Local chefs to display cooking skills

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A dozen chefs from around the area will be showing off their culinary delights later this month at the ninth annual gourmet cooks auction to benefit the Big Island Rendezvous and Festival Education Days and the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.

The event will be held at the Ramada Inn starting at 6 p.m. Jan. 30.

These chefs and restaurants will be serving “tastes of the Midwest” at the event: Applebee’s Grill & Bar, Crescendo Fine Dining, Pootie Reed, Dennis Souba, Nelson’s Market Place, Ramada Inn, Pat Johannsen, Beth Atz, K & K Bakery, Famous Dave’s Barbecue of Owatonna, Piggy Blues Barbecue and the Lakeside Café & Creamery.

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“The cooks really shine,” said organizer Perry Vining. “You won’t want to eat anything before you come that day.”

There will be samples of foods like cream puffs to soup and everything in between. “People can go around and eat and bid on the 30 or so silent auction items while they are eating,” Vining said. There will also be a live auction.

Auction items include: dinners for two to 25 people; memberships from Wedgewood Cove Golf Club & Estates, Green Lea Golf Club and the Albert Lea Family Y; a weeklong stay at Breezy Point Resort; theater passes; gym passes; gift baskets; mugs; books; restaurant coupons; bowling passes; massages; gift cards; sweatshirts; a sewing machine; a hand vacuum; a grill set; a cruise for six on the Pelican Breeze; Timberwolves tickets; wall art; dry cleaning services; and more.

New to this year’s auction is that groups of 10 may order a table for themselves and be eligible to win an item from Fisher’s Fine Jewelers. Each table will have a unique gift that one of the table occupants will take home. Each table guest will be given a numbered ticket and one attendee will receive the prize designated for that table. Prizes will be valued at no less than $250.

A table can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis for $500. Individual tickets are $20 per person or $30 for two people. Call the Chamber of Commerce office at 373-3938 to reserve tables or seats. Only 100 tickets will be sold for the event. The reservation deadline is Wednesday.