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Foodie news roundup for the week of July 31.

Who is ready to root on hometown talent? Phoenix food blogger Joanie Simon was recently cast as a “recipe development chef,” competing against three restaurant chefs for an upcoming episode of Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” reality show on the Food Network. The episode feature Simon is set to air on August 13 at 6 p.m. on Food Network. (The show pits four chefs again one another in three elimination challenges that test their culinary skills as they navigate the aisles of “Guy Fieri’s Grocery Store.” Each challenge has a theme, and contestants have just 30 minutes to shop the store for necessary ingredients and prepare a dish to present to the judges, who determine then the winner of each round based on the dishes taste, creativity and presentation. A contestant is eliminated each round, and the one who makes it through all three challenges then has two minutes to race through the aisles to collect items on a shopping list. Each item on the list is worth $2,000. If the contestant puts every item in their cart, he or she wins the $20,000 grand prize.)

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is partnering with five nonprofits including Colleen’s Dream Foundation, Adaptive Adventures, CORE, Hire Heroes USA and Bunker Labs for the first-ever Smokin’ Summer Giveback. Through Sept. 4, fans are encouraged to purchase Tito’s Handmade Vodka, snap a photo of their receipt, and upload their receipt at www.titosgiveback.com. Fans will be prompted to select one of the charity options for donation and, once they’ve picked a charity, Tito himself will donate $1 for each entry on their behalf up to $200,000. In addition, all participants will be entered to win fun summer prizes like Tito’s Traeger Smokers Grill and Copper Coolers. Winners will be announced monthly.

Downtown Scottsdale’s Social Tap will host a “Sponsor a Backpack” event with Valley nonprofit, reKindle. Guests can join Social Tap and reKindle on Saturday, August 5 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and donate $25 towards a backpack filled with survival necessities such as water, first aid supplies and hygiene products. With the donation of a backpack, guests receive a brunch entree and a drink courtesy of Social Tap.

Tuck Shop in Phoenix’s Coronado Historic District has launched a weekend brunch to coincide with the addition of Chef Scott Paget to its culinary team. Served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the innovative brunch and cocktail menu will be served alongside entertainment provided by Vinyl DJ Collective HI DREAMS. The brunch menu includes Tuck Shop Sausage & Eggs, “The Time is Prime” house-roasted prime rib sandwich and “Chicken & Waffles/AM Edition” featuring an aged cheddar waffle served with maple butter, two eggs and the restaurant’s ever-popular fried chicken.

From August 1 to 31, Chompie’s will celebrate New York Delicatessen Month by offering a special menu which includes a $13 Reuben combo, a three-egg Baja omelet, and a smoked salmon plate. One dollar from each item purchased will be donated to the Jewish National Fund.

Celebrate National Root Beer Float Day on Sunday, August 6, at TEXAZ Grill, where you can scoop up a gourmet root beer float for only $5.

Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza will dish out free build-your-own pizzas to all current and incoming high school students who present valid high school identification from Sunday, August 6, to Friday, August 11, at each of its six Arizona locations.

Cafe Lalibela (pictured), which is the first Ethiopian restaurant to have opened in Arizona, is celebrating 21 years in the Valley. To celebrate, grab your tickets for Ethiopian Fest, a grand affair on August 5 at the Mesa Convention Center. The party will feature traditional Ethiopian music, dancing, an exciting announcement from the Cafe Lalibela team and, of course, lots of great eats. Tickets are available for $40 per person at ethiopianfest.splashthat.com.

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