Three Delicious Events

Doc Willoughby. (Photo by Romulo Yanes, courtesy of Mountain View:

Meet the one and only John “Doc” Willoughby, executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Books, Inc. in Mountain View.

Willoughby recently rejoined those magazines after the demise of Gourmet magazine, where he worked for nine years.

He’ll be signing copies of “The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook” (Boston Common Press) at this free event.

In the East Bay:

Two teams of chef will square off in a Southern challenge, 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at Five restaurant in Berkeley.

Chef Banks White of Five will be joined by Chef Scott Howard, opening chef of Five and now chef of Brick & Bottle in Corte Madera, as they duel against chefs, Dean Dupuis and Charlie Copley of Pican in Oakland in this “Iron Chef”-like challenge, “Seasonal Showdown Dinner.”

Chef Banks White of Five restaurant. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)Each team will have to prepare five dishes, which guests will get to taste and rate. The winning team will be announced at the end of the dinner.

Unlike the TV show, though, some of the dishes have already been announced ahead of time. Look for such delights as crispy trotter with lardo, black eye pea succotash and pickled okra; and barbecued braised short ribs with cheese grits and truffle creme fraiche.

Price is $62 for the dinner alone, and $70 with beer pairings from Drakes Brewing.

The dinner is limited to 60 people, so call (510) 225-6055 to make a reservation.

Maggie Pond of Cesar in Berkeley, making paella at a past "Spice of Life Festival.'' (Photo courtesy of the North Shattuck Association)Don’t miss the eighth annual “Spice of Life Festival” in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 17, which will shine the spotlight on food trucks and pop-up vendors this year, particularly ones that use sustainable ingredients.

Yes, about 15 trucks and pop-up vendors will be in one handy location on Shattuck Ave. between Rose and Virginia streets, for you to hop from one to the next. Among those participating will be Chairman Bao, Hapa SF, Let’s Be Frank, Looney’s BBQ, Scream Sorbet, and Skylite Snowballs.

There also will be chef demos, a farmers market, and tastings of local wines. Admission is free.

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