by Healthy Community/Healthy Youth of Copley (HCHY). Tax deductible donations can be mailed to: 4539 Mark Trail, Copley 44321. Please make checks payable to HCHY with Lauren Braman in the memo line.
Happy Birthday, Tomaso’s
Tomaso’s Italian Villa in Barberton is celebrating its 40th year in business, a testament to the hard work of owner Betty Thomas and her family.
Betty and her husband, Bill, opened the eatery in January 1973, and she has kept it going on her own for the past 23 years since Bill died of throat cancer in 1990. Tomaso’s serves Italian family favorites, including pasta and pizzas. Betty and Bill got their start working with her parents, Les and Angie Hilner, who founded Barberton’s Angie’s Pizza in 1954.
Thomas still works full time, hand-rolling the meatballs, making the sauce and her specialty house lasagna.
Their three children and five grandchildren all have worked at the business at one time or another, with daughter Lezlie Oliver now the manager.
Tomaso’s is at 3271 Barber Road, or visit its website at www.tomasositalianvilla.com.
Farmers markets want you
It’s a week until spring, and planning for local farmers markets is in full swing. Most won’t open until May or June, but some have put out the call for vendors.
The Munroe Falls Farmers Market is moving to Guise Park, next door to city hall, to allow easier access for patrons and handicap-accessible parking.
The market will run from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays from June 4 to Oct. 8, with a preview from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 18 in conjunction with Munroe Falls River Day festivities.
If you want to be a vendor, call Munroe Falls City Hall at 330-688-7491.
The Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Department also is looking for vendors for its farmers market, which will be at the Quirk Cultural Center. Contact the department at 330-971-8225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taste of Home Show set
Tickets are available for the Taste of Home Cooking School at Quaker Station on April 24.
Demonstrations will be presented by chef Michael Berna. Doors open at 5 p.m., with more than 30 vendor booths. Everyone who attends receives a gift bag filled with coupons and samples, and a subscription to Taste of Home magazine.
Tickets are $45 for a VIP seat, which includes early entrance, reserved seating, hors d’oeuvres, a meet and greet with the chef and special gifts. It’s $25 for reserved seating and $12 general admission.
Tickets can be purchased at WAKR/WQMX radio, 1795 W. Market St., Akron 44313, or by mail: send a self-addressed stamped envelope, with a check or money order made out to WAKR/WQMX Taste of Home, to the above address.