Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU to host third annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser, Cook-Off for a Cause

The third annual Cook-Off for a Cause, a fundraiser for the Women’s Lighthouse Project (WLP) runs from 6–10 p.m. March 12 at DU’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.

The WLP is a nonprofit advocacy group for women with HIV/AIDS.

Four local chef and celebrity pairs will team up in an Iron Chef-style competition to create a complete meal — appetizer, entrée and dessert — to be judged for taste and creativity. Sunflower Market and Tony’s Market will donate ingredients for the cook-off.

Pairs include: Jamey Fader (Lola) and Lois Melkonian (850 KOA); Brandon Biederman (Steuben’s) and Tracy Register (Miss Colorado International 2010); Ben Davis (Tony’s Market) and Mitch Morrissey (Denver district attorney); and Michael Raymond (University College) and Mark Randall (Denver Nuggets).

In addition to the cook-off, the Lamont School of Music will provide a jazz ensemble for the evening. Attorney Doug Tisdale will act as auctioneer for a silent and live auction, which will feature items such as a guitar autographed by Bruce Springsteen and restaurant gift certificates.

WLP began planning the Cook-Off in September, when executive director and founder Shannon Behning and her team recruited local celebrities and obtained items for the auction. They hired interns from University College to help with marketing and public relations.

According to Behning, this year’s fundraising goal is $15,000 to 20,000. The last cook-off raised nearly $10,000 in 2008 for World AIDS Day, but holiday travel plans made the event difficult to organize and attend. The WLP postponed the next event until this spring.

“March 10 happens to be National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day, and we were lucky to find a place to hold the event on a Friday night,” Behning says.

The organization hopes to sell 150 tickets, which can be purchased at the door or on the WLP Web site. Tickets cost $75, which includes parking, two free drinks, a cash bar and appetizers. Discounted tickets may be purchased with a DU ID for $35.


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