'Top Chef' winner to partner here with Saviah winemaker

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Celebrity chef Stephanie Izard will return to Walla Walla for a dinner in the vineyard at Saviah Cellars.

Izard, the first and only female winner of Bravo's "Top Chef," will partner with Saviah winemaker Richard Funk and a food truck, for an Oct. 30 multi-course dinner served between the Walla Walla River and the vineyard. Walla Walla will serve as the inspiration for the night's dishes for a tailor-made experience, according to an announcement this morning.

Those who didn't catch Izard in the fourth season of "Top Chef" in 2008, may recognize her as chef/partner of Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat. She was named one of the "Best New Chefs" this year by Food & Wine magazine and was a 2011 James Beard "Best New Restaurant" nominee.

Her visit to Walla Walla is part of her nationwide "Goat Tour" designed to celebrate the release of her new cookbook "Girl in the Kitchen." It will also serve as a fundraiser for "Share Our Strength," a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help end childhood hunger. In her trek across the country, she will team with fellow James Beard nominees, Food & Wine "Best New Chefs" and celebrity chef friends for similar events. The dinner at Saviah, 1979 JB George Road, takes place at 5 p.m. Tickets are $125 per person. Not quite 50 spots are available. To purchase a ticket visit ubne.ws/qqIbPf.

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If last winter's frost and excessive snow had a chilling effect on your small, nonfarm business, help may be available.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has low-interest disaster loans for eligible businesses in Walla Walla, Columbia, Umatilla and other Washington and Oregon counties.

The loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the combined effects of "frosts, freezes, extreme cold, high winds and excessive snow" between Nov. 10, 2010, and March 25, 2011.

Businesses directly impacted by the weather conditions and those that are dependent on farmers and ranchers who suffered agricultural production losses caused by the conditions may be eligible for the assistance, said Alfred E. Judd, director of the Small Business Administration Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

He said 26 Washington counties and six Oregon counties have been targeted for the assistance. The application deadline is June 13, 2012. Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, the announcement explained.

Eligibility is based only on the financial effects of the disaster. Property damage is not covered. The loans carry an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for private, nonprofit organizations. They also have a maximum 30-year term. Farming and ranching operations are not eligible for this particular loan, but can contact the Farm Services Agency about U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance.

To apply online visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. For more information call 800-659-2955 or visit the agency's website sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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