Indian Summer is over, fall has arrived, and there’s lots of food news to share!

Fall is also the season for big, splashy fundraising events, which of course means great eating for a cause—my favorite kind.

Bake-at-Home Pizza is Back!

If you haven’t heard already, it’s time to breathe a sigh of sweet relief: It will once again be possible to pick up a freshly made pizza to take home and bake. A new company, Bake 425, is opening in many of the old Homemade Pizza Company stores, including Evanston and Glencoe. The Highland Park location (479 Central Ave., 847-681-9700) is already open; the Winnetka location (544 Lincoln Ave., 847-501-5000) opens later this month. You’ll find big salads, artisanal pizzas (the Tarte Flambée, pictured top right, and the Butternut Deluxe sound especially amazing) made with organic and seasonal ingredients, and more. Welcome to the North Shore, Bake 425!

Taste America with the James Beard Foundation

The prestigious James Beard Awards take place in Chicago next May, but you can get a jump on the action at the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America “Local Flavor from Coast to Coast” event, held Friday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 18 in the Second City. Presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature, the Friday night event at the Trump International Hotel will be “A Night of Culinary Stars.” The reception features the food of James Beard Award winners Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (Purple Pig), Dave Beran (NEXT), Carrie Nahabedian (Naha, Brindille), Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate) and Takashi Yagihashi (Takashi, Slurping Turtle). A seated dinner prepared by Grant Achatz (Alinea) and Host Chef Thomas Lents (Sixteen) follows. Tickets cost $400 and availablehere. Saturday includes free consumer events at Sur La Table (900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago) with book signings, tastings and cooking demos. Should be quite the party weekend.

Photo by Hugh Galdones.

Get Ready: The Kohler Food & Wine Experience is Coming!

A four-day extravaganza of happy gluttony is on the horizon. The Kohler Food & Wine Experienceis an interactive culinary event at the world-famous American Club Resort and in and around the city of Kohler, Wisc. It will feature celebrity chefs, mixology classes, tastings, book signings and more—there is definitely something for every level of foodie to enjoy. Headlining chefs include Rick Tramonto, Geoffrey Zakarian, Stephanie Izard and Graham Elliot, so better start exercising now; you’ve got anticipatory calories to burn.

Vote Early and Often!

Martha Stewart herself has selected Hewn Bakery (810 Dempster St., Evanston, 847-869-4396) as a Wildcard Finalist in the 2014 American Made Awards in the Food, Sweets and Baked Goods category. Local distillery FEW Spirits (918 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-920-8628) has been recognized as a Food, Wine and Spirits finalist. This is a nationally recognized awards program that recognizes and celebrates rising stars of the artisanal producer community. You can support these great local businesses by going online every day through Oct. 13. Vote here for Hewn; vote herefor FEW Spirits. You can vote up to six times each day, and as a bonus will be entered to win a new prize each week valued at over $300. Win-win!

Say “Benvenuto” to Eataly’s Food and Wine Festival

I’m a big fan of what they’re doing at Eataly (43 E. Ohio St., Chicago, 312-521-8700), mostly because it is all so frigging delicious. Their inaugural Italian Food & Wine Festival will take place Oct. 14-16, so if you haven’t made it down there yet, this may be the time. Identitá Golose, a highly prestigious international culinary organization, is organizing the three-day event. Start with the four-course dinner prepared by acclaimed Italian chefs Ugo Alciati and Davide Oldani paired with Eataly’s own Executive Chef Alex Pilas and Pastry Chef Katia Delogu of Baffo. Chef Lidia Bastianich will lead the team in this communal dining extravaganza. The next day features a tasting of 100 fine Italian wines paired with Eataly delectables. Chef demos are also part of the festivities. For more information or to order tickets, click here.


Speaking of Wine…

During the month of October, Lush Wine & Spirits (2232 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-281-8888; 1412 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-666-6900) encourages you to pick a pink wine from their rack of staff favorites in the front of the store. One dollar from each pink wine purchased will benefit theLynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they’re referring to it as the “From Our Rack to Yours” promotion. Extra points for a great slogan!

Rick Bayless Live!

Macy’s on State Street (312-781-1000) hosts Chicago’s biggest celebrity chef, Rick Bayless, for a cooking demo on Oct. 20 at noon. Customers with a housewares purchase of $35 or more will receive a $10 Macy’s gift card and a copy of Rick Bayless’ cookbook, “Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks,” which he will sign following the demonstration.

Wheeling’s Taste of the Town

Looking for a fun date night option? Welcome fall at Wheeling’s Taste of the Town “Healthy Harvest” celebration, held on Thursday, Oct. 9 from 5-8 p.m. at the Westin Chicago North Shore (601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling). More than 20 local restaurants will participate, including Bob Chinn’s Crab House, Pinstripes, Pete Miller’s, Saranello’s and Tuscany. In addition to copious amounts of eats, you’ll find chef demos by Benihana and Tuscany restaurants, live entertainment, silent auction and raffle, and a cash bar. Tickets cost $30 through Oct. 8 and $40 at the door. Purchase tickets here or call 847-541-0170 for more information.


Lasagna for All Ages

Maggiano’s Old Orchard (847-933-9572) is offering an adorable cooking class for kids (ages 5-12) and parents on Sunday, Oct. 12, starting with a 9 a.m. registration followed by a hands-on demo at 9:30 a.m. Executive Chef Matt Banaszek will teach aspiring chefs how to build their own lasagnas, followed by a buffet lunch. Each child will receive their own chef hat to decorate and a recipe card. Reserve your spot here. It’s never too early (or too late!) to learn how to cook something delicious.