December 15, 2016
Made famous from Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” celebrity chef Brian Duffy helped announce the winners of the Philly Art & Food 2016 “Cooks Who Care” competition, which left few hungry – and sober – Wednesday night in Center City.
For their second annual event, the makers behind Philly Art & Food 2016 held it at Coda Nightclub, where more than a dozen chefs put forth their best efforts in competing for charity money to go towards a worthy cause. This year, the recipient was Taller Puertorriqueño, a Latino arts organization, based out of North Philadelphia, that works to create free safe space for Philly’s youth in the form of art programs, and where kids can go to express pride in their Latin roots.
Taller Puertorriqueño is poised to double its size in North Philly, thanks to the donations received Wednesday night.
"By organizing the food industry and business community, we seek to provide a unique and fun way to connect them more deeply to their community,” said Cooks Who Care founder Maria Campbell.
Tony Mendez works with Taller Puertorriqueño’s after-school programs and brought with him a group of friends that performed Bomba y Plena, a traditional Puerto Rican dance – as well as the equivalent to a Puerto Rican Christmas carol –to Wednesday night’s event.
“This culture goes back about 500 years. Plena – about 200 years – and, there was one point where nobody was doing it," he said
"We’re just doing our best to teach our youth about our culture.”
Duffy, along with a panel of service industry and media judges, were charged with making the winning selections.
“We are a growing network of chefs, food industry lovers, and art supporters who are trying to showcase our chefs as well as impact champions for low-impact communities,” said the night’s host, Chad Durkin, pastry chef at Center City's Carlo's Bakery.
“Tonight, we gather here to celebrate an organization that has been working to help the youth of North Philadelphia for over 40 years.”
As for night’s winners – The Farm & Fisherman took home People’s Choice Award for food; Brigantessa won the award for most artistic table; Coa Catering won for most savory dish and Vedge won for best pastry.