New cooks, returning chefs whet appetites, throw down challenges in Ninth Annual ‘Men Who Cook’ culinary competition

February 22

JOLIET – The pressure is on for 50 local amateur chefs who are planning menus and plotting strategies for the Ninth Annual “Men Who Cook” culinary competition to benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center.

New cooks and returning favorite chefs will whet the crowd’s appetites with bite-sized morsels of their favorite dishes. Come hungry and be prepared to sample the widest variety of entrees, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts in the most anticipated cooking contest in Will County.

“Men Who Cook” is from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at the Pipefitters Training Center off I-80 at 10850 187th Street in Mokena.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who established the Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995, invites the public to taste the home-cooked dishes offered by our local amateur chefs. After sampling the fine cuisine, guests will be asked to vote for their favorite dishes in each of four categories: appetizers; side dishes; entrées; and desserts. 

Returning Chef Bob Fox of Omega Plumbing is fine-tuning his recipe for this year’s contest in the hopes of winning his category. Last year, Fox served guests Cuban Arroz Con Pollo, or Cuban Chicken and Rice. This year, he said he’s upping his game by preparing Beef Medallions in a Beer Reduction Demi-Glace.

“It’s a phenomenal experience,” Fox said. “Obviously it’s for a very good cause, but it’s also a great time. It’s fast-paced on both the cooking and serving sides. And it’s a lot of fun to see so many happy faces.”

Frankfort Police Chief John Burica and his “Men Who Cook” team of Frankfort detectives and officers welcome all challenges. They are bringing back to the table their award-winning Smoked Beef Brisket, which has taken first place in the entrée category twice in past years. 

“It’s the detectives’ recipe, and they do a great job with it,” Chief Burica said. “Cooking starts the day before the event. It takes eight to 10 hours of smoking the beef overnight. They put a lot of work into getting ready.”

While the chief and his team enjoy the competition, they know the money raised helps the Children’s Advocacy Center protect and heal sexually abused children and hold their abusers accountable. Frankfort police have worked with the Children’s Advocacy Center on more than 30 investigations of child sexual abuse since 2009.

Last year’s “Men Who Cook” drew 750 attendees and raised more than $76,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center.

The cost for “Men Who Cook” is $40 per person; $75 per couple. The price is $10 for children between 6 and 12; kids 5 and under can attend for free. And of course, there’s no need to dress up for this casual, fun and affordable event.

“Our talented chefs are raising the stakes in what’s going to be the toughest competition in ‘Men Who Cook’ history,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “We can never guess who will go home with the winning ribbons. But we know for certain our guests won’t leave hungry after sampling the many fine dishes that will be offered that evening.”

Choosing your favorite chefs and bidding on silent auction items this year will be faster and easier than ever before as all votes will be submitted and tabulated on mobile phones or other electronic devices. 

WJOL’s Lynne, Mary and Natalie will return to the “Men Who Cook” Red Carpet to welcome guests. Therapy dogs Jackson and Kiwi, both of whom comfort the victims of abuse at the Children’s Advocacy Center’s through the Paws 4 Kids program, will have their own table. And as always, there will be fun for youngsters at the “Men Who Cook” Kids Corner.

State’s Attorney Glasgow established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995 to improve the investigation of child sexual abuse cases. The center’s professionally trained and compassionate staff performs child-sensitive interviews when there are allegations of sexual or severe physical abuse. Children’s recorded statements have been used in the successful prosecution of thousands of predators.

The State’s Attorney founded the center as a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization so it will not impact taxpayers. As a result, the center relies on grants, foundations and fundraisers like “Men Who Cook” to fulfill its important mission.

Tickets for “Men Who Cook” are available online at or they can be purchased at the door. For additional information, call the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565. Or visit on the Web at or on Facebook at

Major sponsors for this year’s “Men Who Cook” are: D Construction, Harrah’s Joliet, Waste Management and CITGO Lemont Refinery. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center is a United Way partner agency.