The sixth annual Men Who Cook event held recently in Covington was the group's largest fundraiser yet, earning more than $300,000 plus a two-year, $50,000 annual endowment to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center/ Hope House.

The success was due not only to the competing cooking teams and participants, but also to generous donations from the community. Thomas Mitchell, executive director of CAC/Hope House, said a local family matched the total funds raised at the event up to $150,000 and offered an additional $100,000 via a two-year endowment, for a total of $250,000 in donations.

Other large donations included $50,000 from a local resident and $20,000 from a local business manager.

The event, held at the top level of the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center parking garage, also had its highest attendance yet at more than 750 people. Last year, 300 people attended and raised $65,000.  

Guests enjoyed music by the band Four Unplugged while watching the sunset views from atop the building, sipping drinks and tasting the gourmet delights of 21 chef teams cooking under large tents.

They also enjoyed desserts from area bakeries, lined up for the Rock-It Productions photo booth, viewed many silent auction items and bought raffle tickets for a golf cart, original artwork by artist Marci Holmes and more.

The coveted People’s Choice first place award went to Rick Danielson and Times Grill, who served Cajun fried pork-tenderloin with mashed garlic red potatoes, tasso cream sauce and fried pork loin strips. Second place honors went to Sen. Jack Donahue and Zea Rotisserie’s for their dish, pomegranate chicken over eggplant couscous. And placing third were Sheriff Randy Smith and DiCristina’s Ristorante for their seafood cornbread with cream sauce.

The Judges’ Choice award went to Brett Bollinger and Gallagher’s Grill, who served soft shell crab and saffron bisque with lump crabmeat and hoisin-marinated beef tenderloin. In second place were Clay Madden and Brandon Meir with Walk-On’s Bistro, for their bacon-wrapped shrimp with jalapeno cheese grits. Third place went to Donahue and Zea’s. The judges were Tom Fitzmorris, Gary Bonnano and Jeff Young.

For the valued team prize category “Most Money Raised for Hope House,” Chav Pierce and Bryan Huval with Tchefuncta Country Club won first place by raising $21,650. Tony LeMon and Copeland’s won second by raising $20,335, and Bo Jankins with BridgeNet and La Casa De Sabores took third with $17,782.

CAC/Hope House will be able to upgrade its equipment and expand services with the funds raised.

CAC/Hope House is a nonprofit organization that provides services to children ages 3 to 17 who are victims of abuse, neglect and violent crime in St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

For more information about CAC/Hope House, go to www.cachopehouse.org.

Those in uniform honored

The East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce recognized the efforts of area first responders and military personnel during its recent Salute the Uniform luncheon at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium.

Law enforcement, firefighters, veterans and other public servants were treated to a Thanksgiving-style meal and fellowship. Guest speakers were Gerard Piper and Jeffrey Marshall with Ride of the Brotherhood, a nonprofit organization that supports the needs of veterans.

Marshall is the board chairman and Piper is house manager for Camp NORA (No One Rides Alone), a veterans' transition shelter in Covington that is a program of Ride of the Brotherhood.

The program offers housing and support services such as guidance, assistance with coping skills, help obtaining employment or permanent income and with permanent housing. 

Also providing information at the event were representatives from Bring it Home Northshore, which offers recreational support to children of deployed and deceased military personnel, and Military Veterans Advocacy, which provides comprehensive advocacy to protect the rights of current and former members of the military.

For information about upcoming chamber events, log on to www.estchamber.com.