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Fine Tuning
Tune into the Food Network (cable 67) at 9:30 p.m. Monday, July 22, when local public relations consultant and tour guide Alan Raphael shows the country his favorite dish at his favorite restaurant: shrimp Clemenceau at Galatoire's (209 Bourbon St., 525-2021). The feature will run during the season finale of the network's "The Best Of."

Food for Thought
Summertime is the leanest season for restaurants locally. Still, many chefs and restaurateurs are busy pitching in resources, time and creative energy to benefit both local and national charities. This Thursday, July 18, is the annual Dining For Life event organized by the NO/AIDS Task Force. The 50-plus participating restaurants -- from La Peniche to Peristyle -- will donate 25 percent of the evening's proceeds to help people infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS. To find out if your favorite restaurant is taking part, call the NO/AIDS event line at 821-2601 ext. 250.

Same Day, Different Benefit
Also this Thursday, The Summer Cure Chefs Wine Dinner rallies at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. The $200 per person festivity highlights local chefs and worldly wines. Proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation New Orleans Affiliate, whose mission -- like the national foundation launched in 1982 -- is to advance breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs. Call 561-0888.

New Day, New Benefit
On Sunday, July 21, more than 20 local chefs will descend upon the W Hotel (333 Poydras St.) for Taste of the Nation New Orleans 2002, presented by Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit, anti-hunger organization. The food is to accompany a wine bar, a Finlandia martini bar, Southern Comfort frozen drinks, CC's coffee, live music and a silent auction. All ticket sales will fight hunger. Local benefactors include My House, Second Harvesters Food Bank and Bread for the World. Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door, and can be purchased at either Martin Wine Cellar location (3827 Baronne St.; 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie) or by calling 885-2619.

Happy B-Day, Julia
Cobalt (333 St. Charles Ave.) is one of 20 restaurants nationwide participating in the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Foundation's birthday party for Julia Child on Thursday, Aug. 1. Cobalt chefs, along with guest Michael Lomonaco -- previously chef at Windows on the World -- are collaborating on a menu. Profits from the $150 four-course wine dinner will benefit the Julia Child Endowment Fund, creating scholarships for culinary training in France. For reservations, call 565-5595.

This week's column powered by Salade Mechouia at Jamila's Cafe, made with tuna fish and a caraway-spiced tomato-caper relish. -- Roahen

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