Men Cook competition

Guests challenged the community to look inward and embrace their inner hero at the fourth annual United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley Men Cook on Saturday at the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta.

Proceeds from the event benefit the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The United Way supports, collaborates and provides funding for more than 80 programs and initiatives in the region, which focus on fighting for the education, financial stability and health of every person in every corner of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“It’s great to see people come out and support a great event and an even greater cause in our community. The money we raise stays local. It impacts our neighbors and friends right here in the MOV,” said Stacy DeCicco, the executive director of UWAMOV.

Saturday’s event, themed on being a local hero, ended up with 25 local amateur cooks who brought their best dish to the field of competition and hundreds of guests.

“When you embrace the hero within, the ordinary becomes extraordinary,” DeCicco said.

Many of the cooks were competing for the second, third year or even fourth year.

David White, with the Washington County Commissioners, is one of the present cooks who has been cooking at the event since year one.

“I keep coming back for so many reasons,” White said.

“I love to cook, and the Men Cook provides me with a wonderful cause to cook for,” he said.

White said another reason was seeing the growth of the event.

“I love the community and people that attend, it is such a wonderful environment,” he said.

The dishes in the competition included food such as hand rolled sushi, soups and desserts.

“Wood County Society has been a collaborative partner of United Way’s for many years, and with our two missions growing in the area, it is important to continue supporting each other,” said Brandon Gress, executive director of the Wood County Society.

DeCicco pointed out that one thing new and exciting this year in her eyes was that one of the chef teams were made up of two students. Parkersburg South High School seniors Dalton Fullerton and Louden Haga presented chicken alfredo at the competition.

“I have wanted to be a chef since I was 5, this is a great opportunities to showcase my talents and help a great cause in our community,” Fullerton said.

Another way DeCicco has altered this years event was the decorations.

“This year’s centerpieces were food for the food pantry instead of wasting money on flowers,” she said.

“The funds came out of the Hunger Solution funds and we hope seeing them will build awareness of the need,” DeCicco said.