Culinary shoot out

12th Annual Orpheum Theatre fundraiser matches chefs and celebrities in cook off.

Written by Joe Stumpe

More than just great food gets tossed together in a hurry at the Orpheum Theatre's Celebrity & Chef Cookoff. The June 11 event pairs professional chefs with local celebrities just before the cooking starts. That's a surprise, Orpheum President Jennifer Wright said. We like to match them up by random drawing, so there's no planning ahead. We want it to be as random as possible.

The other twist includes throwing a mystery ingredient at the chefs that they must use. The teams have 45 minutes to concoct a winning recipe. Most chefs prepare several courses to be presented to a panel of judges as a ballroom full of people look on.

The chefs take this very seriously. It's something to put on their resume, Wright said.

The celebrities, on the other hand, aren't chosen for their cooking skills. We just try to identify who is an outstanding leader in the community of an organization or a corporation, Wright said. Somebody that's sort of making a difference. For the celebrities, no cooking skills are required. Don't worry about going hungry at the June 11 event. In addition to the chance to bid on meals prepared by the chef-celebrity teams, there are 18 tasting stations manned by local restaurants along with plenty of wine, martinis and other beverages. Live music and live and silent auctions, as well as a new event this year called a wine pull are all part of the fun.

It's one of the best parties in town and it's for an excellent cause the Orpheum Theatre, Wright said. I can't imagine anything better than that. For tickets call 316.263.0884 or visit

pick your pair

Who would make the best culinary team in this year's cookoff? Here are the participants:


Linda Brantner, CEO of Delta Dental of Kansas
Roger Scholfield, Scholfield Honda
Michael O'Donnell, state senator
Mark Bennett, Sedgwick County district attorney
Jody Adams, WSU women's basketball coach
Jeff Korsmo, President/CEO of Via Christi Health
Mark Larson, KWCH weatherman
Wayne Chambers, CEO of High Touch


Kevin Derks, Newport Grill
Jake Lippincott, Petroluem Club
Peter Moretti, Marriott
Nathan Toubia, Bocconcini
Marshall Roth, Ambassador Hotel
Martin Martinez, Candle Club
Ben George, Beech Activity Center
Jim McNulty, Kansas Star Casino

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