25 Men Who Can Cook Is Back

OTTUMWA – The Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra’s popular 25 Men Who Can Cook event returns to Bridge View Center on Saturday, January 19.  Billed as the “tastiest 2-hours” in Ottumwa, the event typically draws 500+ locals who savor the culinary delights the chefs have prepared and then are given the opportunity to vote in the People’s Choice award balloting.


Among this year’s offerings you can sample Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri sauce, Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffles, Chili Lime Wings with Jalapeno Cilantro Aioli, Chicken Mofongo, Sweet St. Louis Special, Crème Brulee, Healthy Chocolate Avocado Mousse, Polynesian BBQ Short Ribs, Bacca Panna Cotta, Porkie Roll, Shredded Braised Short Rib on a Southwest Corn Cake, Greek Nostimo Bites, selected Pella Chocolates, BLT Devil Eggs, Cuban Sandwich with coleslaw, J’s Jazzed Up Pasta Salad, Graham Cracker Bavarian, Squeeze Bean, Sachertorte, Smoked Tenderloin with Horse Radish Sauce, Grilled Chicken Salad, Aztec Pillows with Drinking Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon Bacon Bites, Iowa’s Thunder Balls, & Pork Shanks.  You will be amazed at the abilities demonstrated by these 25 Men!


South Ottumwa Savings Bank is the Gold Sponsor for this event, while NOEL Insurance and John Deere Ottumwa Works are Silver Sponsors.


The 2019 event is the 8th annual for the Symphony.  New this year, our chefs will be competing in 2 Divisions – Hobby Chef and Professional Chefs.  First, second and third awards are presented in People’s Choice category in each division; in addition, Best Entrée, Best Dessert, and Best Pre-dining categories will be awarded in the Hobby Chef Division, selected by a team of judges.  Judges for the 2019 event include Mark Fisher, Mary Kivlahan, Fletcher Person, and Chris Hickey.


2018 25 Men Who Can Cook competition


Chefs competing this year in the Hobby Chef Division include Jeff Brannen (physician), Jamarco Clark (Indian Hills Community College), Taylor Grimm (South Hy-Vee),  Derek Hedgecock (Mobile Locksmith), David Howard (Ottumwa Regional Health Center), John Kearney (Buckeye Partners), Joe Milledge (KIIC Thunder Country), Alex Morley (Edward Jones), Richard Palen (Fareway Ottumwa) Michael Potts (Wayne County Hospital), Brian Quinn (Mercy Medical Clinic), Brian Quinn (Mercy Medical Center), Josh Reynolds (Ottumwa Fire Department); John Richards (Retired Educator), Marc Roe (Tenco), Rick Slaymaker (Sinclair Tractor), Bill Ward (Retired Barber), and  Jeremy Weller (D & D Bail Bonds).


Professional Chefs competing include Marshall Bohlman (Independent), Chef Michael Ludwig (Hotel Ottumwa), Chef Bob Newell (Bridge View Center), Chef Thomas Roberson (Appanoose Rapids); Reynaldo Royval (Burritos Los Roy @ Market-on-Main; Blaine Rupe (Blaine’s Bagels), Chef Frank Tafta (Tassel Ridge Winery), and Chuck Van Veen (Van Veen Chocolate Company) in Pella.


Adult advance tickets are $12.50 and are on sale at Bridge View Center and from our participating chefs; adult tickets at the door are $15, while children’s tickets (ages 5 – 12) are $5 at the door only.  Door’s open to the public at 11:00 AM and the event runs until 1:00 PM.  Profits from this event assist the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra with expenses in providing 5 concerts per year in Ottumwa!