ICE students smile in a lab kitchen

ICE LA Students Cook Competitively For Charity

Friends In Deed’s first Cooking for a Cause event was a huge success

On a warm summer night in late June, students at the Institute of Culinary Education Los Angeles were anything but relaxed. They hustled, cooking tirelessly as they prepared gourmet-quality meals from basic pantry ingredients — all in the name of charity.

On June 23, ICE LA partnered with local community services organization Friends In Deed for the organization’s first-ever Cooking for a Cause fundraising event.

ICE students smile in a lab kitchen
ICE students preparing to start cooking for a cause. Courtesy: Friends In Deed

The event, which was modeled after popular competitive cooking TV shows, featured six teams comprised of two ICE students each. Each team had exactly one hour to create an entrée and either a dessert or appetizer from pre-determined mystery ingredients. Those ingredients just happened to be everything from Friends In Deed food pantry’s weekly grocery distribution bags.

An assortment of food items sit on a wooden table
The contents of the mystery ingredient bag.

Armed with ingredients like canned baked beans, crunchy peanut butter and green apples, the ICE student teams got to work. At the end of the hour, each of their dishes was tasted by the guest chef judges: Chef Onil Chibás of Deluxe 1717 and Chef Thomas Tilaka Kalb of Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery. The judges made their final determinations based on each dish’s taste, technical skill, presentation and creativity.

In the end, though each of the student teams produced incredible food under a huge amount of pressure, only one team could claim the winning title. That team was Demi Nicholson and Taylor Duncan, who made a pork and chickpea stew with roasted cauliflower and a sweet potato purée for their entrée and an apple crumble bread pudding for their dessert.

Two ICE students hug
Demi and Taylor after it was announced that they had won the competition. Courtesy: Friends In Deed

The event was well attended by Friends In Deed’s guests and ICE staff and faculty members alike. Friends In Deed’s Senior Director of Development Merria Velasco worked with ICE LA’s Director of Education Herve Guillard to plan the event. She was very pleased with how everything turned out.

“Cooking for a Cause at the Institute of Culinary Education truly was above and beyond our event expectations,” Ms. Velasco says. “The students were incredibly prepared and professional throughout the competition and the local chef judges were impressed from the get-go.”

A line of ICE students stands in a kitchen
All of the students who participated in Cooking for a Cause. Courtesy: Friends In Deed

According to Ms. Velasco, Cooking for Cause raised over $100,000 of funding for Friends In Deed’s programs. 

Congratulations to all of the competitors and to Friends In Deed on a hugely successful (and fun) event! We cannot wait to see what next year’s competition has in store.

Watch the entire livestream of the event below.

About Friends In Deed: 

Friends In Deed, a social services agency founded in Pasadena in 1894, focuses on reducing and preventing homelessness and alleviating the effects of poverty for the community’s most vulnerable citizens. Funds raised during the Cooking for a Cause event support its programs, including Food Pantry, The Women’s Room (a day shelter for homeless and at-risk women), Street Outreach and Housing, Bad Weather Supplies and Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance. Friends In Deed is committed to providing compassion, connection and dignity for all clients experiencing times in their lives when they need assistance most.

Add new comment