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Chefs of Northwest Indiana prepare fundraising gourmet meal
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Chefs of Northwest Indiana prepare fundraising gourmet meal

Whenever members of The American Culinary Chefs of Northwest Indiana meet for an event, it's always a special affair.

Various members of the local chefs' group recently prepared a fundraising dinner for a group of friends at St. John's 95ate5 Brew Pub and Comfort's Catering, owned by Chef Jack Mix.

The ACF Chefs of Northwest Indiana is now in its second decade. The group regularly gets together for monthly meetings as well as lending their talents for various events and fundraisers throughout the Region.

During the recent dinner, six members of the local ACF Chefs' group prepared the elegant meal for Tom and Suzanne DiFilippo of St. John and their friends. The party totaled 14 people.

"My daughters dance at the Indiana Ballet Theatre (school) and we bid on the chefs' dinner at the Indiana Ballet Theatre's Gala," said Suzanne DiFilippo.

"We thought it would be fun to get a group of friends together for this," she said. "It's all been so good," DiFilippo said, about the meal.

Starring on the menu were appetizers of Phyllo and Brie with Raspberry as well as Mini Potato Skins. Tomato Bisque, English Cucumber Ring Salad, Pan-Seared Scallops, Lemon Sorbet Palate Cleanser, Braised Short Ribs, and Baked Alaska followed.

"You've got to keep everything moving," said Alice Pickford, an ACF Chefs' member who helped serve the seven-course meal.

"It's fun to work with the other chefs," Pickford said. "We do many different fundraisers, such as Meals on Wheels. We help a lot of charities," she said, adding it's important for the community of chefs to lend a hand for good causes.

"We love doing this stuff," said Chef David Siano, about fundraising events. "It also gives us another reason to get together." Siano came up with the English Cucumber Ring Salad for the special dinner.

"Events like this are a good way of giving back," said Chef Jim Galligan.

The Northwest Indiana chapter of ACF got its start in 1995 when chef Muhammad Siddiqui and chef Debra Ward thought it was important to establish a chapter in Northwest Indiana "between Chicago and South Bend, and north of Indianapolis." The group formed and had its first meeting in January of 1996.

The parent organization American Culinary Federation Inc., was founded in 1929 and is a not for profit organization for chefs and cooks.

"We are an organization based on promoting the professional image of American chefs worldwide through education of culinarians at all levels," states the website for The American Culinary Federation Inc. website.

Among groups and charities the Indiana chapter of ACF chefs has worked with in addition to Meals on Wheels are Tri Kappa Home and Kitchen Tours and Tasting, March of Dimes and Nazareth Home, among others.

For more information on the local chapter and the parent organization, visit ACF Chefs of NWIndiana on Facebook or Also email


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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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