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Patterson chef for a day to raise funds for musical theatre group

The art of cooking is buried near the bottom of head football coach Gary Patterson’s long list of daily concerns, but when the cookin’ is for kids, the list doesn’t matter.

Patterson rounds out a list of “notable Texans” who will participate in the 13th annual Cookin’ for Kids cook-off Sunday to create a winning dish to benefit Kids Who Care, a Fort Worth-based non-profit musical theatre organization, according to a press release.

Patterson said he wanted to participate in the cook-off because the organization helps kids, something that was important in selecting a charity to support.

“You’re doing it for the kids…and giving back to the community,” Patterson said. “That’s how we build this place. It’s really letting people know we care as much about them as they do about us. That’s the best way I know to build a foundation.”

Patterson, along with Fort Worth city councilwoman Kathleen Hicks and other prominent Texas celebrities and leaders, will pair up with 12 local chefs from notable restaurants such as Reata and Del Frisco’s to create two plates, one to be judged and the other to be auctioned off.

The catch: The chef and celebrity tandem have only two Bunsen burners and a batch of surprise ingredients to work with.

The Cookin’ for Kids event is Kids Who Care’s largest fundraiser and generates about a third of what the non-profit organization needs to raise annually, Deborah Jung, Kids Who Care founder and executive director, said.

“I think seeing the combative hysterical competition between the hilarious,” Jung said. “They are so creative and so fabulous at what they do.”

All proceeds will go toward providing scholarships, youth leadership training and other support that makes Kids Who Care arts education and performances available to families in the community, according to the press release.

On top of the celebrity/chef competition, an amateur chef competition will be held and tasting stations from local restaurants will accompany silent, big board and live auctions. Live entertainment will be provided by the Kids Who Care Resident Company, a group of 45 to 75 performers between the ages of six and 20 who tour to perform Kids Who Care original works, according to their Web site.

The fundraiser typically costs between $15,000 and $20,000 to set up and coordinate, a reasonable amount when taking into consideration that Kids Who Care raises between $90,000 and $110,000 for the evening, Jung said.

Jung, who founded Kids Who Care in 1989, wanted to create a home in the cultural district of Fort Worth where kids as artists were the center of the system, she said.

“I wanted to create a company that had all the bells and whistles,” she said. “I had been on stage full-time and had observed the industry, and oftentimes the child gets lost. I think we give a place for children to become great creative thinkers. I think we are center for creating incredible kids.”

Football might not be at the top of the list of Jung’s daily concerns, but if Patterson needs some help of his own raising money for the kids in his organization, then maybe she’ll throw out her list too.

13th Annual Cookin’ for Kids Cook-off

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: River Ranch in the Fort Worth Stockyards (500 NE. 23rd St.)

Cost: Individual tickets are $100 and reserved tables for eight are $1,000.

For more information call 817-737-5437 or e-mail [email protected]

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