>>The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is showing off the area's best cooking talent at its second annual Chef's Challenge on Aug. 24.
"With these cooking shows being so big, people are so excited that we have something like that right here in Manchester," said April DiFalco, chamber president. "Right now we don't see other communities that are doing anything quite like it."
The competition, which will be held at Cheney Hall, features six chefs from local restaurants and businesses. They include Shawn Bittman of A Villa Louisa; Dotti Cannon of Brown Sugar Catering: Tony Sousa of Hartford Road Café; Tim Sheffield of Waterview Cafe at Manchester Country Club; Llord Tilley of The Main Pub; and defending champion Corey Wry of CW's Chops 'N' Catch. Information: manchesterchefschallenge.com.
>>Chef Justin Pillion has joined the Bee and Thistle Inn in Old Lyme, according to owner and general manager Linnea Rufo. Pillion, said Rufo, has built relationships with many of the most dedicated producers of fine foods in the area, and from these he draws inspiration to craft the finest farm to table cuisine. Information: 860- 434-1667 or beeandthistleinn.com.
>>Manchester's Randy's Wooster Street Pizza, 1000 Tolland Turnpike, was just named one of the Top 10 Family Friendly Restaurants in the US Foods new Top Family Friendly Restaurant contest. The top five restaurants will be announced on Sept. 2. Information: 860-649-1166 or woosterspizza.com
>>Eat out and help a good cause by dining at Hartford's Sorella, Salute or Vito's By the Park on Aug. 24 from 5 to 10 p.m. Ten percent of dinner proceeds that evening will be donated to the Bushnell Park Foundation and its efforts to restore the Spanish American War Memorial. Information: bushnellpark.org.
>> On Sept. 9, Whole Foods at Blue Back Square in West Hartford is donating 5 percent of its total sales to benefit the Billings Forge Community Works, a non-profit organization in Hartford that provides housing and jobs while promoting healthful and affordable food. The community includes Firebox restaurant, The Kitchen Café, a weekly Farmer's Market, an arts center and more. Information: billingsforgeworks.org.
>> Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford hosts its "Tiki Thursdays" every Thursday in August. Dining features a pig roast as well as drink specials and acoustic music. Price is $15 a person and includes roasted suckling pig, corn on the cob, assorted sides and one cocktail. Information: 860-493-7412 or trumbullkitchen.com
>>The first "Taste" series at Real Art Ways in Hartford was so popular, it's coming back again. Three more of the area's celebrity chefs will be part of the extended series that features a small plate menu interpretation by the featured chef and a screening from the French "Inventing Cuisine" series.
Featured on Aug. 25 will be Chris Prosperi, chef and co-owner of Metro Bis in Simsbury. Other featured chefs will be Rachel Carr of Six Main on Sept. 29, and Cafemantic's Jonathan Hudak on Oct. 20.
Individual event prices are $25 or $22 for RAW members. A special package is available for those who want tickets for all three vents. Cost is $60 for RAW members and $70 for non-members. Information: 860-267-1276 or realartways.org
>>A "Head to Tail" Max Chef to Farm Dinner will be at Rosedale Farms and Vineyards, 25 East Weatogue, Simsbury on Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. Chefs Scott Miller and Hunter Morton will present a multi-course menu that includes Stonington squid and peppers, farm pork and onions, monkfish and squash, beef cheek huaraches and tomato gratin. Cost is $115 per person plus tax and tip. Information: 860-566-8360 or maxcheftofarm.com.
>>Lyman Orchards will host a New England Clambake on Aug. 23. Steamed mussels, clams and lobster, corn on the cob, side dishes and dessert will be served under a tent on the grounds. Hamburgers and hot dogs will also be served. Live entertainment is also planned. Tickets are $39.99 for adults and $19.95 for juniors (6-12). Kids 5 and under eat free. Tax and tip are not included. Information: 860-349-6043 or lymanorchards.com
>>La Trattoria on Route 44 in Canton is offering its lobster dinner specials on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, with prices ranging from $15.95 to $24.95. Prices are subject to change. On Thursdays, there is also a raw bar special with $1 oysters and clams and $5 glasses of wine. Information: 860-673-5000 or latrattoriact.com.
>>Angelico's Lakehouse hosts all-you-can-eat BBQ Pig Roast on Aug. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. BBQ pig, pulled pork, BBQ chicken served with house sides including cheddar mac and cheese, smoking; chili, bourbon mashed potatoes and campfire baked beans will be served for $15 a person. Live entertainment will also be featured. Information: 860-267-1276 or angelicoslakehouse.com
>>The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival will be held Sept. 19 to 21. Friday seminars will be held at the Hyatt Regency Newport, with Saturday and Sunday seminars held at the Chinese Tea House on the grounds of the Marble House.
Activities include Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday, a Wine & Rosecliff Gala, Collectible Wine Dinner and exclusive Sunday brunch with celebrated speakers and chefs including Martha Stewart and Sara Moulton. Other featured presenters include author and epicurean Loy Di Palo, mixologist Marshall Altier and senior wine editor of Food & Wine, Megan Krigbaum. Proceeds benefit the Preservation Society of Newport County. Information: 401-847-1000 or NewportMasionsWineAndFood.org
>>Max Fish will hold a tour de France French Wine Dinner on Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Cuisine by Chef Robert Peterson will be served. The five-course dinner is $89 per person plus tax and tip. Information: 860-652-3474 or maxfishct.com
>>The birthday of iconic chef and author Julia Childs will be celebrated on Aug. 27 at Cavey's, 45 East Center St., Manchester, on Aug. 27. The wine-paired dinner will feature some of Child's famed dishes including soufflé of poached egg and stuffed leg of lamb with wines of Jim Brewer. The five courses and five wine dinner is $85 per person with reception beginning at 7 p.m. Information: 860-643-2751 or caveysrestaurant.com
>>Nixs Hartford, a seafood-focused eatery with craft cocktails, will open this month in Hartford at 40 Front Street. Named for Nix's Mate, an island off the coast of Boston Harbor, the restaurant is part of the Bostonian Hospitality Group - other locations are in Boston, Nantucket, Plymouth and Newburyport.