By Kim Howard, CAE
Approximately 200 people spent Sunday afternoon sampling some of the tastiest dishes in the county prepared by amateur chefs. More than 22 Gourmet Guys and their sous chefs, connected through Leadership Prince William and the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce, showed off their cooking or grilling chops at this second annual family-friendly event.
Valerie Burke of Manassas attended for the first time this year. “I am blown away by the expertise these chefs have. I enjoyed sampling the many dishes here. They even had a play area and face painting for the children. This is a fun event and I am glad that I stopped by,” she said.
“As we finish our second year with this event, we are looking forward to the support of the community in 2018,” said Prince William Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Debbie Jones. “Many of the chefs are visible members of the community—elected officials, the provost of Northern Virginia Community College, even some not-for-profit executives—but at Gourmet Guys they lay it all on the line to compete for your votes: as the best amateur chef in our community,” she said.
The winners People’s Choice and Fan Favorite categories were voted on by the attendees. The winners are below.
In the People’s Choice Categories….
- Best Appetizer: Marty Nohe, Marty’s Famous Thing with a Lot of Bacon in It
- Best Salad/Side Dish: Chris Roccato, Chili Catchin’Cornbread
- Best Main Dish: Michael Howard, German Curry Wurst
- Best Grill Item (Tie): Bennett Whitlock, Bennett’s Bodacious Beef and Conrad Holtslag, Piggy Pug’s Pork BBQ
- Best Soup/Chili: Jason Parsons, Spicy Pumpkin Chicken Corn Chowder
- Best Dessert: Aaron Tolson, Chocolate Éclair Cake
Fan Favorite (Meaning this single item had the most votes of all the dishes):
Marty Nohe, Marty’s Famous Thing with a Lot of Bacon in It
The Judges’ Choice category winners were tallied after judges in each category sampled the entries and voted on their favorite. The judges were all professional, local chefs. The winners are below:
In the Judges’ Choice Categories…
- Best Appetizer: 1) Jim Aram, Mom’s Vietnamese Egg Rolls;2) Marty Nohe, Marty’s Famous Thing With a Lot of Bacon in It; 3) Ben Hazekamp, Hazekamp’s Jalapeno Poppers;
- Best Salad/Side Dish: 1) Chris Roccato, Chili Catchin’ Cornbread; 2) Michael Howard, German Potato Salad;3) Darrell & Earnest Dixon, Potato Salad
- Best Main Dish: 1) Dave Merli, A Taste of the Holidays; 2) Mike Howard, German Curry Wurst; 3) Aaron Tolson; South African Rogan Josh Curry
- Best Grill Item: 1) Conrad Holtslag, Piggy Pug’s Pork BBQ;2) Bennett Whitlock, Bennett’s Bodacious Beef; 3) Harry Horning II, The Steaks Have Been Raised
- Best Soup/Chili: 1) Rob Sturm, Robbie’s TDF Gumbo;2) Jason Parsons, Spicy Pumpkin Chicken Corn Chowder; 3) Brad Marshall, Smoked Chili
- Best Dessert: 1) Aaron Tolson, Chocolate Éclair Cake; 2) Greg Evans, Salt of the Earth Fudge; 3) Jim Elliott, Apple of My Eye
All of the Gourmet Guys donate their time and food to the event. The proceeds from the event benefit the programs and activities of Leadership Prince William and the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce. The Leadership Prince William Class of 2014 was the most represented class at this event. A little friendly competition at local events like this brings out the competitiveness among alumni.
Mark Shaaber, Acting Executive Director for Leadership Prince William, encourages families to attend next year’s event. “Gourmet Guys Give Back has proven to be an excellent family-oriented event for Leadership Prince William, it truly has something for everyone and is definitely worth checking out. There is no need to be a member of either partner organization to participate,” he said.
Kim Howard, CAE ([email protected]) is the editor in chief of Prince William Living magazine and the wife of a multiple award Gourmet Guys winner, Mike Howard. His cooking is why she exercises daily.