Schmooze with the chefs

I know, I know -- it's too hot, and you were planning on spending Labor Day weekend on the couch, watching the Food Network with cold Kilt Lifter in hand and a freezer full of paletas.

Well, nobody's stopping you, but here's something that sounds a lot more fun, kind of like an interactive version of your favorite cooking shows, with some of the hottest chefs in town: Phoenix Cooks! (Their punctuation, not mine, btw.)

On the "Two Chefs in a Kitchen" stage, you'll be able to watch chefs like Wade Moises (Sassi) and Matt Carter (Zinc Bistro) go toque to toque, with local TV and radio personalities serving as hosts. Elsewhere, the lineup of chefs cooking their signature dishes onstage includes Pierino Jermonti, executive pastry chef for the Royal Palms. You can also register to participate in a blind wine tasting, where you might get paired up with one of the celebrity team players to drop some knowledge on different varietals.

There will be separate tickets available for 30 different Food Forums, half-hour-long classes on everything from "Risotto Techniques," with chef Matt McLinn from Methode Bistro, to "All Things Bruschetta," with multimedia queen Jan D'Atri.

And it just wouldn't be a Phoenix culinary event without food and wine tastings, plus tons of exhibitors. Of course they'll have plenty.

The shindig takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, September 1, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. I dare you to sneak into the swimming pool.

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