Cooking for a Cause III, the Copper Bell Café's annual charity cook-off, begins on Monday, when state Rep. Rachel Burgin will whip up chicken parmesan.
Burgin begins the line-up of celebrity chefs that are cooking for this year's event on Mondays through July 9 and on Aug. 25.
Her chicken parmesan will be accompanied by Caesar salad and garlic bread for $10. She is cooking for the Brandon Outreach Clinic, a local nonprofit agency that serves hundreds each year who have no health insurance.
"I'm really excited about the great line-up of chefs we have for this year," said Darren Denington, owner of Copper Bell Café, located on Parsons Avenue, across from Brandon Regional Hospital.
"All the proceeds and gratuities from every day there is a celebrity chef go directly to charity," even if someone comes in for breakfast, he said.
"People can order in advance, and we have order forms this year so they can fill it out and fax it over," Denington said.
Order forms can be found at www.copperbellcafe.com. Payment can be made online or at the time of delivery.
On June 18, Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia will cook up Italian lasagna with Caesar salad and garlic bread for $10. Her charity is the Hillsborough Education Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to fill the gap that exists between what school budgets can cover and what is needed to ensure students' academic success.
Jen Holloway, marketing director for Bright House Networks, is up on June 25, preparing and serving tortellini bruschetta, with Caesar salad and garlic bread for $10.
Considering Bright House is a sponsor for this year's Cooking for a Cause III – the company is helping to promote the event – it made sense to invite Holloway to be a celebrity chef, Denington said. She is cooking for Hillsborough Achievement and Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities, resources and advocacy to people with developmental disabilities.
Tammy Bracewell, president of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, returns for the third time as a celebrity chef on July 9.
"Tammy is providing the history for the event, since this is her third time back," Denington said.
Her dish is spaghetti and meatballs with Caesar salad and garlic bread for $10. Bracewell is cooking for the YMCA, which offers scholarships to both children and adults who cannot otherwise afford summer camp or other programs.
Denington made a big catch this year when he convinced Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher to act as celebrity chef on Aug. 25. His menu has yet to be announced.
Boucher is cooking for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk.
"He's a friend of mine and has done some things for my daughter's elementary school, Brooker Elementary, and I'm a big hockey fan," Denington said.
Celebrity chefs will be at the café from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on their designated cooking days, but orders can be placed or picked up any time between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
"We're putting everything we can into the event because all proceeds and gratuities go to the charities," Denington said.
And as always, he is hoping even more money will be raised this year. During the past two years, the event has raised $26,000 for local charities.