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Cooking for Justus

Brother Justus (3300 NE. 5th St., Mpls.) is celebrating both the season and Minnesota's rich food community at its Summer Feast on July 31 and tapped three local chefs to create a diverse menu, from roasted whole hog and pulled goat to a yucca fry bar.

Yia Vang of Vinai and Union Hmong Kitchen will feature a whole roasted hog, khao sen, Tiger Bite hot sauce and crunchy chile oil.

Jamal Hashi, the chef behind the former Safari Express and Jambo Kitchen, will have roasted whole goat, mini sour Somali anjera and Surbiyaan (a Somali rice dish), mango Kachumbari and Bizbaz sauce.

And chef Amalia Obermeier-Smith, formerly of Fig + Farro and now at Basil House, will add a yucca fry bar with toppings and sauces, grilled corn on the cob, a display of vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian summer salads and a dessert bar featuring cotton candy and s'mores.

Tickets are $60 for a four-hour window of feasting (drinks are separate). Seatings for the 21-plus event are from 2 to 6 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Get tickets at

Cheesecake for a cause

Muddy Paws Cheesecake is celebrating National Cheesecake Day and its 28th anniversary by holding a special event on July 30 to raise money for STEP St. Louis Park.

There will be music, food and, of course, cheesecake from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 3359 Gorham Av., St. Louis Park. (Bring chairs, blankets and even the dog and make it a day!) Here's what to expect:

• Food. The Bad Rooster and Soul Lao food trucks will be on site from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Music. There will be live music from 4 to 9 p.m.

• Cheesecake. $1 of every cheesecake slice sold will be donated to STEP St. Louis Park (plus $3 from any 7-inch or $5 from any 9-inch cheesecake sold).

STEP strengthens the St. Louis Park community by responding to the basic emergency needs of individuals and families providing food, clothing, emergency financial assistance, transportation, seasonal support, and crisis support and referral services.

Vegan chef challenge

The third annual Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge kicks off Aug. 1, when more than 20 local chefs will be serving original vegan dishes for diners to rate.

Participating restaurants include: Amore Uptown, Barbette, Book Club, Black Sheep Pizza, Cafe Wyrd, Hark! Cafe, Innate Foods, Keefer Court Bakery and Cafe, Hard Times Cafe, the Howe, Namaste Cafe, the Naughty Greek, Parkway Pizza, Pat's Tap, Pub 819, Red Stag Supper Club, Seed Cafe, Tiny Diner, Trio Plant-Based, Wok in the Park, Herbie Butcher's Fried Chicken, Insane Vegan and Coconut Whisk.

The challenge, presented by Compassionate Action for Animals, will run through August. Vote for your favorite dish at The chef whose dish gets the most votes will win a cash prize, and diners who post pictures of their meals on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #tcveganchef or #tcvcc have a chance to win a gift certificate from one of the restaurants.

That's Italian

The local nonprofit Esperienza Italia is celebrating the 201st birthday of Pellegrino Artusi — known as the father of Italian cuisine — Aug. 8 with a series of events.

Special menus at Woodfire at Eastside (305 Washington Av. S., Mpls., and Harriet Brasserie (2724 W. 43rd St., Mpls., will highlight recipes from the famous Artusi cookbook "The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well," but the chefs will put their own spin on it.

Esperienza and the restaurants are working with the Italian cooking school Casa Artusi, which is dedicated to Artusi's philosophies and recipes, for the event. Tickets are $75, with beverage pairings extra.

To whet your appetite, Esperienza and Cooks of Crocus Hill are holding a live online cooking class Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. from Casa Artusi. Chefs will demonstrate how to prepare a trio of appetizers — prosciutto and melon; crostini with chicken liver, sage and anchovies; and fried zucchini with salsa verde. Cost is $25.

Find tickets for all events and more info about the nonprofit at