jacques-pepinCristianCeppasCeleb chef Jacques Pépin, above, gets things cooking at the Basie this afternoon. (Photo by Christian Ceppas)

appetiteContinuing with the ever-eclectic menu of entertainments that has distinguished and defined its audience-pleasing mission, the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank serves up a new slate of offerings under the “Appetite Chefs” series banner in coming hours and days, starting with a matinee appearance Saturday by the Original Iron Chef himself and continuing next Wednesday by a beloved master of Italian cuisine.

lidia BastianichLidia Bastianich sits for a chat next week with local restaurateur Vic Rallo, below. (Photo above by Ted Axelrod; below by John T. Ward.)

rallo 3 090713While scores of masked trick-or-treaters take to the suburban streets, master culinary craftsman, author and television personality Jacques Pepin visits the Basie in the company of his daughter Claudine, for a 4 p.m. Halloween Day onstage cooking demo with an interactive element for a few lucky audience members.

The the man whose accolades range from a Daytime Emmy to the French Légion d’honneur will follow the show with a signing session for his new book, Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, copies of which will be available for purchase at the event.

Take it here for reservations ($20 – $99, with the top-ticket price offering access to a pre-show Meet and Greet reception) — and by all means, save some room for the next course.

A highlight of last year’s “Appetite” smorgasbord was an in-person appearance by Joe Bastianich, with the legendary restaurateur/ author/ television personality interviewed by a local legend of the Greater Red Bank Green: fellow restaurateur, wine expert and TV guy Vic Rallo, whose reinvigorated and rebranded Birravino in Red Bank was named Best New Restaurant of 2015 by New Jersey Monthly magazine.

The host of public television’s Eat! Drink! Italy! with Vic Rallo returns to the Basie stage Wednesday, November 4, for a sit-down with none other than Joe’s mom, Lidia Bastianich. An Emmy-winning hostess with the mostest in her own right for Lidia’s Kitchen and Lidia’s Italy — and an author in her own write, whose Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine: Everything You Need to Know to be a Great Italian Cook saw publication just this month — the “beloved ambassador for Italian culinary traditions” joins Rallo for a 7:30 p.m. session of conversation and storytelling, centering on her two passions in life: family and food.

Reservations ($20 – $85) can be made right here — with the top-ticket price including premium seating and a pre-signed copy of Bastianich’s new book.