Chefs Compete to Benefit Napa Food Programs

Each year Oxbow Public Market’s “Fork It Over” benefit and St. Helena’s “Hands Across The Valley” fundraiser raise money for the Napa Valley Food Bank and other local safety-net food programs such as Meals on Wheels.

This summer these two events canceled due to Covid-19, and the Napa Valley Food Bank and Meals on Wheels stand to lose approximately $250,000 in funding at a time when the number of families using these programs has nearly tripled due to the pandemic.

In place of these canceled live events, the organizers behind both Fork It Over and Hands Across the Valley are working together to create a new virtual event to help close the funding gap.

On Sunday, Aug. 23, Fork It Over and Hands Across the Valley co-host the first-ever virtual Napa Valley Champions Cook-Off, pitting two acclaimed Napa Valley chefs against each other in a friendly challenge. Both of the participating chefs have won national televised cooking contests, and now North Bay viewers are invited to watch the live-streaming event, which will determine the ultimate champion.

Chef Elizabeth Binder and Chef Chris Kollar—both slated to appear in the showdown—each have experience cooking in front of crowds.

Chef Binder, owner of Hand-Crafted Catering in Napa, helped her team “Beat Bobby Flay” on the popular cooking competition show’s seventh episode of Season 23, which aired on Jan. 26, 2020.

Chef Kollar, recently named Yountville’s 2020 Business Leader of the Year, is best known as the owner of Kollar Chocolates. Chef Kollar was named a “Chopped Champion,” winning a sweet and salty challenge on an episode of Food Network’s “Chopped” that also aired in January of this year.

The upcoming Napa Valley Champions Cook-Off will be held at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia.

Radio personality Liam Mayclem, known as the Foodie Chap on KCBS Radio, will host the streaming competition. Chef Ken Frank (La Toque in Napa), Chef Anita Cartagena (Protéa in Yountville) and Chef Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland) will be on hand to judge the event.

The free Napa Valley Champions Cook-Off fundraiser will stream via Facebook Live, and viewers can donate money throughout the approximately hour-long program to support The Napa Valley Food Bank and Meals on Wheels. Donations received during the event will be eligible to win $500 in OxBucks, redeemable at any Oxbow Public Market merchant.

The Napa Valley Champions Cook-Off streams online Sunday, Aug. 23, at 2pm. Free.
Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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