By Megan A. Wilson, Contributing Writer
It’s time again to give your taste buds a thrill at the sixth annual Chef’s Challenge culinary challenge and fundraiser at the Boyne Mountain Civic Center.
The Chef’s Challenge—Friday April 12 and Saturday April 13—is a culinary event for the entire family, offering demonstrations and seminars throughout the day on Saturday, as well as the competitions.
“Last year we raised $12,000, mostly from ticket sales and private donations,” said Mike Hurchick, Challenge Mountain Program Director
Chefs Challenge was created in 2008 by the late Joe Breidenstein who worked diligently to promote Michigan’s spring tourism industry, an advocacy which includes playing a key role in designating the last week of April as “Springtime Splendor Week.”
The money raised from the event is used to pay for day camps and adaptive equipment for disabled children.
“We have both Summer and Winter sport day camps,” Hurchick said. “There are many different opportunities that we can give these children.”
Challenge Mountain is the nation’s only non-profit providing free adaptive recreation to those with special needs. Proceeds raised from the Chefs Challenge go directly to Challenge Mountain’s programs that include downhill skiing, snowboarding, sailing and cycling.
The weekend’s events kick off Friday, April 12, at 6 pm in The Mountain Grand Lodge’s Vienna Room with a high school students competing as “Future Chefs” and the opportunity to meet our celebrity chefs and celebrity judges. Admission for the general public is $10 which includes hors d’oeuvres.
“I’ve been judging this competition for six years, and this is one of my favorite events to go to,” said Master Chef Hermann Suhs. “This event celebrates the culinary arts, and promotes Michigan products.”
A new event this year planned is called the “Chop Challenge,” in which the top four chefs of the 12 are picked to participate in.
At the end of each course a chef is “Chopped” and, at the end, the best Chef will receive an engraved cleaver manufactured by Hammer Stahl.
Teams will be judged by both the attendees who award the “People’s Choice Award” and a select panel of judges who determine the “Chop Challenge” competitors.
Celebrity chef, Michelle Bommarito, will emcee all the weekend’s events.
“This event is just a great way for the public to come in and enjoy the products of Michigan,” said Hurchick. “Our state is rated in the top five in the culinary industry and it is climbing.”
Seminars are given on Saturday throughout the day, as well as the Taste of Michigan and Dessert Challenge.
On Saturday, April 13, in Boyne Mountain’s Civic Center special guests will lead a series of seminars available to the public free of charge between 9 a.m.-Noon. Titles and times will be posted on the Chefs Challenge website, www. chefs-challenge.com.
Saturday’s featured event, the Taste of Michigan, will feature: College and University, Professional Center-of-the-Plate; and Michigan Desserts.
The Taste of Michigan in Boyne Mountain’s Civic Center opens on Saturday, April 12th at 11:00 am and closes at 4:30 pm. The $30 admission includes all the seminars 8 Taste of Michigan sampling tickets good toward food and beverage and the Chop Challenge.
Additional tasting tickets can be purchased in quantities of four ($15) or eight ($25).
Dessert Challenge follows the Chop Challenge and is $5.
The top 4 Chop Challenge finalists are announced at 12:45, with Chop begins at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance on line at www.chefs-challenge.com or call Challenge Mountain at (231) 582-1186.