Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago

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2014 Diabetes Cook Off



In observance of National Diabetes Month, The Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago (aka the South Side Diabetes Project) announces its 3rd Annual Diabetes Cook Off Contest on Saturday November 15, 2014 at the Washburne Culinary Institute located at 740 West 63rd St, Building U, on the South Side of Chicago. The cook off is an opportunity for ordinary cooks to compete and share their best diabetes-friendly, healthy recipe and to demonstrate that healthy, diabetes-friendly food can be delicious, affordable, and enjoyed by the entire family. Recipes in four categories, side dish, entrée, dessert, and snack, will be judged for a grand prize of $500 cash and many other great prizes!

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Dishes will be judged live by a panel of experts, including:

  • Head Judge – Chef Brian Alston
  • Chef David Blackmon
  • Sheila Harmon, APN, CDE
  • Julia Hudson
  • Cliff Kelley
  • Chef Cordell McGary
  • Chef Matthias Merges
  • Shon Tomlin

The 3rd Annual Diabetes Cook Off will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the Washburne Culinary Institute located at 740 West 63rd St, Building U, on the South Side of Chicago. Twelve amateur cooks will compete for a $500 Grand Prize, and many other great prizes. We’ve invited experts in health, community, and cooking to judge the dishes. Read more about our panel of experts below and be sure to see them pick the winner live! This is a free and family-friendly event, open to the public at 12:30 PM.





Head Judge – Chef Brian Alston

Owner, Xclusive Catering

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Chef Brian Alston is the owner of Xclusive Catering and has over 25 years of cooking experience. He is active with many non-profit organizations throughout the city, performing healthy cooking demos for the American Diabetes Expo and American Heart Association. His reputation has led him to cook for many celebrities, such as Jennifer Hudson, Michael Jordan, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Chef David Blackmon

Program Coordinator, Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Agriculture Science Education Programs, Chicago Public Schools

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Children plus nutrition equals positive educational value. This is the recipe for success that Fuels Chef David Blackmon. He has over 25 years of experience as a professional chef along with many years of restaurant experience. Chef Blackmon is currently the Career Technical Education Program Coordinator of the Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Agriculture Science Education Programs in Chicago Public Schools.

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Sheila Harmon, APN, CDE

Regional Manager, Access Community Health Network

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Sheila Harmon has over 20 years of healthcare experience. She is currently a Regional Operations Manager for Access Community Health Network and a board member for the Chicago Chapter of the ADA. As a nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator, she empowers patients across Chicago with the knowledge to know how to prevent and control diabetes. Her motto is: Take Control of Diabetes, Before It Takes Control of You – You are EMPOWERED.

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Julia Hudson

Founder, Julian D. King Gift Foundation

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Julia Hudson is a philanthropist and founder of the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, a charitable organization named in honor of her son, Julian King. She actively supports the Chicago community through her foundation, providing stability and positive experiences for children and families of all backgrounds. As a woman living with diabetes, Julia understands the importance of healthy nutrition in the management of the disease.

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Cliff Kelley

Radio Host, WVON AM 1690

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Cliff Kelley of radio station WVON (AM 1690) has been the host of WVON’s popular morning-drive talk show “The Cliff Kelley Show” for more than seven years, and also hosts V103FM Sunday mornings. He brings a wealth of knowledge on local, national and international affairs to his audience. A Chicago native and attorney, Kelley has been active in Chicago’s political arena for more than 30 years.

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Chef Cordell McGary

Founder, Eating Well with Chef Cordell

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Chef Cordell McGary is a Washburne Culinary Institute Alumnus and the founder of Eating Well with Chef Cordell. As a private chef, instructor, consultant, public speaker and freelance writer, Chef Cordell & his team are focused on improving the health of consumers through education, access to healthy and fresh foods, and community service.

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Chef Matthias Merges

Founder, Pilot Light

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Matthias Merges is the award winning Executive Chef of Yusho and Billie Sunday, in Logan Square, and A10, in Hyde Park. Matthias has spent most of two decades cooking and living in Chicago, most notably as the Executive Chef at Charlie Trotters for the past 14 years. He is a founder and the president of the board of Pilot Light, a nonprofit organization working in Chicago schools to empower children with healthy relationships with food.

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Chon Tomlin

Community Relations, Save-A-Lot

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Chon Tomlin oversees Corporate Communications and Community relations for Save-A-Lot food stores, a leading hard-discount grocery chain. With more than 15 years of experience representing major national brands, Chon has acquired a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience in community-based program development.

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This event will be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC at 12:30 pm. Hope to see you there!

Please see our Facebook Event Page for more information!

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