Helping Michigan's Most Vulnerable

Photos: Holidays of Hope 2017

More than 200 people gathered for our annual Holidays of Hope fundraiser on Saturday, December 2, coming together on behalf of struggling families, poor seniors and homeless veterans. It is a serious cause, but the event also was a celebration of the generosity of attendees. For the second year, the main event of the night was a chefs challenge, where three chefs competed to create a winning dessert in 30 minutes. We are grateful to all who attended and participated.

The cooking competition at Holidays of Hope was a fast-paced, fun competition, and the judges raved about the creativity the chefs used with the "mystery basket" of ingredients: ginger snap cookies, instant coffee crystals, craime fraiche, and carrots.

The three chefs:

  1. James C. Minton II, Executive Chef for Sodexo at DMC Harper Hospital in Detroit. He served our country in the United States Navy in Persian Gulf. James has always had a love for cooking in the kitchen, and his grandfather even owned his own bakery in Mediana, Ohio.
  2. Jeff Ramirez, Volunteers of America Michigan’s Food Services Supervisor, who is responsible for feeding hundreds every day at the VOA’s Community Kitchen in Lansing and Detroit Veterans programs. He comes from a fine dining background, having worked at Blu, a James Beard-nominated restaurant, and several Traverse City and Lansing-area restaurants.
  3. Orlando Santos, CEPC, Executive Pastry Chef at MGM Grand Detroit Hotel & Casino Luxury Destination. A native of the United States Virgin Islands he studied Pastry Arts & Design in Florida and was selected to apprentice at The Hotel Metropole, in Brussels Belgium. He later attended the French Pastry School in Chicago, Illinois.

Congratulations to our own Jeff Ramirez, who was selected the winner. The other chefs were gracious in the competition, even commenting that Ramirez has to employ similar creativity every day, making meals to feed hundreds based on what donated goods he finds in our pantry.