Mississippi chef, food writer and author Robert St. John will be the entertainment at the 20th annual rice luncheon in Cleveland, Miss., on Friday, Sept. 17.

Hundreds of rice dishes will be available for sampling at the luncheon between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Delta State University’s Walter Sillers Coliseum.

“This is an anniversary year for the rice luncheon and we are expecting a great attendance. We are particularly excited about having Robert St. John with us,” said Laura Giaccaglia, Bolivar County Extension Director for Mississippi State University’s Extension Service. The event attracts nearly 2,000 people each September, which is National Rice Month.

More than 300 rice dishes from main courses to side dishes and desserts will be prepared by rice-growing families and Delta restaurants for sampling. A fashion show will take place during the luncheon.

A nationally-known restaurateur, St. John is executive chef of the Purple Parrot Café, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar in Hattiesburg and Meridian. The writer and self-taught cook began syndicating his food/humor columns six years ago. He has been featured on The Food Network, The Travel Channel and the Turner South network. Mississippi magazine named him the state’s top chef in 2006 and 2007.

The rice luncheon promotes the importance of rice production in Mississippi. Last year the state’s rice production was valued at $214 million. Delta Rice Promotions, Inc., is also involved with the promotion of rice for the upcoming Rice Outlook Conference that will be held in December at Biloxi’s Beau Rivage.

Luncheon tickets are $2 and will be sold at the door or may be purchased in advance throughout the Delta at Farm Bureau and Extension Service Offices. For more information, call the Bolivar County Extension Office at (662) 843-8371.