The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 26, 2014

Men Who Cook raise money for Ashtabula County's needy

ASHTABULA — The opportunity to help the needy and put on the chef’s hat for an evening drew more than 30 men to the Our Lady of Peace Community Center Saturday evening for the 8th Annual Men Who Cook event.

“I call it the Super Bowl of men’s cooking in Ashtabula County,” said the Rev. Raymond Thomas, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish.

He said four priests were cooking at the event this year including the Rev. John-Michael Lavelle, the Rev. John Sheridan and the Rev. Matthew Albright.

Thomas cooked pasta-fagioli for the hungry people that attended the event for an evening of fun and to help raise thousands of dollars to help the needy of Ashtabula County.

“I grew up with it (pasta fagilio) since my childhood,” he said.

The event raised $22,000 to replenish emergency support funds to help people in desperate need last year, said Catholic Charities Executive Director Lynn Zalewski. She said the funds help create a bridge for people in bad financial straights.

“We have 22 different stations,” Zalewski said of the food that ranged from soup to dessert.

“It kind of runs the whole gamut. Nobody leaves here hungry,” Zalewski said.

Steven Steele and his nephew Bob Wardrop partnered up to make stuffed pepper finger food. Steele said he and Wardrop work on different meals together seeking unique recipes.

“I was tired of rice and hamburger so I went with sausage and a couple of other things and people really liked it,” Wardrop said.

Jeff Brodsky and his partner Bill Howe created a cauliflower alfredo pasta. “I actually saw it on the Chew. It’s a cooking show,” Brodsky said.

“Thank you all for being here. I think you all could be considered Men Who Cook groupies,” Zalewski said of all the people who turned out for the event in cold weather and snow.

Zalewski explained the need of many people Catholic Charities deal with in Ashtabula County.

“We just had a lady who came in and hadn’t had water since November,” she said.

Zalewski urged people to pray for those in need in the cold wintry weather.

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