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In the kitchen with the Aubergine Chef. Photo by Tamar Wilsher-Rivas

Bell, Book and Food

By Dan Verner

The Hylton Center for the Performing Arts bustled with over 25 chefs, food writers, cookbook authors, discussions, panels, writers, and plenty of glorious food September 18 on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University. The annual event capped off a week of book discussions, reading and appearances by authors at the Fairfax campus. About 300 appreciative gastronomes made their way through the events, speakers and exhibits, listening, talking and Local chef and Prince William Living columnist, Jason Shriner conducted a food writing workshop, using a variety of creative approaches to help food writers improve their craft. Later, in Merchant Hall, novelist and Duke professor Laura Florand discussed her Amour et Chocolat series, including The Chocolate Thief.

After that a variety of chefs and food celebrities, including Amy Riolo, author, chef, television personality, cuisine and culture expert, and educator and Joe Yonan, Food and Travel editor of The Washington Post shared insights into their work. Robert Kingsbury, owner of Kingsbury Chocolates and Confections, talked about his business, while Chef Dave Lefeve of the Cock and Bowl in Occoquan, made dishes from recipes found in his wife Claudia Lefeve’s novels. Belinda

Miller, whose children’s fantasy novel included recipes, offered up samples, while Miguel Pires fixed tacos to preview of his recently opened restaurant, Zandra’s Taqueria in Manassas. A representative from the Heritage Brewing Company passed out samples of their craft.

It wasn’t all about the food, however. Recently named Prince William County Poets Laureate Robert Scott and Alexandra “Zan” Hailey talked about their “10,000 Poems” project in which people who do not think of themselves as poets will contribute their work for a public display. Hylton Executive Director Rick Davis summed it up for everyone when he said, “We are always happy to have Fall for the Book at the Hylton because it feeds both body and mind with this extra special gathering of food, writers and their work.”

Write by the Rails, a local writers’ group, co-sponsored the event along with Prince William Living magazine.

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