African doughnuts and pupusas from El Salvador will be on the menu at CCV's free, 7th Annual International Food Festival on April 11, when students from all over the globe cook up specialties from their countries of origin. Other nations that will come to the table: Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Moldova and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Organizers expect more than 20 cuisines to be represented.
"You can expect to see food from those countries and more," boasts Amy Stuart, coordinator of academic services at the college. To fill in a few cultural gaps, Stuart is bringing in items from Global Markets , Fu Da Chinese Restaurant  and Shalimar of India .
Even though the event is hosted on a shoestring budget - the school reimburses students who are "living on meager means" - Stuart has never considered charging for entry. She explains that the idea is to let students and locals "come together and feel at home together." Can't put a price on that. See the Seven Days calendar for details.
Soused vegetarians and vegans have a new late-night nosh option. Kevin's Wicked Mountain Dogs , a fixture on the bottom of Church Street, now carries Smart Dogs! brand tofu "pups."
Owner Kevin Shea says the dogs are cooked to order, and might take a bit longer than their meaty counterparts. One thing that's the same: the price. Both the frankfurters and the healthier hots cost $3.
Each year, Food & Wine  magazine opines about the 10 best new chefs. When editor-in-chief Dana Cowin announced their picks for 2007, NECI grad Gavin Kaysen made the cut.
Chef Kaysen, 27, works at El Bizcocho  restaurant at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. There he serves fare such as braised Kobe beef short ribs with parsnip mousseline and cippolini onions, and roasted garlic potato gnocchi with baby white corn and shiitake mushrooms.
Wanna meet the rising star? He's visiting his alma mater on May 3 to do a cooking demo at The Inn at Essex . Tickets for the event, which is open to the public, cost $100. For more information, contact Ginger Hopkins at 229-6108.
Things are cooking in Barre. The old Homer-Fitts department store downtown is getting a new life as the home of the Local Agricultural Community Exchange (LACE) . Executive Director Ariel Zevon - daughter of late singing legend Warren Zevon - describes her planned offerings as "a nonprofit local foods and products market, café and community kitchen, education and processing center." The multi-faceted operation is set to open in June. Jackson Browne, a friend of the Zevon family will play benefit concerts at the Barre Opera House on June 9 and 10 as part of the celebration.
The Homer-Fitts building isn't the only old Barre landmark that's getting resurrected. So, too, is the historic downtown firehouse. Valerie and Richard Beaudet, owners of Flowers by Emslie & Co ., are renovating the building to create "an urban garden center and café."
Also on tap: The Barre Partnership newsletter recently announced that the Granite Center Farmers' Market, which in 2006 was held at the Granite Museum "on the outskirts of town," is moving back downtown. The new venue - the lawn of the Aldrich Public Library - will let localvores eat their words.
On April 18 and 19, UVM hosts "A Going Local Colloquium: The Challenges and Opportunities in Promoting Local Food and Local Food Systems."
The free event begins with a talk by former Governor Madeleine Kunin from 7 to 8 on Wednesday, and closes on Thursday with a keynote address by Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition.
Panel discussions include "Global warming, local foods and the 21st century," and "Burlington as a food hub: the 21st century and beyond."