The Heat Is On “Men Who Cook” Fires Up Family-Friendly Fundraiser


A delicious competition is on the menu for the SECU Family House, and things are already heating up between competitors. “The competition was clearly rigged last year,” said Peter Juran, attorney at Blanco Tackabery. “It’s ‘game on’ this year, and we’re going to drain the swamp! And speaking of swamps, what was that dish Cameron Kent made, which ‘won’? BRING IT ON, CAMERON!”

The second annual Men Who Cook competition showcases the talents of local male celebrity chefs and their teams, as the Family House hosts its popular fundraiser on March 18th at Bridger Field House. About 325 partygoers will taste savory samples crafted by the chefs and vote for their favorites through tips that are donated to Family House. Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, netting more than $100,000.

“This is such an exciting event, bringing families together over food, and truly represents the togetherness, hospitality, and love we provide at the Family House,” said Kathy Carr, Executive Director of SECU Family House. The 45-room Family House is an alternative to a hospital waiting room or an expensive hotel for people coming to Winston-Salem for out-of-town medical care. The staff provides friendship, support, and affordable accommodations for adult patients and caregivers who have been referred by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center or Hospice and Palliative CareCenter.

“The kitchen is definitely the heart of our homes and meal preparation is such a large part of the services that Family House provides its guests,” said Carr. “We couldn’t have found a better way to celebrate our mission of providing assistance to adult patients and caregivers who are going through difficult health crises.”

The Family House has hosted folks from 91 North Carolina counties and 37 states and has served more than 20,000 overnight guests since opening in 2011. Guests stay for a nominal overnight fee, and if they are unable to pay, a Family House assistance fund is available, thanks to donations and events like Men Who Cook.

“Even though we are amateur chefs, we certainly enjoy cooking and are honored to share our love of food to raise money for Family House,” said Kevin Kampman, Winston-Salem Journal Publisher, and event Co-chair, along with his wife, Deb. “You truly cannot beat the intensity and fun we whip up at this event, facing off against more than 20 chefs. We can certainly relate to the fiery cooking competitions on television.”

Men Who Cook chefs create their own recipes, from appetizers to desserts, and are allowed a sous chef for assistance during the evening. Four judges’ prizes and a people’s choice will be awarded to winning chefs. Early online voting will also be available.

Taste testers can expect some delectable dishes similar to tastings last year, which included home-cured bacon with mac and cheese, spicy paella, sweet potato biscuits with ham, and spicy apricot-glazed chicken with jicama ginger slaw.

Other amateur chefs include Wake Forest Football coach Dave Clawson and Mayor Allen Joines, along with community and business leaders, such as Steve Motew, Eric Tomlinson, Will Goodson, Michael Lalor, Bob Leak, Stan Morgan, Richard McKellogg, and Brice O’Brien.

“Last year’s attendees really enjoyed the competition between the men at this event, the incredible food and the uniqueness of the event in our community,” said Lynn Dixson, Men Who Cook attendee and Family House volunteer. “It showcases our commitment to welcome visitors to our community, as well as spotlighting a side of these men that most of us don’t get a chance to see, like Wake Coach Dave Clawson cooking for me…that’s pretty amazing!”

Wooden Spoon sponsorships are available for $250, which includes two reservations and a listing in the souvenir program. Event reservations are $55 for one, or two for $105. Contact Ainsley Darnell at the SECU Family House at 336-793-2822, or