Dining With Denise Neil

Can these 100 Wichita men cook? Find out at sampling event

Among the participants of the “100 Men Who Cook” fundraiser on Saturday are, clockwise from top left, former Mayor Carl Brewer, Wichita Eagle entertainment writer Matt Riedl, Wichita school board member Lynn Rogers and Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis.
Among the participants of the “100 Men Who Cook” fundraiser on Saturday are, clockwise from top left, former Mayor Carl Brewer, Wichita Eagle entertainment writer Matt Riedl, Wichita school board member Lynn Rogers and Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis. The Wichita Eagle

In between their politicking, news reporting, lawyering, fathering and running a business, Wichita men have to eat.

And many of them are experts at whipping up their own meals.

A local group has rounded up 100 of those men to show off their cooking skills while raising money for a good cause. “100 Men Who Cook” is the name of the event, which will be Saturday, April 8, at Century II Exhibition Hall.

Those who attend will get to sample the culinary creativity of the 100 men recruited by the Pando Initiative to prepare their favorite dishes for the masses. The Pando Initiative, formerly Communities in Schools, is a group that helps nearly 2,000 students attending 23 area public schools become better engaged in school with tutoring, mentoring and more.

The list of men participating includes well-known politicians and business leaders such as former Mayor Carl Brewer, County Commissioners Dave Unruh and David Dennis and state senator and Wichita school board member Lynn Rogers. The Wichita Eagle’s arts and entertainment reporter, Matt Riedl, also is participating.

But the list also includes several “regular Joes” who like to cook.

“It’s something a little bit different that’s not been done here,” said Nancy Hinten, the Pando Initiative’s executive director. “It’s a unique twist on a fundraising event that’s going to be pretty low-key and a lot of fun.”

Each man has been asked to prepare a dish that people in attendance can sample, and they’re bringing items like shrimp ceviche, bourbon bacon and a dish Rogers is preparing called “Cornhusker Farm Boy Refrigerator Corn Relish.”

People who purchase a $65 ticket will see the chefs introduced one by one as they appear victoriously from behind the scenes through a cloud of fog. Several are planning elaborate and silly costumes for the parade.

After they’re introduced, the cooks will start passing out food samples. Ticket holders also will get two alcoholic beverages of their choice, and each person will leave with a cookbook listing all the recipes from the evening.

Organizers raise money not just through ticket sales but also with chef “tipping.” Each of the cooks has been asked to encourage his supporters to tip him online in advance of the event, and tip jars also will be set out at each table that evening.

The men who raise the most money will be named the top chefs at the event.

The event also will include a live auction, where several dinner packages prepared by local celebrities, chefs and restaurants will be up for bid.

Hinten said no one will leave hungry.

“It’s just a variety of food and a variety of people that are involved, and so that makes it a lot of fun,” she said.

To see a list of the chefs and to offer them tips in advance of the event, visit http://thepandoinitiative.org.

100 Men Who Cook

What: A fundraiser for the Pando Intitiative featuring 100 local men offering samples of their favorite dishes

When: Saturday, April 8. Cocktails at 6:30 p.m., chef introduction at 7 p.m., followed by tasting, live auction and awards

Where: Century II Exhibition Hall

Tickets: $65 at Century II Box Office, by calling 316-303-8100 or online at www.wichitatix.com. Tickets include samples, two alcoholic beverages and a commemorative cookbook.

Online tipping: To see a list of chefs and tip them in advance of the event, visit http://thepandoinitiative.org.

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