Steel Chef Challenge Raises More Than $472,000, Making it Largest Single Fundraiser in NH Food Bank History

Food Network Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine hosted a live cooking competition, drawing more than 700 people to the Radisson Hotel Manchester

Manchester, NH ─ In what was the largest single fundraiser in New Hampshire Food Bank history, the second annual Steel Chef Challenge raised more than $472,000 in cash and in-kind donations to support the Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire. Food Network celebrity chef Robert Irvine hosted the Steel Chef Challenge, a partnership with lead sponsors Comcast and Sea Cuisine. During the event, which took place Monday, March 6, at the Radisson Hotel Manchester, Irvine emceed a timed cooking competition with four competing New Hampshire chefs, as well as a live auction and grand dining experience. The sold-out event drew more than 700 people.

“The New Hampshire Food Bank is extremely grateful for this generous support from guests, sponsors, volunteers, and Robert Irvine and his team,” said Eileen Liponis, executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. “Raising more than $472,000, the Steel Chef Challenge was the largest fundraiser in the New Hampshire Food Bank’s history, and we look forward to utilizing this tremendous support in our efforts to eliminate hunger in New Hampshire.”

During the Steel Chef Challenge, competing chefs were tasked with making a dish in 20 minutes featuring duck, salmon and Captain Crunch cereal. A panel of judges crowned Anthony Bomba from Lago in Meredith of the Common Man Family of Restaurants, the winner of this year’s Steel Chef Challenge. Along with Bomba, competing chefs included Bryan Leary from the Inn at Pleasant Lake in New London, Evan Hennessey from Stages at One Washington in Dover and Jason Seavey from Havenwood Heritage Heights in Concord. Judges included WMUR News Anchor Erin Fehlau, Craig Pierce of Martignetti Companies of Northern New England, and Michael T. Buckley, chef and owner of Michael Timothy’s Dining Group.

“The partnership between Comcast and New Hampshire Food Bank is longstanding and strong, and we have been honored to sponsor the Steel Chef Challenge since its inception,” said Ed Gallagher, Comcast senior vice president and general manager of sales and New Hampshire Food Bank advisory board member. “I’m proud to say our involvement with the Food Bank has deep roots, from the support of our Comcast Cares Day projects and employees who routinely volunteer their time, to the fresh food we deliver to the organization from our own community garden in Manchester.”

In contributing to the success of the fundraiser, Comcast was instrumental in enlisting Robert Irvine, a partner for Comcast Business.

“The New Hampshire Food Bank continues to do great work in the community by making sure local families know where their next meal is coming from,” Chef Irvine said. “I have a great passion for helping others and truly enjoyed getting the chance to collaborate once again.”

Irvine has more than 25 years of experience in the culinary profession. In Restaurant: Impossible, he saved struggling restaurants from across the country by assessing and overhauling the restaurant’s weakest spots. Irvine was previously the host of Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible and Worst Cooks in America. Irvine has also written two cookbooks and one healthy living book, and recently launched a conflict resolution talk show on the CW Television Network called The Robert Irvine Show.

“High Liner Foods, with our leading brand Sea Cuisine, was excited to be the presenting sponsor of the New Hampshire Food Bank’s signature Steel Chef Challenge,” said Jeff Tahnk, vice president of retail marketing for High Liner Foods. “As a longstanding New Hampshire-based business, High Liner is proud of our partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank and Feeding America to fight hunger in our community.”

The New Hampshire Food Bank, which receives no state or federal funding for food distribution, continues to work to address the growing need in New Hampshire as more than 139,730 New Hampshire residents, including 41,350 children, are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from. During 2016, the New Hampshire Food Bank distributed nearly 13 million pounds of food to its network of more than 400 partners statewide, which marks an increase of 55-percent over the past four years.

For information and to donate, please visit www.nhfoodbank.org.

Photos and Captions:

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Caption: Food Network celebrity chef Robert Irvine emceed the New Hampshire Food Bank’s Steel Chef Challenge, helping the New Hampshire Food Bank raise more than $472,000 for those in need. During the Steel Chef Challenge, four New Hampshire chefs took part in a timed cooking competition before an audience of more than 700 people at the Radisson Hotel Manchester. Pictured here, Irvine engages the crowd while chefs prepare their dishes.

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Caption: The Steel Chef Challenge, which took place earlier this month at the Radisson Hotel Manchester, raised more than $472,000 for the New Hampshire Food Bank, making it the largest single fundraiser in Food Bank history. The event featured a timed cooking competition between four New Hampshire chefs. Food Network celebrity chef Robert Irvine hosted the competition. Pictured here, guests get an aerial view of the cooking action.

About the New Hampshire Food Bank
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, has been working to relieve hunger in the Granite State since 1984.  The New Hampshire Food Bank receives no federal or state funding for food distribution.  In 2016, as the state’s only Food Bank, the New Hampshire Food Bank efficiently procured and distributed nearly 13 million pounds of food to people in need through more than 400 non-profit registered agencies. Agencies include food pantries, neighborhood centers, low-income housing sites, senior nutrition centers, family crisis centers, hospices, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after school programs, and day care centers. For more information about the New Hampshire Food Bank, please visit www.nhfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Contact Information:
Nancy Mellitt
New Hampshire Food Bank
603.669.9725 x129
nmellitt@nhfoodbank.org

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