Here’s a sure sign the long, hot Arizona summer finally is winding down: The Valley’s unofficial culinary “season” kicks off with a number of September events, including these five:
Phoenix Cooks!: Lee Hillson (T. Cooks), Michael Stebner (True Food) and Michael Rusconi (Lon’s) will be among the top chefs on three interactive stages. The five-hour festival also includes classes, food samples, wine and shopping. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale. $75 advance, $90 at door.
Cooks & Chords: Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s and Aiello’s will be among the restaurants providing chef-prepared dishes at this third annual fundraiser for the the Arizona chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. There also will be wine, acoustic music and silent auctions. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Mayo Clinic, 13400 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale. $75.
Arizona Restaurant Week: East Valley favorites Cork, House of Tricks, Vito’s Pizza (pictured at right), The Landmark, Fleming’s, Roy’s, Brio Tuscan Grille and Monti’s La Casa Vieja are some of the more than 100 Valley restaurants (plus more in Tucson) that will offer special three-course menus for $29 for eight consecutive days during Arizona’s second annual Restaurant Week. Sept. 19-26.
Downtown Chandler Oktoberfest: More than 4,000 people showed up for SanTan Brewing Company’s inaugural Oktoberfest last fall. The all-day outdoor party features bratwurst and other sausages from Von Hanson’s Meats, German side dishes and an Oktoberfest beer from brewmaster Anthony Cannechia. 12:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sept. 26 at SanTan Brewing, 8 S. San marcos Place, Chandler. $10.
Heavy Medal Challenge: Josh Hebert (Posh) and Oliver Reschreiter (JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa) will compete in an “Iron Chef”-type competition with celebrity judges to raise money for culinary scholarships. The 150 guests will enjoy a four-course dinner with wine. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 21 at JW Marriott, 5350 E. Marriott Drive, Phoenix. $175.