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​(February 4, 2019) Dallas, TX – In an effort to bring awareness to food insecurity among college students the El Centro College Adult Resource Center will host its inaugural "Top Pantry Chef Chopped Cook-off" on February 13, 2019. The event will be at 12 p.m. in the Student Center.

The goal of the Cook-off is to educate students and staff about food insecurity and to share with the college community a few of the initiatives El Centro has taken to address these needs. Prior to the cook-off, an introduction of available student services will be given and staff will be conducting a survey on food insecurities.

Karen Stills, Interim Vice President of Student Services, and her team will be competing against Dr. Greg Morris, Vice President of Academic Affairs and his team for the honor of becoming El Centro's "Top Pantry Chef." The participants will not be aware of the dishes they will be preparing until it is revealed to them at the time of the event.  A surprise ingredient from the Chaparral Food Pantry will be included in their baskets.

Special judges for the event include El Centro College Food & Hospitality Institute (FHI) Instructional Specialist Chef Nina Hunter and FHI Faculty Nutritionist Jessie Yearwood as well as celebrity Chef Ken Patrick.

Patrick has been featured on The Travel Channel, where he won the International "Fiery Foods Challenge" and is a celebrity chef of Steve Harvey’s Mentoring Program in Dallas. He's a celebrity chef of The Tom Joyner Cruise, where he won "Battle of the Chefs, "competing against seven other celebrity chefs in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and the Turks & Caicos. He’s also an Executive Chef for, & Season 5 Winner of Guy's Grocery Games on Food Network, Double Award Winner of Okrapalooza Dallas, 1st Place Grand Champion of Bacon Bash Texas, & Brand Ambassador for Weber Grills, Pit Barrel Cooker Co, & FINEX Cast Iron Cookware.

Chef Ken is the founder of Ken Patrick Spice Rubs, based in Cedar Hill, Texas.

A recent study conducted by the Wisconsin Hope Lab found that in the past month, nearly one out of 10 community college students have gone an entire day without eating. “It is our belief that we cannot continue to feed the minds of our students while their stomachs remain empty,” said Brendetta Norman, Program Service Coordinator in El Centro’s Adult Resource Center, where the Food Pantry is housed.

For more information, please contact Brendetta Norman at 972-860-2427.