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RVA Food News: Coach Cook-Off preview, cheesy new Kroger + more.

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Coach Class

It's no small feat to get NCAA coaches Shaka Smart and Chris Mooney together right after a big basketball season to cook for a charity event. But Positive Vibe Café has a mission that appeals to the greater good — training future food service workers with disabilities — so the second annual coaches' cook-off is this month's hot ticket.

The benefit is at 6 p.m. on April 17 at the Science Museum of Virginia. The Richmond Spiders' Mooney and Virginia Commonwealth University's Smart will get help from Buz Grossberg of Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue and Glen Pruden of UR's dining services. They'll assist the coaches as they prepare duck and lamb burgers for a judging panel — this writer among them — and people's choice awards. Guests will get to taste everything, and local wine and craft beer will be included with the $100 ticket. The Taters will perform and Daphne Maxwell Reid will play host.

Last year's inaugural event filled the Benedictine gym with 300 people. The new goal is 500 attendees. Get tickets at the Positive Vibe Café, 2825 Hathaway Road, 560-9622, or online at positivevibecafe.com.

More Cheese

It took almost a month to load in all of the merchandise at the new super-sized Kroger, which opened last week at Staples Mill and Hungary Spring roads. About 425 people got full- or part-time jobs there, and some local foods vendors got a big new client. 

A nod to the eat- and shop-local movements includes such products as Blanchard's Coffee, Carytown Teas, Sun Seasoned raw foods kale chips, Naokeidoe Creations essential oil soaps, Dickie's Seafood and plants from Virginia Beach's White's Nursery. More space for natural and organic foods and bulk grains and nuts shows the mainstream acceptance of what once was the province of health-food stores.

Of note is the store's affiliation with Murray's Cheese, a New York City-based business with 175 varieties on sale here, topping out at $30 a pound for the Pleasant Ridge reserve, an artisanal Wisconsin cow's cheese. Customers can expect frequent product demos and tastings, including wines from the expansive section overseen by wine consultant Rob Czyzewski, who promises a local wine-store experience with advice, a designated shelf for customer favorites, and a range of prices for imports and domestics.

There's a Starbucks kiosk, a separate Fred Meyer Jewelers with a full array of diamonds, a drive-through pharmacy, a nonemergency clinic staffed by a nurse, 18 fuel pumps, premium sushi in party-tray sizes, sandwiches made to order, brand-name clothing and housewares such as dishes and furniture.

Rocoto here: More dishes are on the menu now that Rocoto Chicken has moved to larger quarters. Besides Peruvian rotisserie chicken, it's selling seviches, tacos, specialty beverages and other South American items in a family-run business that has bigger aspirations. Live entertainment will start once liquor licensing is in place. 8902-A W. Broad St. 680-2323. rocotochicken.com.

Keeping faith: Food is central to a speakers' series this month at First Presbyterian Church. Topics such as healthy diets, hunger in Richmond, genetically modified organisms and more will be addressed by first lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Bobby Ukrop, Doug Pick of Feedmore and other experts. The first in the series is April 27. Find out more at fpcrichmond.org.

Boka soft: Patrick Harris expects to open the Fan location of Boka Kantina on April 9. Watch for details at bokatruck.com.

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