The third annual Battle of the Chefs will be in an enclosed tent area in front of Dunning’s Market & Deli on the evening of Saturday, July 8. Proceeds will be donated to autism awareness and support.
The event is organized by Maureen Mader, the owner of Dunning’s. She said the event will feature celebrity chef Jerome Brown and his team. They will face off against Team Dunning’s which is set to include chef Wan Kim from the Korean-Polish fusion restaurant Kimski in the Bridgeport neighborhood in Chicago. Both teams have three chefs.
The contestants will receive surprise baskets of ingredients and have 45 minutes to make a dish. There will be five judges who decide which team made the best food.
“It’s very ceremonious. Both teams open the baskets up at the same moment. And we all are looking at the food together,” Mader said, adding that, in addition to these identical baskets of ingredients, both teams will have the same provided spices.
Audience members will be served four appetizers – two made by each competing team, Mader said. They’ll receive a signature cocktail and be treated to a performance from the local band ReTurn2SouL from 4 to 6 p.m. before the chef competition begins at 6:30 p.m. The event is set to have Flossmoor’s Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl co-owner Tony Fields as the DJ.
Admission is $70. Proceeds will go to the ICanDream Center in Tinley Park, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the livelihoods of kids and adults with autism and intellectual disabilities.
Mader said the mission of the ICanDream Center is important to her because her son, Nico Martinez, is autistic and she wants autistic people to be better understood and more accepted by society.
“If this is a way I can help, I want to do that. It’s important,” Mader said. “I want people to get to know Nico and to hire him. He’s a great animator and illustrator. He’s so talented but yet I think sometimes the stigma of being autistic — or maybe the fact that he’s not so gregarious in their opinion — is held against him.”
In addition to being a freelance artist, Martinez works at Dunning’s part-time. Mader said the Battle of the Chefs will include a raffle for a new original drawing from Martinez.
Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. The link is on the event page on Dunning’s Facebook.
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