Passion and expertise are the key ingredients for the fun-filled, fast-paced culinary showdown of Ready… Set…Cook! to benefit Gifts of Love.
Guests will watch four teams comprised of a Celebrity, a Chef, and a Sponsor compete against each other as they prepare two dishes within a 45- minute time limit using a basket of ingredients, including “mystery ingredients” from the Gifts of Love food pantry.
Returning chef and last year's winner, Michael Lee of Max’s Oyster Bar will be cooking up a storm to defend his title. Matt Cormier’s team from The Meat House of Avon will give its culinary skills a whirl, and Jordan Caterers Executive Sous Chef, Van Hurd, whose background includes competing on Hell’s Kitchen Season VI, as well as the illustrious Executive Chef of The Society Room, Chip Miller, will also try to wow the judges!
The theme of this year’s event is “Tailgate Party.” To that end, former New England Patriot, Tebucky Jones, UCONN football star Andre Dixon, and former Hartford Whaler Bob Crawford will each join a cooking team and amp up the competition! Will the rivalry between football and hockey be settled on this field?! Event Emcees, Cory Myers of Country 92.5 FM and Rachel Lutzker of FOX-61 will have their work cut out for them! FOX-61 morning anchor, Logan Byrnes, will also join a cooking team.
The Judges’ Panel includes Chef Kevin Cottle, Corporate Chef of Jordan Caterers; Maryellen Fillo, Java Columnist for The Hartford Courant; Jim Bucko, Managing Partner of Riverhouse Properties; and Gifts of Love Executive Director, Diana Goode. Judges will taste, critique and ultimately award one team the title of Gifts of Love "Top Chef!" Guests attending the event will have the opportunity to win a spot working side by side with their favorite chef.
The event includes tailgate party-themed hors d’oeuvres and food stations with a gourmet twist. Guests will also enjoy a complimentary wine tasting courtesy of Avon Wine & Spirits, a micro-brew tasting by City Steam Brewery, the cooking showdown, delicious desserts, cash bar, as well as a tea cup/silent auction and live music by OnCall band.
Live auction items include a complete tailgate set-up valued at over $500, donated by Larsen Ace Hardware, tickets to the Bruce Springsteen concert on August 18th in Foxboro, MA, a pair of tickets to Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw “Brothers of the Sun” tour, and a round of golf at the Yale University Golf Course.
Sponsors include The Meat House of Avon, "Your Neighborhood Butcher," the Community Farm of Simsbury, and many local businesses in the Farmington Valley, including The Marriott Residence Inn of Avon, Fitzgerald’s Foods of Simsbury, The Hair Loft of Avon, and Larsen Ace Hardware in Canton, and Farmington Miniature Golf & Ice Cream Parlor.
Tickets are $60 per person and may be purchased online at www.giftsoflovect.org. Click on the “Donate Now” button, enter the cost for the total number of tickets being purchased in the "Donate" field, then scroll down and check the “Ready Set Cook” ticket box. Tickets are also available at Gifts of Love (35 East Main St., Old Avon Village, Avon, 860-676-2323); Hair Loft (136 Simsbury Rd, Riverdale Farms, Building 15, Avon, 860-674-9460); Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms (1 Nod Rd, Avon, 860-404-5051); Avon Wine & Spirits (144 Simsbury Road, Riverdale Farms, Avon, 860-677-8989); The Meat House (Route 44, Avon).