Iron Chef Cocalico a test of culinary chops

By on February 22, 2017

The Cocalico Education Foundation will host the 11th Annual Iron Chef Cocalico and Benefit Auction culinary event on Sunday, March 5, at Cocalico High School from 1 to 5 p.m.

The event incorporates food, entertainment and award-winning artwork to raise funds for educational opportunities for students and in the Cocalico School District. The CEF funds classroom projects, books for early childhood education, technology initiatives, and scholarships for graduating seniors.

The 2016 winner, Courtney Rittenour from Courtyard Café on Main in Denver will defend her title while competing in a lively culinary competition against Brad Dunlap from The Village Haus in Stoudtburg Village, Adamstown — People’s Choice winner No. 1 and Sandy Leed from Sandy’s Cake and Pastry Shoppe in Denver — People’s Choice winner No. 2.

Corporate event sponsors and local food purveyors will supply many of the fresh ingredients, some of which will be a mystery to the chefs until the start of the completion.

Chef Tom Gillin, host of Blue Ridge 11 Cooking for Class, and special guest Chef John Moeller, State of Affairs Catering and former White House chef, will bring a wealth of knowledge to this culinary extravaganza as the emcees.

Moeller is a member of an elite corps of chefs who have served in the White House preparing très soigné cuisine for presidents, first families and their guests, including visiting heads of state. He was chef to three presidents and their families: President George H.W. Bush, President William Jefferson Clinton, and President George W. Bush.

Moeller will showcase his cookbooks, White House memorabilia, and add great commentary to the day’s event.

In addition to the Iron Chef cooking challenge, guests will have the opportunity to sample and judge the People’s Choice Competition.

The theme “The Bee’s Knees” will allow the participants to showcase their culinary specialties in this unique contest. The winner of the People’s Choice Competition will automatically be entered in next year’s Iron Chef Challenge.

As always, a highlight of the event is the food tasting fair. Many area restaurants and food purveyors will provide samples of their house specialties to attendees.

A special raffle will be drawn for a chance to win a $500 Weber grill donated by Blue Ridge Communications along with two other special prizes.

Brad Wolf and Art Pannebecker will be the auctioneers for the live benefit auction showcasing fine art, handmade jewelry, hand-crafted furniture, pottery and other valuable items produced by local artists. A variety of items, including handmade jewelry and ceramics produced by CHS students, are included in the silent and ticket auctions.

Judges for this year’s main event include: Jon Davenport, Sam Diblasi, and Chef Louis Chabot, Jr. An open judge’s seat for the Iron Chef challenge will be up for bid during the live auction.

Disc Jockey Casey Allyn of I-105 WIOV will co-host alongside Voice of the Lancaster Barnstormers John Witwer to emcee the Iron Chef event. Admission to the event costs $20. per adult and $10 per student, grades K-12. Tickets may be purchased at the school district’s central office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Tickets can also be purchased at Weaver Markets in Adamstown and at Blue Ridge Communications. Contact the Cocalico Education Foundation at 336-1413 or for more information.

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