Cooks for Books

Live chefs … local celebrities … and a community focused on boosting education.

The nonprofit Garner Educational Foundation will hold its second annual Cooks for Books fundraiser on Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at Garner TV & Appliance on US 70 West, offering a star-studded night of fun and fine cuisine.

“Celebrity chef Elise Johnson, the 2011 Cooks for Books champion and star of Cooking With Elise, and other noted chefs will work in Garner TV’s fabulous show kitchens,” said event chair Amy White. “We’ll match the chefs with local media personalities Ken Smith and Elizabeth Gardner of WRAL-TV, ABC 11’s Barbara Gibbs and Don ‘Big Weather’ Swenneker, and NBC 17’s Sharon Delaney and Bill Reh.

“Those who attend not only get to enjoy the cooking competition, but also get to engage with — and eat with — the celebrity hosts. And the best part is that the money goes to the Garner Educational Foundation!”

Judges reprising their roles from last year are Jeffrey Bane of the N.C. Chefs Academy, Jeff Hadley of the Wake Tech School of Culinary Arts, and Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams.

Three live kitchens will be in operation at Garner TV, with competition between the three networks on a signature entrée of their choice. Attendees will have the chance to sample and vote on the entrees, as well as enjoy other complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Each popular vote for an entrée will cost $1 and attendees may vote as many times as they’d like. Awards will be presented for the popular vote and an official judges’ vote coordinated by the N.C. Chefs Academy.

Also, businesses, non-profits, schools and individuals may submit a signature dessert for judging in the Garner: It’s a Sweet Place to Be Dessert Challenge. Entry fee is $25.

Garner Educational Foundation, begun in 1990, serves all 11 Garner area public schools. Cooks for Books, GEF’s only fundraiser of the year, drew more than 350 people in 2011 and raised $15,000, monies earmarked for literacy enrichment programs.

“Literacy is crucial to success in school and life,” said GEF Executive Director Mary Lib Perry. “We are helping children gain the tools and knowledge that will empower them long after they have graduated from our schools.”

Tickets for Cooks for Books are $25 or two for $40; a VIP pass including one-hour exclusive access to the chefs and celebrities is $40. Tickets are available at Garner TV & Appliance, the Garner Chamber of Commerce, Bingham Law Office, or at the door.

For more information, contact Amy White at or (919) 201-1211.

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