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Dining Planner: Mega Challah Bake and Food Network stars heat up the week

Holla: It's challah!

Think 600 pounds of flour, 400 eggs and 1 million sesame seeds. Plus mixing bowls, spoons, aprons and a whole lot of pairs of hands. It's the second annual Mega Challah Bake in St. Petersburg Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Club at Treasure Island. With the singular goal of making challah together, the Chabad Jewish Center of Greater St. Petersburg, Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties, Hadassah of St. Petersburg, St. Pete Wealth Management Group of Raymond James and the Club at Treasure Island have joined to unite the women (12 and up) of St. Petersburg.

It's a stress-free, hands-on baking experience. With table captains assisting the challah-making process, there's plenty of time for schmoozing and a chance to learn more about the origins of challah. They aim to get more than 100 women mixing, kneading and braiding bread together, and table groups are encouraged. $20. (727) 344-4900. 400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island. Registration is required at

Food: Stars collide

Chefs Marc Murphy and Anne Burrell host a culinary demonstration and dinner at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa on Saturday starting at 6:30 p.m. During the demonstration, guests will be treated to hors d'oeuvres, immediately followed by a four-course dinner featuring alternate courses by Murphy and Burrell. Don't know these guys? Burrell is the host of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America and Worst Cooks in America — Celebrity Edition. She was also one of Iron Chef Mario Batali's sous chefs in the Iron Chef America series and appears on other shows on the network such as Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Murphy, who heads Grey Salt at the Hard Rock, serves as chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants and is a regular judge on Food Network's Chopped and Chopped Junior and has appeared on Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay and the Rachael Ray Show, among others. He is also the author of Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking. 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. $150 per person. Buy tickets at (813) 627-6630 or via email at

Big cheese: Going Alpine

Matt Bonano, owner of the tiny cheese shop Brooklyn South in St. Petersburg, is one of our local treasures. A member of the American Cheese Society and an expert on affinage (that's aging cheese), he has taken one giant step for local cheese lovers.

In a new program coming up this month, called Adopt an Alp, Brooklyn South is the sole representative of an Alpine cheesemaker.

"We are working with a producer called Maran," Bonano said. "He and his staff have a great line of raw cow's milk cheeses from eastern Switzerland. We're getting two varieties of his Alpkase, a Grottino and a Walsekase."

What's a Grottino? It's a moist cured Ticino-style cheese with a grayish, natural rind and a slightly tangy, semi-hard paste. And a Walsekase? You'll have to head over to 1437 Central Ave. to find out.

"I'm super excited to get these beauties in," Bonano said. "We're going to be the only shop with these particular cheeses. I'm going to make some specials with them and have some demos through the week. Come on in for a sample."

Dining Planner: Mega Challah Bake and Food Network stars heat up the week 11/09/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 11:26am]
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