Rocket Chef fundraiser brings sizzling, seasoned culinary competition back to Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A unique charity event is returning to Huntsville this summer on Monday, August 7th. Rocket Chef brings the action and passion of cooking center stage. It raises money for two very worthy causes – Merrimack Hall and the Food Bank of North Alabama. The culinary competition, now headed into its fourth year, is making an impact on our neighbors in the Tennessee Valley. Tickets are on sale now for $85 and include the show, an opportunity to sample food from each of the competing chefs at a tasting reception and complimentary beer and wine.

The culinary competition is comprised of four chefs, mystery ingredients that must be made into delectable meals, a live audience and the pressure of a dwindling clock. The drama, entertainment and art of cooking is what Rocket Chef is all about. It’s all done to help further the missions of both Merrimack Hall and the Food Bank of North Alabama.

“The mission of Merrimack Hall is to provide visual and performing arts opportunities to individuals with special needs," explains Merrimack Hall Executive Director Melissa Reynolds.

Reynolds says their outreach program, the Happy Headquarters, serves more than 500 individuals through a summer camp, after school activities and adult day program.

At the food bank, the priority is getting help to the hungry.

"Our mission at the Food Bank of North Alabama is to feed the hungry today, but also look at solutions to end hunger tomorrow,” describes Food Bank Executive Director Shirley Schofield.

In 2016, Schofield says the food bank distributed more than 8 million pounds of food to people in need. Since its inception in 2014, Rocket Chef has funneled funds of more than $95,000 to these two benefitting organizations, who split it 50-50.  Leaders from both non-profits say the fundraiser is truly one of a kind.

"Rocket Chef has been super beneficial to us because we have been able to grant a lot of our participants scholarships," says Reynolds. "The Rocket Chef event is in August and we start our after school programs in September. That helps us gauge how many scholarships we can grant. It also just helps us expand our programs.”

"For every dollar donated to the food bank, that can create five meals," says Schofield. "We’re very efficient with what we do. When you think about the amount of money that Rocket Chef has brought in over the years and multiply that by five meals, it really is serving a tremendous amount of need.”

If you'd like to attend and support these two organizations, Rocket Chef tickets are on sale now.