Take four local chefs. Give them a surprise local ingredient to create entrees around, add the bounty of the local harvest and an array of locally produced meats, cheeses, wines and other ingredients donated by the producers – and what have you got?
The EnvIRONmental Chef Homegrown Cook-Off, a delicious fundraiser for Baltimore Woods, Marcellus.
The third edition of the popular event takes place Sunday, September 8. It features returning chef-champs Chris Kuhns of Phoebe's and Joelle Mollinger of Joelle's French Bistro vs. chef Chance Bear of Parisa (and the upcoming The 317) and Luke Houghton of Pure Catering and Events.
The pressure! The chefs have 90 minutes to prepare entrees that use a mystery local ingredient announced at the event. The dessert competition features Emily and Mike Woloszyn of Lune Chocolat (last year’s winners) vs. Jennifer Walls and Natalie Hansen of Sweet Praxis and Allyson Landon of The Sherwood Inn.
For guests, the only “challenge” is to eat, drink, mix and mingle and enjoy the scenery of Baltimore Woods. Chef Abigail Henson of LoFo will create cocktails and mocktails. Chef Stephen Landon of Vernak Farms will prepare appetizers and sides from potatoes donated by Cornell University. And chef Luke Szabo of the Mandana Inn will use produce from Horsford Farms in a variety of appetizers.
Those who purchase tickets at the patron level ($100) can enter a lottery to work alongside one of the chefs as their sous chef. All of the food prepared for the competition will be available for tasting, and guests determine the winners by vote.
“The draw for many is a chance to come see their favorite local chefs in action and to support the mission of Baltimore Woods,’’ says Mary Kate Hartnett, executive director of Baltimore Woods. “We also find that many folks in the community who like to support locally owned and operated restaurants, businesses and farms attend for this reason -- it's truly a local event.’’
Emcees for the event are interior designer and TV personality Thom Filicia (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’’) and NewsChannel9 (WSYR-TV) anchor Carrie Lazarus.
Funds raised via the cook-off benefit Nature in the City, Baltimore Woods’ K-6 science education program in Syracuse and Auburn.
Last year’s event sold out, so don’t delay on making reservations.
What: EnvIRONmental Chef Homegrown Cook-Off, to benefit Baltimore Woods
When: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, September 8
Where: Baltimore Woods, 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus
Tickets: General admission, $75; patrons, $100
Reservations: Call 315-673-1350 or visit www.baltimorewoods.org.