Get ready for a foodie weekend featuring cooking contenders battling for coveted feature in Charleston magazine’s December issue, a couple charitable chef collaborations, and a Sunday supper that will satisfy your Italian grandmother.

Competing chefs will be sure to bring their game faces when they arrive at the Charleston Culinary Institute tomorrow to battle it out for the crowd and a panel of judges for the final of Charleston Magazine’s Recipe Contest and Cook Off. There are four categories; appetizer, entree, side dish, and dessert. Each category has its own restrictions, but essentially chefs are required to use ingredients native to local waters, pastures, and farms. There are two finalists in each category contending in their specialties in hopes of going home with the $500 grand prize. The Cook Off is open to the public and tickets are only $12. Audience members can sample the appetizers and desserts in addition to the drinks and hor d’ oeuvres that will be served.

French-born chef Laurent Gras of Chicago’s L20 restaurant is teaming up with Trattoria Lucca’s Ken Vedrinski for a 100-kilometer bike ride and collaborative menu for charity. Both chefs were featured in a Food and Wine article naming the fittest chefs in America and Vedrinksi thought would be fun idea to ask Gras to join him and world champion cyclist and Greenville resident George Hincapie for the Jerry Zucker Ride for Hope, a charitable bike ride that benefits local cancer organizations. After their ride Verdrinkski and Gras will prepare their four-course menu with wine pairings at Lucca on Bogard Street.

Operation Home is having their fifth annual Drum It Up! at the Red Drum in Mt. Pleasant on Sunday. The charity auction offers a great time for a great cause supporting Operation Home’s efforts to help vulnerable neighbors in need of critical home repairs. Attire is dressy casual for this Lowcountry affair that introduces tastes from Texas to Bollywood, with a chef collaboration of the Drum’s Ben Berryhill and chef Lavanya Sabin of Shashi’s House. Tickets are $125 per person and are available on

Sunday officially marks the opening of Sunday Suppers at Northern Italian trattoria Al di La in West Ashley. They are offering guests their full menu a la carte, as well as a four-course tasting option for two, all in addition to their fine selection of reasonable wines and apertivos to choose from on special. Reservations are accepted for the main dining room, while the outside patio and seats at the wine bar are on a first come, first serve basis. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and the four-course taster is $30 per diner.

Love Best of Charleston?

Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.