Helping Michigan's Most Vulnerable

The VOAMI Chefs Charity Challenge takes on the D!

After two successful events in Lansing, Volunteers of America Michigan brought our unique twist on a blind cook off to Detroit. Utilizing donated items from our pantry, three chefs took on a basket of mystery ingredients to make delicious entrées and mouthwatering desserts. The masterpieces were created in front of a live audience with only 35 minutes for the entrées and 25 minutes for the desserts.

"It was so cool to be able to get up close and watch the chefs cook… my favorite part was listening to them joke with each other while they competed for space," said Samantha Doud, audience member.

This FREE event was held at Volunteers of America Michigan's Detroit Veterans Housing Program and helped to bring awareness to the trials faced by our homeless veterans.

Tuesday night's event featured the recent donation of McRib meat, an item that emphasizes the unpredictable nature of a donated pantry. Also included in the entrée baskets were zucchini and yellow squash, potatoes, pumpkin puree, and brie. The dessert mystery baskets held chocolate sauce, water chestnuts, graham crackers, and slivered almonds.

The Chefs Charity Challenge Detroit competitors included Chef Tom Phelps of The Whitney Detroit, Chef Brian Kanak of the Toasted Oak Grill and Market at the Hotel Baronnette, and Chef Tim Enfield of Tria at The Henry Autograph Collection in Dearborn. The chefs wasted no time transforming the ingredients into beautiful plates that were sampled and judged by James Kokenyesdi, CEC®, CCA®, AAC®, vice president of the ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine, Mark Kurlyandchik restaurant critic at the Detroit Free Press, and Brenna Houck editor at Eater Detroit.

Although the race was tight Chef Tim of The Henry pulled out the win after creating a picture perfect entrée and a tasty dessert. We want to send out a special thank you to the chefs and judges who participated in Tuesday's event as well as our valued volunteers for always going above and beyond to help make our events great.