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A Tasteful Affair (to fight childhood hunger), Cleveland, August 2, 2009

An all-star lineup of chefs and their mentors will hit East Fourth Street on Sunday, Aug. 2. That's when Michael Symon's flagship restaurant, Lola, hosts the 2009 Share Our Strength benefit, "A Tasteful Affair" to fight childhood hunger.

Bobby Flay, Food Network personality and chef-owner of restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Paradise Island, Bahamas, provides celebrity firepower to the culinary lineup -- but he'll be working alongside the man he calls "my No. 1 mentor," chef Jonathan Waxman. Waxman, who earned his credentials at La Varenne cooking school before stints at the California bastions Chez Panisse and Michael's, runs Barbuto in New York City and West County Grill in Sebastopol, Calif.

Greenville, Ohio, native Nate Appleman earned acclaim when he opened A16 in San Francisco's Marina neighborhood, and later SPQR in the city's Fillmore district -- recognition that has been capped this year with a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef award and a Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef nod. He'll work with his colleague, chef Chris Behr of SPQR.

Chicago diners recognize that Paul Kahan (Blackbird, The Publican, Avec) is one of that city's premier chef-restaurateurs. Koren Grieveson, who earned her own high regard as Kahan's chef du cuisine at Avec, will join her mentor at the benefit.

More than half of the 108 tickets for the event have already been sold. Symon will be assisted by his own crew -- Matthew Harlan of Bar Symon, Derek Clayton of Lola and executive pastry chef Cory Barrett. Luis Amado from the Culinary Institute of Michigan will join in.

The mentor theme has dual meaning for Symon, who credits Cleveland area chefs -- among them, Carl Quagliata, Gary Lucarelli and Paul Minnillo -- for his own entree into the culinary profession.

"Chefs are nurturers by nature," Symon said in a release announcing the event. "It is important for us to realize that there are over 12 million children in our country alone that have a hard time getting a single nourishing meal each day. We can use our skills and be part of the solution to providing children and their families with the nutritious foods they need to lead healthy lives."

Lola Bistro is at 2058 East Fourth St., Cleveland. Tickets for the exclusive dinner are $300. Reservations can be made at http://join.strength.org/atp_cleveland, or by calling Andrea Agalloco at 1-888-273-6141.

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