Fenton — Two points decided the winner of the third annual Chef Showdown at The Freedom Center, Thursday, May 9.
Head Chef Matt Scitney of Andiamo Fenton, along with Sous Chef John Grden, defeated Jody Brunori, head chef at The Laundry, El Topo, Crust and Relief & Resource Co. and Sous Chef Devin Ingman
Scitney, 34, who’s been cooking since he was about 15, said it was “amazing” and “unexpected.”
“I was just happy to compete with someone on that level. I had a feeling it was close. I felt very good about what we did. I knew we maximized our time,” he said. “Either way, I would have been happy losing to a great chef like that.”
Scitney said it’s been great being a part of the community and to come to this event.
More than 300 people attended and donated to the Fenton Center of Hope, which helps people in need get food, clothing, and life skill classes.
Approximately $50,000 was raised. The goal was to raise at least $18,000 for a new refrigerator and freezer so the Center of Hope could store meat, and those in attendance donated $23,000 for that one item alone.
Bob Strygulec, who manages the Fenton Center of Hope with his wife Jennifer, said there’s been “overwhelming support” from the community.
“People are really understanding that it’s more than just giving food, giving items and resources away. It’s our focus on the life skills and that's taking a look at the underlying, root cause of the problems,” he said. “With that, we’re able to help people through the situation with more than just a band-aid on the current situation. It’s addressing those things, moving them forward long term.”
Pastor Jim Wiegand emceed on the main stage while Youth Pastor J.D. Wiegand interviewed the chefs in the kitchen as the competition raged on.
Genesee County Undersheriff Chris Swanson auctioned off locally made products and encouraged people to donate. Silent raffles and matching funds from local businesses helped raise more donations.
This is the third year for the event. Brunori won the first competition in 2017 against Matt Cooper, a frequent competitor and winner on the Food Network. She lost to Brighton Chef Stephen Pilon, executive chef and partner at the Wooden Spoon, in 2018.