TUPELO • Four community leaders are putting themselves on the chopping block to help the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tupelo on Nov. 10.
For the annual Cooking Like the Stars fundraiser, local celebrity chefs Barbara Fleishhacker, owner of the Main Attraction; Kristy Luse, CREATE Foundation vice president; BancorpSouth senior executive vice president and general counsel Chuck Pignuolo and Legend Publishing owner Wesley Wells will compete to see who can prepare the best three course meal with a set of surprise ingredients, as they do on the Food Network show “Chopped.”
“No one gets cut,” said event chairwoman Lucy Nash, who serves on the advisory board for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tupelo. “It’s all in fun.”
Park Heights in downtown Tupelo will host the charity culinary showdown starting at 6 p.m. Nov. 10. Tickets are $100 each and include a three course dinner prepared by Park Heights staff using the same mystery ingredients as the contestants and two glasses of wine. Only 130 tickets will be sold for the event.
“It does sell out,” said Blair Hughes, who owns Park Heights with husband Hamp Hughes.
All the action in the kitchen will be displayed on large flat screen TVs in the dining room with commentary from Tupelo city communication director Lucia Randle, Tommy Green of Reed’s Department Store and Tupelo veterinarian Dr. Glenn Thomas.
Each course will be judged on creativity, presentation, taste and use of ingredients in the mystery basket. The contestants will vie for the approval of three local judges for each course. The audience will vote via donations to determine the people’s choice award winner.
Nash said she loves pulling together the mystery ingredients with Hughes and watching the chefs’ personalities blend to make for a fun, laughter-filled evening. But the most important thing is the support the event provides for the youth who attend the Northside and Haven Acres clubs.
Last year, the event brought in about $18,000, said Zell Long, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi, which includes clubs in Tupelo, Oxford, Ripley and New Albany and reaches more than 2,000 youth each year.
“Almost everything is donated,” by local farmers and merchants, Hughes said.
The funds from Cooking Like the Stars help the two Tupelo clubs serve more than 1,100 youth, providing supplies like paper and pens and incentives for honor roll recipients, Long said.
“We are honored once again to be beneficiaries of this fun-filled evening,” Long said.
Tickets are available by calling (662) 841-6504 or by emailing Lynn Provine at firstname.lastname@example.org.