25 Men Who Can Cook Returns January 18

They’re Back!  The Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra’s popular 25 Men Who Can Cook event returns to Bridge View Center on Saturday, January 18.  Billed as the “tastiest 2-hours” in Ottumwa, the event typically draws 500+ who savor the culinary delights the chefs have prepared and are given the opportunity to vote in the People’s Choice award balloting.


Among this year’s offerings you may sample Jamaican Me Curry Chicken, Louisiana Bourbon Bread Pudding, Taylor’s Award Winning Chile, Eggs di Shevele, Chocolate Ravioli, Cheeseburger Soup, Banana Split Cheesecake, Catfish & Coleslaw, Sweet n Heat Smoked Porkloin Slider w/macaroni salad, Better than Reece’s, African Peanut Soup,  Octoberfest in a Bite, Tiramisu, Chocolate Bavarian Torte, Pan Fried Shrimp Cakes, Pumpkin Praline Cake, Blackened Shrimp, Pork Ham, Red Velvet Dream Cake, The Fusion, Banana Split Cheesecake, Bite Sized Beef Wellington, Sweet Rubbed Smoked Tenderloin, Slow Cooked Sirloin in bone marrow gravy w/mushroom risotto, a Deconstructed Rueben Sandwich, Smoked Bacon Wrapped Chicken w/mustard sauce, and Peach-Harbanero Pork Tacos. You will be amazed at the culinary abilities demonstrated by these guys!


South Ottumwa Savings Bank is the Gold Sponsor for this event, while  John Deere Ottumwa Works, NOEL Insurance and Indian Hills Community College are Silver Sponsors; Ottumwa Regional Health Center is a Bronze Sponsor.


The 2020 event is the 9th annual for the Symphony.  Chefs will be competing in 2 Divisions – Hobby Chef and Professional Chef.  First, second and third place awards will be presented in People’s Choice category in each division; while Best Entrée, Best Dessert, and Best Pre-dining categories will be awarded in the Hobby Chef Division, and first, second and third place will be awarded for Outstanding Dish in the Professional Chef Division.  Judges for the 2020 event include Mark Fisher,  Fletcher Person, and Chris Hickey in the Hobby Chef Division; while Gordon Rader, Mary Kivlahan, and Dar Fish will judge the Professional Division.


Chefs competing this year in the Hobby Chef Division include Jamarco Clark (Indian Hills Community College), Terry Glick (Hy-Vee, Albia), Taylor Grimm (South Hy-Vee),  Ron Groenendyk (Iowa Prairie Rose Dutch Cookers), Derek Hedgecock (Ottumwa Community Children’s Playhouse), David Howard (Ottumwa Regional Health Center), John Kearney (Buckeye Partners), Jeff Leonard (Grace Ottumwa), Mark Lewis (John Deere Ottumwa Works), Jessie Mattingly (The Catfish Place, Arbela, MO), Nathan Miller (Indian Hills Community College), Alex Morley (Edward Jones), Mike Potts (Wayne County Hospital), Brian Quinn (Mercy Medical Clinic), John Richards (Retired Educator), Marc Roe (Tenco), Rick Slaymaker (BNSF), and Bill Ward (Retired Barber).


Professional Chefs competing include Chef Marshall Bohlmann (Independent), Chef Michael Ludwig (Hotel Ottumwa), Chef Bob Newell (Bridge View Center), Chef Bruce Nord (The Stockyard Steak & Chop House), Chef Thomas Roberson (Appanoose Rapids); Chef Reynaldo Royval (Burritos Los Roy), ChefBlaine Rupe (Blaine’s Bagels), and Chef Frank Tafta (Hearthstone, A ministry of Wesley Life – Pella).


And while you are savoring our chef’s delicacies, check out the “Culinary-Theme Silent Auction” including a Chef’s Table for 8 prepared by Chef Bob Newell in the Bridge View Center kitchen, a 100 piece meat bundle from Fareway of Ottumwa, a dinner for 6 at the Knights of Columbus Hall Steak and Fish Fry,  a 6-quart  Instant Pot  Duo 60 321 Electric Pressure Cooker, and a classic jar of old fashioned pickled bologna!


Adult advance tickets are $15 and are on sale at Bridge View Center, from our participating chefs, and Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra board members; adult tickets at the door are $20, while children’s tickets (ages 5 – 12, accompanied by an adult) will be available at the door for $5.  Doors 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!