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Real Men Cook serves up food and fun

By Kalin Thomas Staff Writer | 6/21/2013, 12:28 p.m.
Chefs at Real Men Cook servin' up soul and savory cuisine on Father's Day at the Georgia World Congress Center.

ATLANTA -- Real Men Cook received a proclamation from Atlanta City Council President Caesar Mitchell and Councilman C.T. Martin on Monday to honor the popular, charity event.

The annual event, which highlights African American male cooks and chefs, is always a Father’s Day highlight in metro Atlanta, and this year was no exception.

Nearly 3,000 people crowded the Georgia Ballroom at the Georgia World Congress Center on Sunday as they lined up to get a taste of the chefs’ talents.

“Our space was larger this year at 25,000 square feet, so the people had more space to move around and be comfortable while tasting and enjoying the entertainment,” said Real Men Cook-Atlanta Manager, Diane Larche.

From the time the Atlanta Ol Skool Drummers marched the chefs into the ballroom; the music, food and fun never stopped.

Food highlights included award winners Chef Ed Harris, winner of The Food Network’s “Chopped,” for his Dim Sum Asian Stir Fry; Anthony “Mr. Cheesecake” Lawrence for his Key Lime Cheesecake; Edward Steele of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity for his Mac-N-Cheese; and the Art Institute of Atlanta for its Chicken Apple Sausage.

The amateur dessert category was a tie:  former Fox 5 news anchor Art Franklin for his Banana Pudding and the NACA Team for their Bean Pie.

And the People’s Choice award – also a tie -- went to the Oxtails, Collards and Mac-N-Cheese by Bistro 404; and the Cajun Pasta, Sesame Jerk Chicken Strips and Homemade Lemonade by TGI Friday’s.

The lines for those two tables practically wrapped around the room, along with the lines for fitness guru Stepp Stewart’s snow cones, popcorn, and cotton candy.

“Every year the cotton candy has the longest lines with both kids and adults,” said Larche.

Non-food highlights included: musical performances by KeKe Wyatt and the young jazz group Phaze, the Sole Jumpers Double Dutch team, author David Manuel signing his book, “I Am a Father”, the Kids’ Zone with Mr. Me’s balloon-making and play with Atlanta Hawks mascot Harry the Hawk, and the Health Fair with free screenings and massages.

Most participants said this year was a blast, and they can’t wait for next year.

“I’m excited about next year when we’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary nationally,” said Larche. “We want it to grow every year, so that we can continue to fund programs that celebrate our men, our families and our community.”