Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita's top chefs, including new 6S Steakhouse chef, are preparing for battle

Chef Josh Rathbun of Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, who competed last year with Schane Gross of The Anchor at the Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, will return to the competition this year.
Chef Josh Rathbun of Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, who competed last year with Schane Gross of The Anchor at the Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, will return to the competition this year. The Wichita Eagle

It’s that time of year when several of Wichita’s most well-known chefs get together on a stage, partner with a local celebrity who may or may not have much chopping skill, and cook a dish on the spot while onlookers cheer them on. It’s the Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, one of Wichita’s most fun and successful food fundraisers, and it’s happening at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Intrust Bank Arena.

The event, now in its 17th year, is a fundraiser for the Orpheum Theatre that includes food, drink and a show: Six local celebrities are paired with six local chefs and asked to cook a gourmet dish on the spot in 45 minutes using ingredients provided, plus a secret ingredient. The cast of competing characters is interesting, as usual. Among the celebrities on the roster are City Councilwoman Cindy Claycomb, The Monarch’s owner Jennifer Ray and Roger Scholfield of Scholfield Honda. Each will be paired with a local chef, and the names on the roster include Ben George, the executive chef at Intrust Bank Arena; Josh Rathbun, the executive chef at Siena Tuscan Steakhouse; and Stephanie Hand, the executive chef for Reverie Roasters.

Last year’s champion, Jennifer Reifschnieder from the Kansas Star Casino, will be there defending her title. And first-time competitors include Kayson Chong, the chef at the new 6S Steakhouse, and Cynthia Wilson, the cook behind Parsnipity Cafe and the LumpiaPalooza food truck. Tickets are $95 a person, and attendees also get food samples from a long list of restaurants. The event also includes a live and silent auction. For tickets, visit www.wichitaorpheum.com.

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