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Photo by Pati LaLonde - ©

2nd Annual Spring Time Empty Bowls Fundraiser Features Chef Competition

April 28, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Pati LaLonde

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When all was said and done, John Dion of Coonan's Irish Hub took top honors in the second annual chef competition of the Literacy Council of Bay County and the Bay City Noon Optimists Spring Time Empty Bowls fundraiser.

5-year-old Clara Sinicki
paints a bowl for her dad

Photo by Pati LaLonde

Jordan, JoEllen and George Strieter
take a time out from
food sampling to paint bowls.

Photo by Pati LaLonde
Competing against last year's winner Susan Fassbender of Asian Noodle, and instructor Denise Fahrenbruch and advisor Tom Wood from the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District Career Center, and Josh Lind and Calyb Shaw of Brann's Steak House and Sports Grille, Dion won by just one and a half votes for his Stuffed Green Pepper soup.

But then, says the chef, he uses a secret ingredient - love.

"I just thank the Literacy Council and the Optimists for allowing me to showcase what Coonan's has to offer," he said.

Between sampling soups, wine and craft beers, the crowd of 65 took a chance on winning one of 29 gift baskets, bidding on silent auction items and painting bowls with help from Spencer Scharf of Painterly Pottery.

"I always like coming out here," he said. "It's always fun to take the bowls back, fire and seal them. It's a sneak peak at what everyone did." Clara Sinicki was having a good time as well, painting a bowl lavender. "I do a lot of painting," said the 5-year-old. "I like to paint castles"

The recipient of her artwork? Dad Bryan Sinicki.

Susan Fassbender from Asian Noodle
and Josh Lind and Calyb Shaw
from Brann's offer soup to the masses

Photo by Pati LaLonde

George, JoEllen and Jordan Strieter made it a family event. "This is a fun event," said JoEllen Strieter. "There is a lot to do, and great food and great beer."

Although the numbers were down from last year, and organizers feared not reaching their goal of $7,000, they are looking to the future. "I think the attendance is disappointing," said Karen Monville, of the Optimists. "We are hoping to continue to grow the event."

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Pati LaLonde

Pati is a freelance writer with experience in all things pertaining to Bay County, Michigan.

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