The Johnson County community has no shortage of leaders to guide it in industry, civic life, and philanthropic endeavors.
But this weekend the public will have the opportunity to answer the question: who is best in the kitchen?
More than 30 leaders who became chefs will use their culinary skills to support local agencies and initiatives. Cooking for a Cause, which takes place on Sundays from 1:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., gives ticket holders the opportunity to sample samples of dishes prepared by prominent Johnson County men.
The participating chefs cook everything from Korean beef tostadas to Spanish gazpacho to Snickerdoodle Cobbler. Chef tips count as votes, and funds generated go to Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, the Johnson County Community Foundation, and Leadership Johnson County.
“It’s a unique and fun event. We’re all kind of partners here in the nonprofit community, and it’s nice to be working on a project and bringing a whole range of individuals together to raise money for all of us at the same time, ”said Kim Kasting, vice president of development for the Johnson County Community Foundation .
The Give Back Gals project is cooking for a good cause. The group members – Kasting, Stephanie Wagner, Tandy Shuck, LeeAnn Wilbur, and Jennifer Price – teamed up after taking golf lessons together at Hickory Stick Golf Club.
All of the women worked for a variety of local nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, the Johnson County Community Foundation, and Leadership Johnson County. They took advantage of their newfound hobby and decided to organize a golf trip for women only to raise money for these groups.
“We ran this event for nine years and all of the proceeds were split between these organizations,” said Kasting.
To keep the fundraiser up to date, the Give Back Gals explored additional events they could be hosting. As we researched various options and figured out what hasn’t been done in Johnson County in the past, a cook-off turned out to be an exciting option.
“We brought in male cooks with their assistants, and people could buy tickets to try what the cooks cook,” Kasting said.
Instead of recruiting professional chefs from the area, the organizers turned to other local guides to prepare their favorite dishes, which they cook at home.
The dishes on offer range from hearty tailgate dishes like white chicken chilli from Jeremy Pell, bacon-wrapped jalapenos from Pat Hagan or the pork nachos prepared by Marcus Davis to delicious desserts like Scott Horvath’s elephant ear cheesecake or Peter Goerner’s triple chocolate treasure bar .
The chefs have been raising funds for the past few months, and people have been able to donate on the Cooking for a Cause website. The closing balance contains tips that will be made available to the chefs on the evening of the event. The participant who collects the most money is called the “Top Chef”.
Along with that title comes the satisfaction of helping three major nonprofits grow their support.
“This money will support our groups’ missions and our work,” said Kasting.
When you go
Cooking for a good cause
What: An event where more than 30 community leaders come together to compete as chefs and provide samples of their typical dishes to raise funds.
Who: Organized by the Give Back Gals to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, the Johnson County Community Foundation, and Leadership Johnson County.
When: Sunday 2-4pm; Doors open at 1:45 am.
Where: Apparel Factory Events, 101 E. Wayne St., Franklin
Admission: $ 35 advance booking, $ 40 at the door, $ 350 reserved table with eight people
Tickets and information: jccf.org/cooking-for-a-cause-2021