Kids Who Care’s celebrity chef competition, Cookin’ for Kids, will celebrate 15 years with a new venue, renowned chefs and celebrities and much fanfare for longtime participants.


The annual gala event includes a cooking competition featuring Fort Worth’s top chefs and local celebrities, auctions and live entertainment from Kids Who Care performers.


Cookin’ For Kids serves as the organization’s biggest fundraiser.  All proceeds from the event will help fund programs, scholarships and administrative costs for Kids Who Care, a non-profit musical theater company for kids, Andrea Ballard, marketing and public relations director for Kids Who Care, said. The event also helps forge community relationships.


“[The event] introduces the chefs and notables to people they may not encounter…those community relations not only benefit us and the event, but I think in the future will benefit Fort Worth,” Ballard said.


Twelve of the area’s top chefs will pair with 12 local celebrities, who help with the cooking. This year the chefs will not know who their partners are until right before the competition, Ballard said.


Also new this year, the event will be held at Cendera Center. Ballard believed the new venue will take the event to a whole new level.  In marking the event’s 15-year anniversary, she said, the organization will honor the chefs, celebrities and people who have taken part in the event for so long.


Recurring participant and Del Frisco Executive Chef, Anthony Felli, said to begin the competition, chefs receive a mystery cooler containing a protein and other eclectic ingredients such as escargot and turnips. 


Then participants have 45 minutes to prepare two plates utilizing the mystery ingredients.  One plate is auctioned off to patrons, and the other is judged, Felli said.


During the competition, a silent auction, live auction and performances by the kids will take place.  Guests can also visit tasting stations with foods from 15 area restaurants, Ballard said.


It will be KidPower Leadership Board President Jamie Kiliany’s ninth year to perform at the event. Kiliany, along with 60 other kids grades one through twelve, will perform multiple times.


She said her favorite performance titled, “Be the Change,” will be a high energy, jazzy number and a crowd pleaser.  The number is all about making the choice to have joy in your life, she said, and taking initiative to make the right decisions.


“There are so many ingredients happening and being on stage and performing around all these people who are cooking all these amazing things – it’s a very, very high profile event,” Kiliany said.


Ballard said the founder of Kids Who Care, Deborah Jung, wanted to create a musical theater company where kids looked like kids and where everyone is welcome to participate. Since its founding in 1987, Kids Who Care has given out more than $1 million in scholarships enabling kids to participate in the program.



Cookin’ For Kids


When: Sunday, March 4


Where: Cendera Center

  3600 Benbrook Hwy.

  Fort Worth, 76116


Time: 5 p.m.


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