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Rogers Park Men Step Up To The Plate!

Posted on June 01, 2010

Whatever your level of experience or culinary style the First Annual Rogers Park Men Can Cook Competition is for you!  All men from Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood are invited to tie on an apron for a sunny afternoon of grilling, cooking, and tasting.  The competition event begins at noon on Saturday, June 26 at Willye B. White Park, 1610 W. Howard St.  The event is open to the public and will help raise funds for children from low-income families in our neighborhood to enjoy an organized and safe summer at park district summer camp.

“This event celebrates men in our community who step up to the plate and work every day to make our families and community stronger,” said White Park Advisory Council member and the event’s coordinator Michael J Harrington.  “There’s no question about the incredible contributions that women make every day as leaders in a family or in our community.  This event is a fun way to show that men can and do make a difference also, and that every man can be a leader,” Harrington said.
Harrington explained that the event is open to all men who are amateur cooks (professionals can serve on the judges’ panel).  Men can register in advance for the competition and download the event guidelines at or they can sign up on the day of the event.

Rogers Park “chefs” will be judged in a competition for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards.  Meat and vegetarian dishes – from the main course to dessert – are welcome!  Contestants who will be grilling can bring charcoal and gas grills only, since there is no electrical power supply at the park.  They can also prepare a dish at home and bring it to the competition.  Besides preparing a small serving of their creations for each of the 10 judges, participants are also encouraged to share a taste of the fruits of their labor with neighbors.
Harrington said that the park council is thankful that “Many local institutions and businesses are stepping up to the plate to offer their support of our work.  We believe this effort is an important investment in strengthening our community and keeping us on the path to healthy development and growth.”

Rogers Park Men Can Cook Schedule:
10 am – Contestants set-up their cooking area in the park.  Be sure to bring all necessary cooking supplies and utensils (and a folding table or something stable to work on) to prepare one fantastic main course, side dish, or dessert.
12 noon – Grilling and cooking begins
2 - 3 pm – The judges will circulate, taste, and rate each competition entry.
4 pm – Judges announce 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in several categories and distribute prizes.
The event includes performances by the “School of Rock” band and the Sullivan High Steel Drum Band, a music DJ, food prepared by local restaurants, and refreshments for the whole family.  The competition entry fee is $20.  General admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12 years.
The park advisory council is sponsoring the event in cooperation with the Chicago Park District.  Charitable donations are tax deductible as provided by law.  Call Harrington for more information at 773-614-2289.

Michael J. Harrington is a community development writer and long-time Rogers Park community activist.  His daily “kitchen chemistry experiments” at home, where he is the chief cook and bottle washer, often result in nutritious and tasty meals for his family.

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