Wolf and Gjerde Named Finalists for Beard Mid-Atlantic Chef of the Year

The James Beard Foundation announced the list of restaurant and chef finalists for the 2014 awards: Cindy Wolf of Charleston and Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen are among the five finalists for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic,” one of 10 regional categories.

FSM’s own Dara Bunjon was invited to be a panelist at the recent Women’s Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR) Conference in Chicago. She joined other foodservice and food-marketing professionals, discussing the pros and cons, systems and processes and risks and rewards associated with branded merchandise. Miz Dara, who handles social media for WCR, was seen out and about in Chicago hobnobbing with the food elite including a fabulous food experience at Eataly with WCR’s incoming president Elizabeth Falkner. I guess it’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it. Congrats!

OPEN FOR BIZ: Venti-Tre a new fast-casual concept from Fazoli’s, the nation’s largest chain of quick-service Italian restaurants opened at The Shops at Canton Crossing. Venti-Tre (which means 23 in Italian) features a customizable menu with fresh toppings every day that can be added into the customer’s choice of pasta, salad or piada (a wrap-like sandwich).

Closed since January due to a water leak, PABU in The Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East has reopened with new spring cocktails, a full beverage menu and a sake station. Check out Executive Chef Jonah Kim’s most popular dishes including the Okonomiyaki, Chirashi, fried chicken, vegetable croquettes and pork loin with Kimchi Rice.

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Celebrate springtime in Sykesville at “Mimosas on Main Street.” Shops and restaurants have teamed up for an afternoon of mimosas and music on April 26from 12 – 5 p.m. Be sure to stop by Baldwin’s Station b’cuz they’ll be offering a special mimosa menu for their Sunday brunch, $3 mimosas as well as champagne cocktails. Also at Baldwin’s “The Station,” on April 25 they’re having a “Welcome Spring Fling Deck Party.”

The Baltimore Farmers Market returns for their 37th year on Sunday, April 6 from 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. Join the rest of the city under the JFX (at Holliday & Saratoga) and get the best of B-more local products—everything from meats, cheeses and desserts to flowers, herbs and original crafts. FYI – my absolute fave is Beads by Bettina—beautiful hand crafted jewelry. My go to vendors are Mallow Crunchies, Migae’s Magnificent Mini Donuts (and they REALLY are magnificent), Hamilton Crop Circle, Johns Local Sweet Corn & Produce and Albright Farms Produce. SOOO many tasty treats! For more Farmers Market info, go to

Looking for something different on Mother’s Day? Experience Fell’s Point in a whole new way at the 43rd Annual Historic Harbor House Tour of Fell’s Point, set to take place on Sunday, May 11, from 11 a.m. til 5 p.m. The event benefits The Preservation Society and is a self-guided tour through its quaint streets and a sampling of homes in this historic maritime community in Baltimore City. After the tour, check out the many restaurants in the area including Nancy Longo’s Pierpoint, Bertha’s Mussels and Max’s Tap House.

It’s a bacon-themed festival—how cool is that! The inaugural Maryland Bacon Festival will take place on Rash Field on April 26 at The Inner Harbor. Thirty of the area’s top restaurants and food trucks will offer bacon sampling, full sized bacon cuisine, bacon confectionary delights and bacon cooking demonstrations. The event also features live music, a bacon-themed children’s zone and …TA DA! The 2014 Maryland Bacon-Off! Billed as one of the largest bacon battles in America, participants will compete in four categories – appetizers, entrees, dessert, and/or cocktails. It gets even better – they’re having a Bacon Eating Competition! I’m SO going to this!

The 4th Annual Decanter: A Celebration of Maryland Wine and Racing Set for April 12-13 at Pimlico Race Course at 5201 Park Heights Avenue from 12 – 6 p.m. Watch and bet on live turf and dirt horse racing while sipping on some of the state’s best wines. The event, sponsored by the Maryland Wineries Association in conjunction with the Maryland Jockey Club, allows guests to sample wine from over 20 Maryland wineries, browse wine & equine focused art and crafts, listen to live music, dine on local fare and experience live horse racing.

RA Sushi’s 10th Annual “Nicky’s Week” fundraiser is set for May 25-31. Nicky’s Week” was developed in memory of St. Jude patient Nicholas “Nicky” Mailliard, a nephew of one of RA’s founders, who lost a long battle with brain cancer in February 2005 at the young age of 13. RA Sushi initiated the fundraiser to honor the memory of Nicky and to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude. Since its inception, the fundraiser has raised more than $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. RA will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of a variety of menu items and beverages to St. Jude.

About the Author

RANDI ROM is a Baltimore special events planner, marketing and public relations maven, freelance writer and head of R.J. Rom & Associates. Have a hot scoop? Contact Randi via e-mail at or by phone at 443-691-9671.

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