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Dunning’s Market to host Battle of the Chefs fundraiser on Saturday

Dunning’s Market will host the Battle of the Chefs at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday. This will be a fundraising event in collaboration with iCan Dream Center, a nonprofit organization. 

According to their website, the iCan Dream Center provides quality programming for youth. They specialize in working with students with intellectual disabilities, autism, and various learning difficulties. 

Maureen Mader, owner of Dunning’s Market, said she came up with the Battle of the Chefs idea last December after purchasing raffle tickets from the iCan Dream Center. Mader won the raffle, and the prize was a family dinner with Celebrity Chef Jerome Brown. 

Brown has cooked for many celebrities and dignitaries, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Colin Powell and Cam Newton, to name a few. He has been featured on the Food Network and is the author of two books.


Before the dinner, Mader visited Brown’s Instagram account and saw a post where one of her former customers and a fellow chef was featured. In this post, Brown wrote “My three against your three! Bring the bag …” as a playful way of showing confidence in his group’s cooking skills. The post stayed on Mader’s mind, especially because she comes from a family of people who cook as well. 

After the dinner, she wanted to do a cooking competition featuring Chef Brown. She reached out to iCan Dream Center to make the idea a reality. As fate would have it, on a trip in Washington, D.C., she ran into Brown, which helped solidify the plans. 

Mader said that autism is something close to her heart. After hearing countless stories of non-verbal youth with autism who ended up being lost, she was encouraged to help make a change. The competition will serve as a fundraiser for AngelSense, a company that creates wearable GPS and voice-monitoring solutions for individuals with special needs. The iCan Dream Center will help amplify the fundraiser’s impact.  

The competition will mimic the Food Network’s show, “Chopped.” Each team will receive a mystery box of ingredients to prepare a dish. There will be four judges selected at random from ticket purchasers. 

Comedian Damon Williams will serve as the MC for the night. 

For the competitors, Dunning’s Market’s team will consist of Mader, her sister Kathleen, and her nephew Dan, who both are recognized by the community by having worked at Dunning’s Market for many years. 

Chef Brown’s team will consist of him, “Kitchen Renegade” Chef Ricky and Chef Dre of Louisiana’s Finest Catering. 

The event is also supported by the community. Neighboring restaurant The Bistro on Sterling will put together the boxes containing the ingredients. The Village of Flossmoor and the Public Works department have been instrumental in setting up the event by reconfiguring, decorating and blocking off a portion of Sterling Avenue. 

“I feel very blessed,” says Mader. “I love our community so much, being a part of it, and being able to support other entities so that they can be successful as well.” 

Dunning’s Market was established in 1958 and has been located in downtown Flossmoor for almost three years. Over the years, the market has held fundraisers for several causes and entities, including autism, South Suburban Family Shelter and community pantries. The market has also hosted special events for the community enjoyment. 

Tickets for the event include food, one drink ticket, live band and a chance to win dinner for four prepared by the winner of the competition. Anyone who cannot attend the event, can still donate to iCan Dream Center and watch the event on Facebook Live.

Tickets can be purchased online

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