The “Profiles of Courage” Gala has put a new twist on a 25-year-old recipe. The fundraising event that benefits the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach is in its second year of having a live cooking competition, with locally renowned “celebrity” chefs at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach.
The Cooking for Kids competition lets chefs prepare their very own family recipes at the competition, or have the Hyatt provide a recipe, to which chefs can add their own “flare.” Chefs include Mike Duree, Gary & Dawna DeLong, Rory DeJohn, Commander Laura Farinelli, Randy Gordon & Nancy Becker, Jake Hooper and Dede Rossi.
Mike Duree works for the Long Beach Fire Department and drives a department-owned mobile grill to transport food to community events. The emcee for the gala will be Katy Clark, winner of the 2011 Mrs. Long Beach title and a finalist on The Next Food Network Star.
Celebrity chefs can garner votes before the event through online fundraising and through tastings of their appetizers at the event by judges– such as former patient Jack Witherspoon, who has written his own cookbook– and through votes from the crowd. Each dollar donated is equivalent to one vote. The chefs are judged on presentation, quality and taste, and they strive to win as the “ultimate chef,” the chef who receives the most votes from the crowd, the community and the judges.
In addition, the “Profiles of Courage” gala will honor four patients from JJCCC– Nydia Ahumada, Aaron Cheng, Susan Ing and Kayleigh Scott– and three additional honorees–KV Mark, Payless Foods and a Torch Run team: Team Matt Johnson.
Nydia Ahumada has leukemia and has a dream to attend UCLA.
Aaron Cheng, who was born with Cooley’s Anemia, will be going to Harvard in the fall.
Susan Ing has been a patient at Miller Children’s for her entire life and juggles her monthly blood transfusions between her community college courses.
Kayleigh Scott is undergoing chemotherapy for the second time and stays positive by focusing on her family and passion for music.
Team Matt Johnson is this year’s Torch Run team honoree. Ten years ago, at the age of 14, Matt Johnson, who was a Manhattan Beach native, lost his two-year battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). ALL is the most common form of pediatric leukemia. Today his parents and family are actively involved in JJCCC through events and board membership and as philanthropic friends.
Those interested in joining in the fun and supporting these patients and patients like them can purchase tickets for the Cooking for Kids competition, the cost for which is $175 per person. For tickets or to vote for a chef online now, visit millerchildrens.org/cancer.