OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra’s popular 25 Men Who Can Cook event returns to Bridge View Center June 10, celebrating its 12th anniversary.

Billed as the “tastiest 2-hours” in Ottumwa, the event typically draws over 400 attendees who savor the culinary delights the chefs have prepared and are given the opportunity to vote in the People’s Choice Award balloting. The culinary abilities displayed are amazing.

Delicacies you may sample include pre-dining offerings of surf and turf fajitas, meaty mozzarella arancini, Cuban black beans and rice, hobnob kebobs, Bloody Mary chile and shrimp boulettes.

Entrée offerings are gua boa and sake lychee mocktails, pork-splosion, brisket tacos w/corn salsa, Hawaiian-inspired ahi tuna poke bowls, East Asian pork tacos, sausage stuffer jalapenos, duck poutine and Mediterranean stuffed pork loins.

Dessert offerings include chocolate surprise tarts, s’mollies, taste of summer lemon tart and black forest gateau.

Chefs competing in the Hobby Chef Division include Brandon Rafael Alvarado (IHCC Culinary Arts Club), Wilbert Boudreaux, (the Cajun Chef), Nathan Chaney (John Deere Ottumwa Works), Ellis Codjoe (Ottumwa Radio), Terry Dejong (Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra), Taylor Grimm (South Hy-Vee), Derek Hedgecock (DRH Services), Nathan Miller (Indian Hills Community College) Alex Morley (Edward Jones), Sheriff Don Phillips (Wapello County Sheriff’s Department) Brian Quinn (Mercy Medical Clinic, John Richards (Retired Educator), Mark Roe (Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress) and Corwin Williams.

Professional chefs include Chef Joey Sanders (Lucile’s Steaks & Spirits in Centerville), Chef Jose Lopez (Cerro Grande Meat Market), Chef David Keasling (Godfrey’s Ale House), and Chef Daniel Wichhart (Bridge View Center).

In the event, chefs will again be competing in two divisions — Hobby Chef and Professional Chefs. Winning chefs in each division will be selected via people’s choice and judging. Judges for the event to date include Chris Hickey (multiple 25 Men winner), Mary Kivlahan (Indian Hills Culinary Arts, retired), Dar Fish (multiple 25 Men winner), and Jeremy Weller (multiple 25 Men Winner).

A crowd favorite is the silent auction featuring food-related Items. Early listings include:

— An ultimate dining experience from Bridge View Center; A multi-course dinner for eight served with wine to tantalize your taste buds

— A multi-course dinner for up to eight at Greiner Century Family Farms in Davis County, featuring certified Hereford beef T-bone steaks with all the trimmings, paired with wine, and including a tour of the farm sampling fresh apple cider, special drinks, and home-brewed beer by the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra Guild, sponsored by Fareway Meat & Grocery

— A party of eight will join hosts David and Dennis at Simmons House located in Ottumwa’s Historic Fifth Street Bluff District for dinner. Enjoy an aperitif and appetizers in the Grand Hall, a three-course dinner in the dining room paired with wine from the private cellar, and a digestif in the Library, all the while being serenaded by the 2015 Steinway piano

— A meat bundle from Fareway Meat and Grocery of Ottumwa with four-each Top-of-Iowa steaks, butterfly pork chops, ribeye steaks, gourmet beef patties, trimmed chicken breast halves, New York strip steaks and boneless smoked chops.

— A select basket from Edd the Florist including Bloody Mary dip and drink mix, pickled asparagus, spicy chipotle olives, bread and butter pickles, dilled green beans, spicy pickled quail eggs, and jalapeno stuffed olives (all of which are available at Edd the Florist).

Adult advance tickets are $20 and are available at Bridge View Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as online at Tickets are also available from our participating chefs, and Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra board members.

Tickets at the door will be $25, while children’s tickets (ages 6–12, accompanied by an adult) will be available at the door for $5. Doors open to the public at 11 a.m. and the event runs until 1 p.m. Profits from this event assist the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra with expenses in providing six concerts per year in Ottumwa.


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