White House Chef to Emcee Iron Chef Competition

White House Chef John Moeller to Emcee The Cocalico Education Foundation 10th Annual Iron Chef Cocalico culinary event Sunday, March 6, at Cocalico High School from 1 to 5 p.m.

This unique event incorporates food, entertainment, and award-winning artwork to raise funds for educational opportunities for students and in the Cocalico School District. The Cocalico Education Foundation funds classroom projects, books for early childhood education, technology initiatives, and scholarships for graduating seniors.

Last year’s winner, reigning Iron Chef Champion Chef Michael Harants from John Gross and Co., will defend his title while competing in a lively culinary competition against Chef Dave Kowalchick from Dave’s Diner in Adamstown and Courtney Rittenour from Courtyard Café on Main in Denver.

Photo courtesy Cocalico Education Foundation Scrumptious and creative culinary creations are the hallmarks of the Cocalico Iron Chef competition.
Photo courtesy Cocalico Education Foundation
Scrumptious and creative culinary creations are the hallmarks of the Cocalico Iron Chef competition.

Corporate event sponsors and local food purveyors will supply many of the fresh ingredients, some of which will be a mystery to the chefs until the start of the completion. Chef Tom Gillin, host of Blue Ridge 11’s Cooking for Class and special guest Chef John Moeller from State of Affairs Catering and a former White House chef will bring a wealth of knowledge to this culinary extravaganza as the emcees of the competition.

Moeller is a member of an elite corps of chefs who have served in the White House preparing très soigné cuisine for presidents, first families, and their guests, including visiting heads of state. He was a chef to three presidents and their families — George H.W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Moeller joined the White House kitchen in 1992 as sous chef to Pierre Chambrin and later Walter Scheib, eventually acting as White House chef in 2005. Over the course of his career in the White House, he focused on creating unique and one-of-a-kind dishes that relied on fresh and flavorful ingredients.

“One of my greatest satisfactions as a chef is presenting a first-class meal and seeing the enjoyment that it brings to the diners and the goodwill and friendship that it promotes,” Moeller said.

He will showcase his cookbooks, White House memorabilia and add commentary to the day’s event.

In addition to the Iron Chef culinary challenge, guests will have the opportunity to sample and judge the People’s Choice Competition.

The theme “As American as Apple….” will allow the participants to showcase their culinary specialties in this unique contest. The winner of the People’s Choice Competition will automatically be entered in next year’s Iron Chef challenge.

This year chefs from The General Sutter, The Federal Taphouse, WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, Sandy’s Cake and Pastry Shoppe, and The Village Haus will be participating.

As always, a highlight of the event is the food tasting fair. More than 25 area restaurants and food purveyors will provide samples of their house specialties.

A special raffle will be drawn for a chance to win a $500 Weber grill donated by Blue Ridge Communications, an appliance package valued at $150 from Walmart, and a $100 gift card to Weaver Markets.

Brad Wolf and Art Pannebecker will be the auctioneers for the live benefit auction showcasing fine art, handmade jewelry, hand-crafted furniture, pottery, and other items produced by local artists. Also included in the silent and ticket auctions are handmade jewelry and ceramics produced by Cocalico High students.

Judges for this year’s main event include Mitch Arment of Giorgi Foods, Patricia Dean of Fiorentino’s, and Chef Louis Chabot Jr. of the Ephrata American Legion Cloister Post 429).

An open judge’s seat for challenge will be up for bid during the live auction.

In honor of the theme, Salute to America, various local military organizations will be featured throughout the day.

To honor and thank those serving the nation, there will be a special presentation by the Red Rose Veterans Honor Guard. In 1998, spurred by community and veterans concerns that all honorably discharged Lancaster County veterans were not receiving appropriate graveside military honors, an ad hoc committee of county veterans and citizens endorsed the creation of the Red Rose Veterans Honor Guard Inc.

Since the first service in 1999, the RRVHG has rendered several thousand military funeral flag folding honors. The RRVHG is a non-profit 501(c) (3) charitable organization under the IRS and is a Department of Defense certified provider of Military Funeral Honors. The organization has representative of all the branches of the Armed Forces from honorably discharged officers and enlisted members that are active duty, reservist, Pennsylvania National Guard, and retired. To date, the RRVHG has provided 5,633 military funeral honors and about 538 color guards in support of the Lancaster County veterans and its communities.

Attendees have the opportunity to “meet and greet” Larry Alexander, a lifelong native of Ephrata, Review columnist, and military historian. Alexander is the author of the New York Times bestselling biography “Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers.”

Winters was the main character in the Stephen Ambrose book and Emmy Award-winning TV miniseries, “Band of Brothers,” the latter produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. He is also the author of “Shadows In the Jungle: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines in World War II,” a book about one of America’s first special forces units and “In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers: A Return to Easy Company’s Battlefields With Sgt. Forrest Guth.” Book signings will be available.

Disc Jockey Casey Allyn of I105 WIOV will co-host alongside Voice of the Lancaster Barnstormers John Witwer to emcee the Iron Chef event.

Admission is $20 per adult and $10 per student, grades K-12. Military personnel (active or retired) will receive a special price of $15. Tickets may ve purchased at the Cocalico School District Central Office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Tickets can also be purchased at Weavers Markets in Adamstown and Blue Ridge Communications.

For more information, contact the Cocalico Education Foundation at 336-1413 or visit www.cocalico.org. Detailed event brochures can be found in area businesses.


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