Raising money for nonprofits can be challenging, especially during times of economic distress. I've experienced this firsthand.  That's why I appreciate when an organization comes up with a unique fundraising event that is equally entertaining, philanthropic and, of course, involves good food.
Entitled "Bubby’s Cook-Off," this inaugural event benefits The Friendship Circle of Philadelphia Region-North and other social and educational programs of Lubavitch of Bucks County. The nonprofit replaced its yearly gala with this innovative kosher competition with the area’s finest chefs. Philadelphians are invited to play judge and sample modern Jewish fare at Vie on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
"Everyone knows that Bubby always makes good food," says event host Rabbi Yehuda Shemtov, "So we wanted throw an event that highlights Jewish comfort food."
With high-profile cooks like Jean-Marie Lacroix, chef-partner of Brûlée Catering, and Guillermo Pernot, chef-partner of Cuba Libre, Restaurant & Rum Bar, it should be quite a competition.
"This will be a challenge for me," admits Pernot. "I'm not used to the kosher rules. I'm learning, but it's been fun to stop out of my comfot zone. Plus, I get to treat myself to a new set of knives since they must be kosher!"
Should we expect a Jewish-Cuban dish from chef Pernot? You'll have to be at the event to find out!
In addition to Lacroix and Pernot, the other chefs going head-to-head with their best sampling of savory kosher bites include:
· Mike Deganis, executive chef of Alla Spina
· Yehuda Sichel, executive chef of Citron & Rose
· Shane Cash, executive chef of Stephen STARR Events’ Rat’s Restaurant
The event is chaired by Sharon Pinkenson, Joseph Weiss and William Sasso.
Judging this year’s cook-off:
· Audrey Claire Taichman, proprietor of Audrey Claire, COOK and Twenty Manning Grill
· Hope Cohen, media personality, chef and author of Fast, Fresh + Simple.
· Nancy Glass, CEO of Nancy Glass Productions
· Stephanie Stahl, Emmy award-wining media specialist at CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57
· Rebbetzin Miriam Shemtov, director of the Philadelphia Friendship Circle-North and co-founder of Lubavitch Bucks County
Bubby’s Cook-Off tickets are on sale now at www.bubbyscookoff.com  for $175 per person. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres start at 5:30 p.m. The announcement of the winning chef will take place at 8 p.m. All of the food will be prepared by the chefs and their crews under strict rabbinical supervision, then paired with award-winning Israeli wines..
Start Your Burners,
The Bubbi Project