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Beard bash

By P. Joseph Potocki

May 5 marks American culinary legend James Beard's 105th birthday anniversary. Each year, the James Beard Foundation, located in Beard's own Greenwich Village Brownstone, hosts a Beard birthday-bash-cum-culinary-awards-ceremony featuring dishes culled from Beard's own recipe book. If you're gambling on your plane flying to N.Y.C. Monday to catch this annual event, get your gastronomic juices going early and pick up some gossipy schmooze-room tidbits by attending "The Enduring Impact and Influence James Beard on American Food" this Saturday at COPIA.

Eminent food consultant, NYU department of nutrition, food studies and public advisory board chair and Bohemian contributor Clark Wolf moderates a panel of three eminent others, including San Francisco Chronicle food and wine critic Michael Bauer; author, nutritionist and food scholar Marion Nestle; and Jim Dodge, Bon Appétit Management's director of specialty culinary programs, noted author and renowned pastry chef.

In 1981 Beard cofounded NYC Citymeals–on-Wheels, a nonprofit that to this day provides meals to elderly New York shut-ins—which conveniently segues into announcement of the ninth annual Council on Aging Meals on Wheels Derby Day fundraiser, to be held Saturday at the Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards. This blowout features two Iron Chef –style competitions, tunes by the Fourth Street New Orleans Jazz Band, Sonoma-Southernish dishes prepared by local celebrity chefs, a silent auction and a chance to live-bid on a gourmet dinner for 12. The event finishes you off with the grand running of the Kentucky Derby projected on two monster screens.

Meals on Wheels Derby Day Chef Competition starts at 11am Saturday, May 3, at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, 4401 Slusser Road, Windsor Tickets are $135. Call 707.535.0143 or go to

NYU Critical Topics Series at COPIA runs 2pm to 3:30pm, Saturday, May 3. Tickets are $10. Wine and cheese reception and book signing afterwards. COPIA is at 500 First St., Napa. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 707.259.1600 or 800.51COPIA.

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