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<strong>NORTH BAY</strong>: <strong>James Beard finalists announced</strong>

The James Beard Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2014 James Beard Awards, with several notable names from Wine Country making the cut.

For the cookbook awards, John Ash's "Culinary Birds" was nominated in the Single Subject Category, along with The Fatted Calf of Napa's Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller for "In the Charcuterie."

Chad Robertson of Tartine in San Franciso was nominated for "Tartine Book No. 3" in the category of Baking and Desserts.

For the restaurant awards, The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena made the cut for Outstanding Service, along with Quince in San Francisco.

Cindy Pawlcyn of Mustards Grill in Napa and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena was nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur. Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie in San Franciso is in the running for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

The Slanted Door in San Francisco was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant, Bar Agricole in San Francisco was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program, and A16 in San Francisco got the nod for Outstanding Wine Program.

Several San Francisco chefs were nominated for Best Chef in the West: Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions, Corey Lee of Benu and Daniel Patterson of Coi.

The 2014 James Beard Awards will be held in New York in early May. The Book awards and Restaurant and Chef awards will be announced May 5. <a href="http://jamesbeard.org" target="_blank">jamesbeard.org</a>.

<strong>SANTA ROSA</strong>: <strong>Pop-up Grilled Cheese</strong>

St. Francis Winery and Girl -amp; the Fig are joining forces to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day with a special pop-up event from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the winery.

As a kick-off to the winery's annual Grilled Cheese Contest, the Girl -amp; the Fig's Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze will serve Tomato Confit Grilled Cheese Sandwiches paired with St. Francis wine.

Cooks who want to enter the contest can submit their signature grilled cheese recipe, with a St. Francis wine pairing, to the winery's Facebook page from April 12 to May 17 for a chance to wine a four-day trip to Sonoma.

The recipes will be judged by St. Francis Winemaker Katie Madigan and cheese expert Jason Sobocinski on creativity, originality, overall taste and how well the wine pairing works.

St. Francis Winery is located at 100 N.Pythian Rd. <a href="http://stfranciswinery.com" target="_blank">stfranciswinery.com</a>.

<strong>SANTA ROSA: Taste of Olivet</strong>

The Taste of Olivet, a wine tasting at nine wineries located on Olivet Road, will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday along this back road in west Santa Rosa.

Participating wineries include Battaglini, DeLoach, Gamba Vineyards, Harvest Moon, Hook -amp; Ladder, Inman Family, Inspiration Vineyards, Sunce and Tara Bella wineries.

Tickets are $40, including logo glass and discounts, $5 for designated drivers. To reserve: <a href="http://eventbrite.com" target="_blank">eventbrite.com</a>.

<strong>HEALDSBURG: Pigs -amp; Pinot winners announced</strong>

There were quite a few local winners at Chef Charlie Palmer's sold-out Pigs -amp; Pinot celebration in March, which raised money for local and national charities.

For the 2014 Pinot Cup, judges chose MacPhail 2010 "The Flyer," Russian River Valley in a blind tasting competition among 60 handpicked pinot noirs. The runner-up was Twomey 2011, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley.

During the "Tournament of the Pig," the cooking team of chefs Bryan Voltaggio and Vincent Pouessel took home the championship for their duo of Devil's Gulch Pork with Dr. Pepper -amp; Kimchi Braised Pork Belly and Pancetta-Wrapped, Herb-Crusted Pork Loin.

During the Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown seminar, the audience named sommelier Keith Goldston as Smackdown King for selecting the winning wine: Soliste 2010 Foret Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. Runner-up was Trombetta 2011 Gap's Crown, Sonoma Coast.

Hotel Healdsburg and the Dry Creek Kitchen will continue the celebration through Sunday with special Pigs -amp; Pinot menus, hotel packages and winery excursions.

Last year, Pigs -amp; Pinot raised more than $130,000 for its beneficiaries. This year, beneficiaries include Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, Culinary Institute of America's Culinary Scholarship, Pigs -amp; Pinot Wine scholarships, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the Healdsburg Education Foundation and Healdsburg's Tuesdays on the Plaza concerts. <a href="http://pigsandpinot.com" target="_blank">pigsandpinot.com</a>.

<strong>SONOMA: April in Carneros</strong>

April in Carneros, on April 26 and 27, is an open house with nearly 20 wineries pouring new releases and bottlings pulled from the cellar. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door and are valid both days, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of the wineries will be offering food, live music, lawn games and more. For more information about participating wineries, visit <a href="http://www.carneroswineries.org/events/" target="_blank">carneroswineries.org/events</a>.

<strong>ST. HELENA: Barbecue demo, and more</strong>

Kick off the barbecue season with a smokin' afternoon of discussion, demos and digging from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Long Meadow Ranch Winery -amp; Farmstead.

Executive Chef Stephen Barber, a born-and-bred Kentucky barbecue master, will give the lowdown on regional styles, tasty techniques and the science behind the succulence.

Barber will break down a half pig and demonstrate where his favorite cuts come from. Guests will also learn how to strap and smoke ribs on a Weber barbecue.

To wrap up the day, there's a guided tour of the Farmstead's vegetable garden and a family-style barbecue feast.

Tickets are $145. longmeadowranch.com. The winery -amp; restaurant are located at 738 Main St.

<strong>NAPA: Grower of the Year</strong>

Mary Maher was named 2014 Napa Valley Grower of the Year. Maher of Napa Valley's Harlan Estate will be honored on May 16 at the NVG Annual Dinner at Artesa Winery in Napa. Maher joined the team at Harlan in 2001 and she has long been a leader in organic farming practices. She held a seat on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Board of Directors for nine years, has chaired the annual Napa County Pruning Contest for 12 years, and has been an active member of both the Industry Issues and Harvest STOMP committees at the NVG for over six years.

<strong>NAPA: Ruhlman's book on eggs</strong>

Just in time for the spring holidays, food writer Michael Ruhlman will discuss his latest book, "Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient," at 7 p.m. Friday at the Whole Foods in Napa as part of Copperfield's Books author's series.

In his book, Ruhlman explores the magic of the common egg, from the perfect poached and scrambled eggs to more elaborate brioche and Italian meringue.

Whole Foods is located at 3682 Bel Aire Plaza. 224-6300. copperfieldsbooks.com.

<em>Compiled by Staff Writer Diane Peterson, who can be reached at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com, and Peg Melnik, who can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.</em>