Men cook up delicacies for charity
BY HANNAH KOHUT For The Herald-News March 30, 2012 7:26PM
Tom Grotovsky prepares dishes Sunday, March 25, 2012 during the “Men Who Cook” fundraiser in Mokena, IL. | Hannah Kohut~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 14, 2012 1:51AM
MOKENA — On a recent Saturday night, 50 men went to their kitchens and brought out some of their best homemade dishes for the fourth annual Men Who Cook contest.
Put on by the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center to raise funds for its programs to help children who are victims of abuse, all the cooks donated their time, food and skills.
A hall at the Pipefitters Training Center Local 597 in Mokena was packed with hundreds of food enthusiasts waiting to sample the night’s dishes.
Tom Grotovsky has sat on the event’s planning board since the event’s inception and brought a little French fine dining to the evening, with his flambeed beef tenderloins, coated pepper and finished with a cognac glaze and a heavy cream sauce.
It wasn’t hard to miss his station — all you had to do was follow the flames from one of his three saute pans.
“As soon as the doors opened (at 6 p.m.), people jammed in here,” said Grotovsky, of Mokena. “Within the first hour, I’ve already run out of food — that was five beef tenderloins. I’m having some more brought in so I can butcher them right here on the table.”
“This is really a great cause,” Grotovsky said.
Down the aisle from Grotovsky was some real home cooking — the meat even was hunted by the cook.
Chris Deiter, of Joliet, had his homemade deer meatballs and had already run out of his batch of 200 within the first hour.
“This is my second year at the event,” Deiter said. “My dad did it the very first year, and he talked me into it. I’ll do it every time they ask me from now on.”
To offer a little variety for the evening, Neil Patel, 31, of New Lenox, brought a traditional Indian side dish.
“These are samosas, an Indian dish,” Patel said, describing them as a potato cake wrapped in dough and, for this evening, served with a choice of green chili chutney or spicy red chutney.
“You normally make them with pie dough, but I made mine with phyllo dough because of how many I had to make,” Patel said. “I’ve never made it in this volume before, so I had to do prep work the night before.”
Not all the men were savory cooks. Jon Zambrano, 29, of Mokena, brought out his banana-walnut cake with an almond whipped cream frosting. He and his fiancee, Heidi, worked feverishly to keep his table stocked with enough servings.
Sue Bloch, executive director for the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, founded by State’s Attorney James Glasgow in 1995, was thrilled with the turnout.
“We grew out of space once again, so that’s why we’re here at the pipefitters hall,” Bloch said. “They were on board and donated this space. Last year, this event raised $25,000 for the center.
“I don’t know if we could fit any more cooks in there tonight, but maybe next year we’ll go up to 60 cooks. If we run out of space here, we’re in trouble,” Bloch said.