October is Domestic Violence awareness month and people around the world are finding ways to stand for the mission and help end the abuse. One unique event that has helped raise awareness for the cause came from the local Cortland Aid to Victims of Violence organization as they hosted their 2nd annual Chefs Take a Stand: Men Against Domestic Violence event at the YWCA on October 4th.
In sponsorship with the Cayuga Medical Center, many businesses, organizations, local law enforcement, and more came prepared with their own sample dishes to serve to guests. Dishes included Cheeseburger Soup (made by AVV Advocate Steven Mitro), Red White and Blue Mac and Cheese (made by City of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin), Eggplant Lasagna (made by Cortland Police Department Chief of Police F. Michael Catalano), New Orleans Pasta (made by Erik Burns, chef at Dasher’s Pub), and other varieties of samples ranging from Wine and Beer tastings to desserts!
“The food and drinks are amazing and it’s great we’re all supporting a good cause while enjoying ourselves!” said Chris Cecconi, attendee and supporter of the AVV organization.
During the event, guests were invited to choose their favorite dishes for the contest. The chef with the most favorite dish at the end of the night received not only a 1st place ribbon, but a purple apron as well since the color symbolizes Domestic Violence.
That first-place prize was given to Beanie Koegler, Executive Chef at the Kendal at Ithaca, as his Smoked Duck Crostini with Goat Cheese and Fig and Jalapeno Jelly smoked the competition. Close behind in second place was Executive Director of the Center for the Arts Ty Marshal with his Reuben Egg Roll and in third was The Mayor of Homer Hal McCabe with his Crawfish Monica.
Even though the competition was tight, it was all out of good spirits for a good cause. One of the chefs, Bob Cat from Main Street Farms, mentioned “This was a fabulous event! I love the community and I love cooking and eating!”.
Aside from the contest, more activities were available to guests during the event including a photo booth, raffle baskets, and a 50/50 drawing.
This yearly event wouldn’t have been possible without Jessica Smith (Senior Chief advocate of AVV) and Mary Coffey (Director of Events at the YWCA), who helped developed the event last year.
“We [AVV] were figuring out what event we should do every year to help spread awareness of Domestic Violence,” mentioned Smith. “Then Mary said this type of event and here we are today!”.
Since last year, the event has grown from two planners to a whole committee helping to plan out everything.
A couple new things were also added this year including Wine and Beer tastings from the Cortland Beer Company and Longpoint Winery and more tickets were sold (and sold out again for the second year in a row!).
With the 2nd annual Chefs Take a Stand event in the books, there’s always time to plan ahead for the 3rd annual! If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a chef for next year’s event provide your name and complete the contact information at the YWCA check in desk.
Here are some photos of the event (All photos were taken by Kaitlyn Hession):