A recap of my evening with Carla Hall, Gail Simmons and Cat Cora at the Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably noticed that I recently had a major fan girl moment when I spent the evening with Gail Simmons, Carla Hall and Cat Cora. They were here in Grand Rapids just 10 minutes from my house to participate in the Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff to raise money for Meijer Simply Give which supports hundreds of local shelters and food banks.
I’m pretty sure my cheeks still hurt from grinning so hard. SO HARD. I just couldn’t help myself, these are my people and I felt like I was floating on cloud 9 the entire night.
The event was based around a friendly competition where each chef created three courses: an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. All three women worked at their station so that they could chat with guests, describe their dishes and accept photo opps.
If you know me personally, you might know that I am mildly obsessed with ABC’s The Chew. I’ve been DVR’ing the show every day since it started airing a few years ago. My dream in life is to meet and cook with Chef Michael Symon but that’s another story. Carla Hall is a co-host on the show and I’ve been a huge fan of hers since she won Top Chef many moons ago.
This woman is the real deal, my friends. When I approached her for a photograph I assumed she would make a few pleasantries and move back to the station or her husband who was also in attendance. WRONG! Carla kept chatting with me as though we were long lost friends. She is authentic, passionate, genuine and gracious. I wanted to put her in my pocket and keep her forever.
The next chef I met was the legendary Cat Cora who you may recognize from Food Network’s Iron Chef. In fact, she was the FIRST female to be crowned the title! This woman is royalty in the cooking world and it was an honor to be in her presence.
The final station I visited was run by the beautiful Gail Simmons who has been a judge on Top Chef since 2006. Can we discuss her dress? Those are radishes, my friends. Radishes!! Love.
The first question I asked Gail was the age of her baby girl. Immediately, her eyes opened wide with joy. As it turns out, her baby is 8 months old – the same age as my youngest.
Immediately we bonded over the ups and downs of being a busy working woman, juggling travel, work/life balance, etc. Gail said, “This is hard work! We need to stick together!” She also made me feel like a million bucks when she raved about how good I look “as though nothing ever happened!” I could have kissed her.
While I was flipping out having my fan girl moments throughout the museum, my dear friend and local blogging buddy Jill was cool as a cucumber. Is she not the cutest? I heart her.
Curious who won? Carla Hall! HOOTIE HOO!!! In fact, my husband and I BOTH voted for her which is pretty impressive considering she made Mexican Meatloaf with Spicy Slaw and my husband can’t stand Mexican food. He had 3 servings that night… it was out of this world. ;-)
A huge thank you to Meijer for inviting me to attend this incredible evening I won’t soon forget!
Disclosure: I have not been compensated to write this post but I did receive two complimentary tickets to attend the event. As always, all thoughts are 100% my own.