This weekend, 100 Columbia-area men from all walks of life will gather at EdVenture Children’s Museum for a friendly culinary competition.
Participants in Sunday’s 100 Men Who Cook for Kids event have been asked to prepare a dish and to use social media to raise tip money. Proceeds will benefit EdVenture’s statewide youth development programs for children in grades 7-12.
Though it’s for a good cause, it is a competition, and there has been some friendly trash talk going on between some of the participants.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has called out Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins and Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook, taunting them about who will raise the most money in tips and who will have the best food.
Jenkins said Lott may make more money in tips, but Lott and Holbrook are “gonna lose” in the food tasting. Jenkins is preparing an “enhanced” chili from a secret family recipe. Lott has his special LL Venison Chili – “It will have the spices and a hint of brown sugar,” he said. Holbrook is preparing Italian meatballs.
EdVenture chef Kenny Smith hopes to get Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin to go off his diet by eating Smith’s Southern shrimp with smoked gouda grits. Benjamin, who has lost 30 pounds, said the diet will have to take a break this weekend.
When asked what he will prepare for the event, Benjamin said it’s a secret, but added he has a ringer – his 10-year-old daughter – helping to perfect his recipe. “The greatest compliment anyone can give is to underestimate you,” said Benjamin. “We’ll be cooking with a lot of care and a lot of love.”
Speaking of love, FatRat da Czar, who recently held the kick off event for Love Peace & Hip-Hop at EdVenture, has gathered all of the good cooks in his family to narrow down the choices for what he will be preparing.
“I’m getting the best of the best,” he said. “It will be some kind of dessert ... and I’ll be in full get-up. Expect a hat and apron.”
The State newspaper’s own Dwaun Sellers, who writes for the Go Columbia magazine, said he’s trying to stay above the trash-talking fray. “There are some incredible men in the area who are well-known,” he said. “It’ll be a stiff competition.”
Sellers will be preparing “El Pollo” tacos from an original recipe, adding he likes a simple cooking style.
Other tasting highlights include a variety of barbecue items on the menu, Alex English’s red velvet cake and Columbia City Councilman Howard Duvall’s chow chow served on saltines. The chow chow is Duvall’s recipe that he makes for the annual Trinity Bazaar.
Awards will be given out, including the Cooker King Award (the man who accumulates the most tip money), along with an award for the most creatively decorated cooking station.
Lott said he will have the best interactive booth and folks should expect something “loud and flashy.”
“It’ll leave no doubt that the sheriff is in town.”
100 Men Who Cook for Kids
WHEN: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St.
COST: $50 or $90 for couple at www.edventure.org/support-us/100-men-who-cook-for-kids Proceeds benefit EdVenture’s Youth Development Programs for kids in grades 7-12.
WORTH NOTING: Tip your favorite cook by scrolling through the 100 Men list at the EdVenture website or participants’ social media sites. www.edventure.org/support-us/100-men-who-cook-for-kids