Community participation benefits 4,700 families served annually


Loaves & Fishes Community Services held its first annual Naperville Chef Showdown presented by Energy Services on Wednesday, April 11 at its facility on 1871 High Grove Lane, Naperville. The event raised funds for support of vital services for struggling families who come to Loaves & Fishes.


The executive chefs from two popular Naperville restaurants, Chef Eddie Sweeney from Catch 35 with sous chefs Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico and Nicki Anderson competed against Chef Danny Gil from Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House assisted by sous chefs Julie Chirico and Joe Vozar to create three unique dishes in a stadium kitchen. To tie in with Loaves & Fishes’ name, the appetizer contained representation of a loaf and the fish was featured in the entree. A mystery ingredient – an item chosen from the Smart Check shelves which contain whole grains or low sodium or sugar – was also introduced.


“The exceptional line-up of executive chefs, judges, sous chefs and our emcee greatly contributed to a memorable and entertaining evening to help those in need,” said CEO & President Mike Havala. “We were excited to host this unique event at our facility and are grateful to our sponsors and everyone involved.”


Dishes were voted upon by a panel of select judges: Christine Jeffries, President of Naperville Development Partnership; Jim Ebel, co-founder of Two Brother’s Brewing Company; Mark Walter, Owner & Executive Chef at My Chef; and Naperville eighth grader Henry Wieser, a Top Chef Jr. finalist. Catch 35 won the overall competition, yet the real winners are the more than 800 households each week that benefit from services at Loaves & Fishes.


The evening, taped by NCTV17, was emceed by Ray Kinney of Blooming Color and host of Dine Around Naperville. Event partner My Chef Catering provided the stadium kitchen and a sumptuous array of appetizers, cocktails and desserts; beer was provided by Two Brothers Brewing Company, and Ben Wiersum provided electrical and sound technology.


Additional sponsors included BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Busey Bank, Dine Naperville, Edward Jones – John Keeley, Esser Hayes, Lisle Savings Bank, Professional Analysis and Consulting and Thrivent Cantera Financial Associates.