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Stars and food converged at Kitchen Academy in Hollywood last night for a party launching The Hollywood Cookbook — a beautiful 271-page hardcover collection of sumptuous recipes, each accompanied by a large photo, from the personal kitchens of 20 celebrities and 6 world-class chefs. Five dollars from each purchase benefits 20 important charities dear to the hearts of the celebrity contributors.

The cookbook covers the spectrum of food and beverage, from appetizers, soups and salads, to main courses, desserts, and even cocktails. Michael J. Fox's Barn Dance Chicken, and Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford's Savory Fall Stew are just two of the 107 creative and simple dishes that can be duplicated in any kitchen regardless of culinary skill level. Chefs Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Joachim Splichal, Nick Stellino, Michael Cimarusti and Rocco DiSpirito also contributed recipes to the book.

At the event, the students of Kitchen Academy prepared and served 20 recipes featured in the cookbook, each one tastier than the last. This reporter’s favorite: Door Knob Sweet Potato Balls (an appetizer) from designer Paige Hemmis of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Yum!

Chef Jamie Gwen’s movie-star looks and talk-show host’s presence kept attendees laughing and entertained as the event’s emcee. The evening included a cooking demonstration by actor Greg Grunberg, and an informal awards ceremony. Eric Close of TV’s Without a Trace gave a heartfelt tribute to his charity, Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, which pairs abused children with rescued horses and adult leaders at 24 wilderness ranches around the U.S. and Canada, to help restore the heart, soul, mind and strength of the kids.

Written by screenwriter Jackie Zabel and actress Morgan Most, and published by Silverback Books, The Hollywood Cookbook is a perfect holiday gift (retails for $35, but presently is featured at Amazon.com for only $23). The event was co-sponsored by Maurice Le Croix Swiss Watches and The Kitchen Academy.

Celebrities & Charities: Thora Birch (Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation), Michael Chiklis (The Children's Lifesaving Foundation), Eric Close (Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch), Mark Dacascos (Reel Angels), James Denton (Cure Autism Now), Michael J. Fox & Tracy Pollan (The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research), Afton Fraser & Brendan Fraser (P.S. ARTS), Greg Grunberg (Pediatric Epilepsy Project), Anne Hathaway (Lollipop Theater Network), Paige Hemmis (Habitat For Humanity), Ron Howard (Boys' and Girls' Clubs of America), Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford (Clothes Off Our Back), Esai Morales (TreePeople), Don Most (City of Hope), Bob Saget (Scleroderma Research Foundation), Marlo Thomas (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital), Kerry Washington (Step Up), Treat Williams (Save the Children), Alicia Witt (The Art of Elysium), and Kelly Wolf & Scott Wolf (Camp Heartland).

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