St. Paul chef wins FoodShare Month competition
James Green, head chef at the West 7th Salvation Army in St. Paul, won The Salvation Army’s chef competition at Kitchen Window in Uptown Minneapolis last night by cooking up some aggressive dishes: Karate Chicken and Smack ‘N Cheese. (See photos or watch this video.)
His Smack ‘N Cheese, packed with pepper jack cheese, habanero and cayenne pepper, unclogged many a sinus cavity. The Karate Chicken was equally spicy: “It kicks you a few different ways,” he said.
Green was pitted against Dennis Appleberry of The Salvation Army Harbor Light Shelter in Minneapolis and Jeff Ansorge of the Payne Ave. Salvation Army in St. Paul. Combined, they help serve hot meals to about 1,700 people a day.
Each chef cooked their favorite dish for 50 guests and four judges who know their way around a kitchen: Pat Evans, KARE 11 News anchor; Stephanie A. Meyer, food blogger at stephanieameyer.com; Doug Huemoeller, Kitchen Window owner; and Chef Landon Schoenefeld, owner of HauteDish Restaurant.
The chefs enjoyed the competition because it improved their ability to make good food for people in need.
“Cooking for the homeless and working poor isn’t about pushing any kind food in front of them,” Green said. “It’s about serving quality food. It’s about the taste experience. This competition made us better at that.”
After tasting all the food, each guest was given $100 to vote for their favorite dish. Guests who wanted to share the wealth could split their dollars. At the end of the competition each chef’s Salvation Army kitchen got to keep the money used to vote for their dishes.
Green received the most money (just barely) and also won 200 pounds of food for the West 7th Salvation Army courtesy of Sullivan’s Supervalu in Minneapolis; Sullivan’s also gave each cook $150 to buy ingredients for the event.
“Indeed, the true winner of this event is the people served by The Salvation Army,” said Major Jeff Strickler, Twin Cities Salvation Army Commander. “We now have more food for the growing number of hungry families coming to us for hot meals and for groceries at our eight local food shelves.”
This competition was held to raise hunger awareness during Minnesota FoodShare Month. Learn how you can join the fight against hunger.
About the chefs:
Dennis Appleberry, 47, is a cook supervisor at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Shelter in Minneapolis, which serves three meals a day to about 1,400 people. Food is not only in Appleberry’s last name, it’s in his blood: He grew up in Dayton, Ohio gobbling up soul food at a restaurant owned by his mother and grandma. He left Ohio seven years to enroll in a Harbor Light rehabilitation program. He beat his alcohol addiction and has been cooking at Harbor Light ever since. “The most important thing to me is the people of The Salvation Army – they give me the strength to get up and be a servant to them and the Lord,” he said.
Jeff Ansorge, 39, is the head chef at the Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul, which serves a free hot lunch to about 100 people every weekday. Before landing at The Salvation Army last October, he spent eight years cooking at the critically acclaimed Capital Grille in Minneapolis. He’s a career chef with associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts and food service management, respectively. After becoming a Christian two years ago, he felt compelled to work for a faith-based nonprofit. “I wanted to do something with my culinary skills to serve the Lord,” he said.
James Green, 33, is the head chef at the West 7th Salvation Army in St. Paul, which serves a free hot breakfast to as many as 300 people every weekday morning. The Chicago native took the job seven years ago and hasn’t looked back. “I love cooking and ministering to the homeless community, so this was a perfect fit for God’s calling in my life,” said Green, who is currently finishing up college. His favorite food to eat is Thai cuisine. His favorite foods to cook are – no surprise – pancakes and French toast, followed by ribs and fettuccine alfredo.
Read more stories, blog posts and testimonials on our News page.