Make reservations now in order to nosh with 13 talented chefs Sept. 13-14 during the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities' Chefs on Parade event.
The second year of the event now is part of the annual Parade of Homes in September. Six chefs each will be cooking in one of the new homes the first evening. On the next night, the seven other chefs will test out the kitchens of the remaining seven homes.
"They won't be making full meals, just samples -- though some chefs last year did go all out," said Renee Dahlgren, director of government affairs and communications and the Built Green Program for the HBA. "Some people I spoke to last year had definitely gotten plenty to eat."
Jeff Losey, HBA executive director, learned of the concept at a conference.
"It's a unique and fun way for folks to see the houses in action, actually being used for entertaining and cooking," Dahlgren said. "People last year really enjoyed that aspect.
"This has gone over very, very well," she added. "We sold out last year and, for a first-year event, that totally surprised us."
And the chefs quickly warmed up to concept, too.
"All the chefs who participated last year were invited back, though some couldn't make it," Dahlgren said. "We also had chefs calling and asking how to sign up and HPA board members made recommendations, too."
Among those returning is Antonio Campolio from The Marc at Walla Walla's Marcus Whitman Hotel. He was voted Best Chef on Parade and is featured on the cover of the Chefs on Parade magazine. A copy of the magazine -- which features a map of the Parade of Homes tour -- is included with each ticket.
The list of participants includes Adam Carr of Monterosso's in Richland, Mark Schwegel from JB Bistro at Bookwalter Winery in Richland, and Ryan Ward from Frost Me Sweet in Richland.
"There will be a dessert house each night," Dahlgren said.
The hours for the Chefs on Parade run 5 to 9 p.m.
"Tickets will include a suggestion for which house to start with, but that's not a hard and fast rule," she said. "There will be a chance to talk to the chefs and the builders. And some builders are arranging for wineries to be pouring at their houses those two evenings as well."
Visit all 13 houses and you'll be eligible to vote for your favorite chef. Just mark your ticket and put it in the drop box at each house.
Chefs don't receive any award or money, just bragging rights, Dahlgren said.
Chefs on Parade tickets are $40 and include a regular Parade of Homes ticket. Only 700 tickets are available for Chefs on Parade, and they must be reserved in advance.
"Last year, we sold out about two weeks in advance," Dahlgren said.
A Chefs on Parade ticket is good for both days.
To reserve a ticket, call the HBA office, 735-2745. Or drop by the office, 10001 W. Clearwater Ave., Kennewick. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays.
Chefs on Parade tickets will be available for pick up at the HBA office after Sept. 4.
Parade of Homes tickets go on sale at all area Sun Marts on Sept. 3. Cost is $10.
Houses on the Parade of Homes will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 8-9, 15-16; and from noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 12.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org