• Saint Louis Cellars Food & Wine opens this weekend after an impressive redesign of the 1912 Maplewood Auto Parts building. Not surprising, the stainless steel cabinets are the eye-catching feature of the open kitchen where chef GREG MAGGI is in command. There are 10 stools along the counter where you can watch him while eating a fresh salad, thin flat bread or hot panini. (Tip: Grilled cheese is awesome with bacon and beefsteak tomatoes.) The refrigerator case displays offerings by the pound that Greg has half cooked, with instructions for finishing at home. Or there’s cafe-style seating inside and on the patio. ‘The Table’ is a dining option that can be reserved Friday or Saturday for a multi-course, wine-paired dinner.
• MAKING IT! That’s the name of a cookbook of simple, healthy recipes from St. Louis chefs. You can buy the book at the Clayton Farmers’ Market, at a booth run by an enterprising group of city school students who are learning how to run a small business. In addition to the book, they are selling the fabulous Angel Baked Cookies for $7 a dozen. The student project is part of the North Grand Neighborhood Services organization. (And if you have a pooch, the ‘Making It’ booth also sells gourmet dog bones made by DeLaSalle Middle School students in the shape of squirrels and rabbits.)
• The annual L’École Culinaire Chili Cook-Off is Friday June 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The carnival-themed event is an open house for the school, but the games, funnel cakes, snow cones, cookie decorating and ice sculpting are perfect for little kids, and free! Come cheer on the Ladue firemen as they compete against the chef instructors for the Best Chili title.
• Head for Arnold Stove and Fireplace Center June 6 for the Celebrity BBQ Throwdown from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. RAY LAMPE, spokeschef for the Big Green Egg, the unusually shaped smoker/grill, challenged TIM GRANDINETTI, aka Dr. Brownstone, who then challenged chef CARY McDOWELL to a BBQ throwdown. Cary will be taking time away from the opening of his Clarksville dining venture at Overlook Farm to participate. Chefs around town should know that P-D restaurant critic JOE BONWICH will reveal his identity; he’s one of the judges!
• Quick, get your tickets to Lambstravaganza…the event may already be a sellout. GERARD CRAFT, JOSH GALLIANO, KEVIN NASHAN and LOU ROOK are half of the stunning lineup of chefs preparing this feast in the field on June 7. Held at Prairie Grass Farms in New Florence, Mo., the meal features grass-fed beef and free-range eggs produced on the farm. This fund-raiser for Slow Food St. Louis costs $85 and includes wine from Les Bourgeois and Schlafly beer.
• Or if you are more into pork, sign up for the Newman Farm Heritage Berkshire Pork Tour and ‘Gate-to-Plate’ Dinner June 13 in Myrtle, Mo., in the Ozarks. Farm owner RITA NEWMAN describes the day as an ‘Agri-Culinary University,’ where participants will learn how animals are raised and how meat is cut, and discuss the importance of modern farming and traditional methods in the production of high-quality pork. ADELE DOUGLASS, CEO of Humane Farm Animal Care, will also be there. The event, including lunch and dinner, is free, but reservations are required at newmanfarm.com.
• The International Horseradish Festival is also next weekend, June 6 and 7 in Collinsville, Ill. Did you know that Southern Illinois grows 85 percent of the world’s horseradish? Find more statistics and a festival schedule for the Bloody Mary contest and other kitschy games at horseradishfestival.com.
If you attend two or more of these events, let me know. I hate to miss them, but I’ll be in Boston. Write to Amy Peck Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org.