Denver’s “Celebrity Chefs” Fundraiser For A Cause
Over the past four years this event has fulfilled its reputation of being the premier black-tie community fundraiser.
– Chuck Moss, President, 100 Men Who Cook
Do you like good eats?
Jambalaya? Beef Stroganoff? Or maybe a Crusted Bread Pudding is more to your liking. A Puerto Rican Chicken Fricassee followed by the Greatest Carrot Cake Ever chaser wouldn’t dare miss.
What about attending a black-tie gala that’s dedicated to supporting Denver’s youth by helping grassroots community nonprofit organizations?
Then dust off your tuxedos and evening gowns and head to the Renaissance Denver Hotel at Stapleton on Nov. 25, for the 100 Men Who Cook food-centric fundraiser.
The Fifth Anniversary
The 100 Men Who Cook was founded in Denver in 1984 as a fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund, (UNCF)” explains 100 Men Who Cook Vice President Norma Paige. “It coincided with the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon. So, though we are celebrating our 5th Anniversary this year, the gala is actually 33 years old. We incorporated in 2013 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This has given us the flexibility to fund a host of grassroots organizations serving youth in our community.”
During its four-year history, the event has reached the capacity of 700 guests. Page says an interesting piece of trivia is that the 100 Men Who Cook was actually founded by her sister Vivian Kerr who served as the Regional Director for UNCF from 1980 to 1988 and left the community with this gem of an event. Page says the event organizers have stayed fairly close to the original model.
The 100 Men Who Cook, Inc. is dedicated to supporting Denver’s youth by helping grassroots community nonprofit organizations that have a proven track record of making a positive and significant impact on youth in the community by raising operating capital to sustain their goals and objectives.
We are so proud of and grateful for the small grassroots organizations that we have in our community who are on the ground every day with our youth,” Paige says. “They are doing tremendous work. They go where we won’t go to serve youth and their families. Their purpose is to educate and equip them with the tools that garner success. Our goal is to also shine a light on their efforts making them visible to a larger audience of volunteers and support.”
The chefs, all of whom are volunteers, are a combination of professionals, amateurs and foodies with one thing in common. They have a passion for cooking and giving something back to the young people in the community.
2017 Chef Dishes include:
- English Dockside Seafood Grill
- Chicken Dip
- Sweet-Potato Pie
- Crusted Bread Pudding
- The Greatest Carrot Cake Ever
- Puerto Rican Chicken Fricassee
- Beef Stroganoff
- Cajun Wings
- Scalloped Potatoes
Samir Paige, this year’s 2017 event Chair says the menu is inclusive of a variety of foods each year, and they put a lot of thought, time and effort into the dishes they prepare. He adds that many of the chefs are mainstays, and that core of chefs grows bigger and bigger each year.
“They all want to win our People’s Choice Award which is voted on by our guests based on the categories of Grilled/BBQ, Entrees, Soups/Stews, Sides, Desserts & Baked Goods and Healthy Flare,” Paige says.
Comedian A-Train will host this year’s event which includes a Masquerade Ball, live entertainment featuring Linda Styles, dancing to DJ K-Tone, Casino Royale and a silent auction. The gala colors for the 2017 event are intended to add more ‘spice’ to the proceedings with the signature color of “Silver.”
Paige concedes that although the event is named the “100 Men Who Cook,” there are normally around 80 chefs who bring their prepared dishes to the hotel already in the provided inserts.
However, if there are those with culinary desires who wish to participate, they can simply go online to www.100menwhocook.co and click on “Chef Registration,” input their information along with what they are preparing.
“Hopefully they will submit their recipe which would be displayed in our souvenir book or beautiful recipe cards,” Paige says.
Chuck Moss, President of 100 Men Who Cook, says. “We are thrilled to celebrate five years with a masquerade ball. Our volunteer ambassadors have done a phenomenal job of putting this together. The support of Mayor Michael B. Hancock of Denver, continuing to serve as our honorary Chair, speaks volumes to the positive impact we have on the community. Having both Rich Jennings of Comcast and Gary Harris of the Denver Nuggets participating this year adds to the excitement we feel, as we move forward in this effort.”
This will be the first year that Comcast Senior Vice President Rich Jennings will be serving as the corporate chair.
“The unique approach taken to support grassroots nonprofit organizations provides much needed resources to organizations that have proven to significantly impact Denver’s youth,” he says.
Jennings adds that he was drawn to the event for a couple of reasons, which include the unique way funds are generated and targeted directly to the community where they are needed most and the ability to partner with many other community leaders around this effort.
“And finally,” Jennings says, “anything that has great food attached to it, is good with me. As long as there is food there, I’ll enjoy all of it. The one thing I know for sure is, it’s going to be a great event for a great cause.”
Moss says the event has raised approximately $200,000, and has contributed to more than 15 community organizations over the past four years. And that the Renaissance puts a feather in the cap of the event by offering guests a room rate of $96, which includes a breakfast buffet for two fit for royalty.
This year the word “fundraiser” has been added to the event. In fact, the event officials have affectionately dubbed the gala the 100 Men Who Cook Black Tie Fundraiser A Party with a Purpose.
Paige explains, “It is a community event so we have attempted to keep tickets to the general public below what you will find for your average dinner or luncheon, and offer our guests a total experience.”
Each year we have a volunteer staff of 50 to 75 people,” Moss says. “The planning, coordination and production of the 100 Men Who Cook Black Tie Fundraiser is volunteer-driven. Without the dedication, perseverance and willingness of our ambassadors to donate their valuable time, efforts and talents, we would not be able to complete such a huge undertaking.”
Paige underlines the fact it’s the event’s sponsors who has made the gala possible. She says, thanks to the support of the gala’s Honorary Chair Mayor Michael B. Hancock, they have been able to be introduced to major corporations that appreciate the role they play in the community.
“They fund us so we in turn can provide sustaining funds to grassroots organizations offering programming for youth,” she says. “There are two sponsors that have been with us the entire five years that we must highlight. Jerome Davis and Xcel Energy has been the longstanding major corporation that has stood by us offering council, collaborations and financial support.
“As a small business owner, Norvell Ballard of Ballard Family Mortuary, has partnered with us as a title sponsor for all five years. He has set an example to other small businesses as to the responsibility they have to give back to the people that patronize them.”
Ballard says being involved in the event with good people for a good cause is always a plus.
“It’s our duty to participate in the community,” Ballard says, “and we welcome the opportunity to meet and help people within our community.”
And as for favorite dishes?
“I must say I truly look forward to some of the southern comfort foods and the spin some of the participants put on classic dishes,” Ballard says. “If there is peach cobbler in the house, I am sure you will catch me near that dish at some point during the evening!”
Ballard says that he’s sure that he’ll enjoy himself and that the overall spirit of the event will be positive and uplifting.
Paige add that she and Moss, with more than 80 years of combined volunteer service to the community, are taking their responsibility seriously to raise up the next generation of community servants.
“We are not taking a seat,” Paige says, “but we are passing the baton to ensure the sustainability of the 100 Men Who Cook. If we let it stop with us, the organizations that do the hard work for our children will continue to struggle to maintain their missions.” Bon Appetit!
If You Go:
What: 100 Men Who Cook
Where: Renaissance Denver Hotel 3801 Quebec St.
When: 6-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017
Cost: General Admission - $50, Reserved Seats - $75 Each, Reserved Table of 10 - $750, VIP Seat - $150 Each and VIP Table of 10 - $1,500