I love love love the Orpheum’s annual Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, a fundraising event that brings in money for the historic theater and its restoration.
This year’s 13th annual event is coming up on Tuesday, June 10 and it has a new venue… a BIG new venue. The event will take place at Intrust Bank Arena, both on the main floor and in the concourses. For the past several years, it’s happened in much closer quarters at the Wichita Marriott.
I will join Chester’s Chophouse chef Bobby Lane and Tanya’s Soup Kitchen owner Tanya Tandoc on the judges’ panel for the event, which pairs local chefs with Wichita celebrities for an “Iron Chef”-style on-the-spot cooking challenge. The chefs take it very seriously. The competing chefs this year are John Fitzthum of the Candle Club, Paul Freimuth of the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar, Ben George of Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, Jim McNulty from Kansas Star Casino, Adrian Prud Homme De Lodder from Bella Vita Bistro, Patrick Shibley from Doo Dah Diner and Kasey Thexton, the food and beverage manager at Intrust Bank Arena. Chef Jason Febres of Taste & See, who last year was moved to the judges’ panel after winning two cookoffs in a row, will also be back on contestants’ row.
The chefs will randomly be assigned celebrity helpers. On that list: Newman University president Noreen Carrocci, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, KWCH anchor Cindy Klose, Go Wichita president Susie Santo, House of Schwan owner Barry Schwan, Freddy’s Frozen Custard co-owner Bill Simon, Davis-Moore’s Sean Tarbell and J.P. Weigand president Dawn Truman.
Those who buy an $85 ticket get to watch the competition go down and sample food from many local restaurants, including Bella Vita Bistro, Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, Kanai, Molino’s Mexican Cuisine, and Twizted Confections. They also get cocktails and can participate in live and silent auctions.
Tickets are available now at www.wichitaorpheum.com or by calling 316-263-0884.