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13 Nov 2013

Men In Aprons: Philly’s Men Are Cooking…for scholarship funds…

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November 13, 2013 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana in Bear, Delaware, will also return as one of the chefs at this year’s Philly Men are Cookin’ event.
Herbert was the grand prize winning in 2011 of the cable TV show Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker.

By Denise Clay

Christopher Abbott wants to give Philadelphia a little taste of Louisiana.

Abbott, a personal chef who cooks as Chef Kristov and Company, has been working his culinary magic since 2004, giving his clients some of the best gumbo in
the city. Because families are busy and also health conscious these days, his service is a necessary one, he said.

“The average person is usually busy during the day and doesn’t have time to cook,” Abbott said. “Because of this, they wind up eating out a lot, which
causes you to gain weight. We can cook a week’s worth of meals for you either in your kitchen or off-site, and you can give your family a healthy meal.”

Abbott and his signature gumbo will be among the delicacies you can sample as part of the 22nd annual Philly’s Men Are Cooking event, which will be held on
Nov. 16 at the Shops at Liberty Place. About 125 men—some of them professional chefs like Abbott, others home cooks who know their way around a
kitchen—will be serving up appetizers, drinks, desserts and entrees to hungry diners to benefit the Ivy Legacy Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. The
foundation is the charitable arm of the Rho Theta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Santander Bank and Brown’s Super Store, Inc. are the sponsors for this year’s event.

There used to be a time when “men” and “cooking” weren’t necessarily two words you would put in the same sentence. But according to the website Food, being able to put together a gourmet meal is becoming as important to the American male as knowing the score of last night’s game or being
able to change a car’s oil.

From knowing the best way to grill a steak to knowing what beer or wine goes best with said steak, men have figured out that the best way to their woman’s
heart is, well, through her stomach.

The participants in Philly’s Men Are Cooking have figured that out. In addition to professional chefs like Abbott, the event has been known to attract men
ranging from your child’s math teacher to the neighbor that works for the Streets department, said Shariah Dixon-Turner, co-chair for the event.

About 1,000 people are expected to come to Liberty Place for an evening of dining and dancing, Turner said. It has also helped a lot of young people attend
college and community groups finance projects, she said.

“We have raised over $250,000 since we’ve been doing this,” Turner said. “Last year we awarded $20,000 in scholarships. Our goal is $20,000 every year.”

The two-story shopping plaza is idea for this year’s event because it gives attendees the chance to move through a cornucopia of food ranging from
different types of chili and soups to apple and watermelon martinis. Most of the men prepare their meals prior to coming to the event while some, including
chefs that prepare fried fish, cook on site.

“The kind of food that you can get runs the gamut,” Turner said. “Turkey seems to be a popular food because it’s so close to Thanksgiving. There’s also
been a lot more seafood the past couple of years.”

While there will be some new chefs participating in the event, many are frequent participants. Abbott was introduced to the event after preparing his gumbo
for Radio One talk show host and advertising executive E. Steven Collins, himself a yearly participant in Philly’s Men Are Cooking.


Collins, who died in September, was an informal member of the planning committee and a community member of the Ivy Legacy Foundation board who brought a
lot of good ideas for the event, Turner said. The group plans a tribute to him as part of this year’s event, she said.

Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at the Omega Optical locations in Cheltenham and the Comcast Center, and also on the Ivy Legacy Foundation’s website, You can also register as a chef on the website.

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