Cooking For A Cause
Top Chef Harrisonburg Raises Money For CASA
By MEGAN WILLIAMS
Daily News-Record 4/1/19
HARRISONBURG — Top Chef Harrisonburg took place at Bluestone Vineyard Saturday night and included chefs from Bella Luna Wood- Fired Pizza, Cuban Burger, Food.Bar.Food, Joshua Wilton House, Local Chop and Grill House, Vito’s Italian Kitchen and Montpelier Restaurant and Bar.
The winner was Tom French from Joshua Wilton House. He won with a menu of farro risotto with chorizo, shellfish and lobster cream.
Votes were tallied from both event attendees and a judges’ panel. In addition to the chef’s dishes, the evening featured Bluestone Vineyard wine, live entertainment, and door prizes.
It is based off the reality cooking competition television show “Top Chef.” All ticket proceeds and sponsorship fees that businesses paid to participate go directly to Blue Ridge CASA.
Blue Ridge CASA is a nonprofit agency that trains community volunteers to advocate for local children who have been abused or neglected.
The proceeds will provide funding for a full-time advocate manager for the Harrisonburg area. This staff person will recruit, train, and supervise the volunteer advocates. The advocates work directly for Judge O’Donnell in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
For CASA staff and volunteers, the goal is to help ensure that children in protective care find safe, permanent homes where they can thrive, according to the organization’s website.
It’s not easy for a chef to take off on one of the busiest nights, especially all at once.
But the right cause draws the right crowd.
Jeff Hill, the managing partner for Joshua Wilton House and the Local Chop and Grill House, has participated in the Top Chef Harrisonburg competition to raise money for Blue Ridge CASA for the past two years.
Each year it’s gotten bigger and that means more funding for a cause he believes in.
“I’ve gotten close to the cause,” Hill said. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”
The event was sold out with more than 200 attendees and seven chefs.
It’s a night for a cause but also for industry leaders to come together to try each other’s food and to talk, which is not something that happens every day.