Welcome Chefs!

General Information

  • There is no cost to participate in 50 Men Who Cook, but we do ask you to provide your own ingredients for the recipe you serve.
  • Each cook is asked to prepare & bring 250 sample-size servings of their favorite recipe in one of the following categories: appetizer, side dish, entree or dessert. A serving is considered 1-2 forkfuls or bites. (Note: Professional chefs are recommended to bring 350-400 sample-size servings).
  • There will be a chef orientation in July. Details to come. This meeting is crucial to the success of the event, and attendance is appreciated. All first-time chefs are highly encouraged to attend the meeting. Returning chefs are highly recommended to attend the meeting as well. Returning chefs can be helpful to new chefs and it is a great refresher of the event. If you are unable to attend or have questions, contact Jessica Sandlund at 50menwhocook@casadekalb.org or 815-895-2052.
  • The event is held at Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center on NIU’s campus—231 North Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb, IL 60115. Chefs are asked to arrive prior to the start of the event to set up their station. Each chef is asked to stay for the entire evening to meet and greet people and give information on their dish.
  • There will be no kitchen available prior to or during the event. There will be no access to the kitchen or kitchen equipment. Please make special note of this and plan accordingly. Ice will be provided as needed.
  • No outside alcohol is permitted, including alcoholic beverages as part of your dish. Any alcohol used in preparing your dish must be cooked off.
  • Photographs of the event and chefs will be taken throughout the evening and used for event promotion in the future. If you do not wish to have your photo used by CASA DeKalb County in CASA event marketing (digital and print), please notify CASA in writing at 50menwhocook@casadekalb.org.

Supply List


  • Banquet tables and tablecloths to display and serve your food – approximately 3-4′ wide space per chef
  • Warming trays and burners, for those who request it 
  • Ice for those who request it
  • Small plates, bowls, plastic forks and spoons, salt and pepper, napkins
  • Gloves for preparing and serving food
  • Hand washing stations, paper towels, and hand soap dispensers
  • Trash cans
  • Bottled water for the chefs
  • Warming trucks and cooling trucks to keep your second half of samples hot or cold
  • Electricity will NOT be available! We will have warming and cooling trucks on site and chafing dishes to keep your dishes warm or an ice bath to keep your food cool while you serve (if requested).


  • Your own serving utensils, if needed
  • Decorations for your station (optional, but highly recommended. Prizes for best-decorated and best-themed stations!)
  • Good Food
  • A sous chef/assistant if you would like (male or female)

Event Entry & Unloading:

  • Suggested arrival time is between 4 – 5 pm on August 10, 2024.
  • Drop off your food at the EAST entrance of Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center (BAVC). There will be volunteers to assist. 
  • If you have a dish that needs to remain hot or cold, we suggest you divide your food in half so that half can be at your station and half can stay hot or cold in the warming/cooling truck.
  • Park in NIU Lot L, south of BAVC.

Volunteer Helpers:

  • Student volunteers from Sycamore Key Club, NIU athlete volunteers and a catering team will be available to assist chefs during the evening. Let them know if you have any questions or problems.
  • Volunteers can serve as a sous chef if you do not have one with you for you to take a bathroom break etc. during the event.


  • You will attend the event for free. Your sous chef attends for free as well!
  • We also encourage chefs to consider selling tickets to the event (remember that every vote for your dish counts!). However, you are not required to sell tickets. Send your family, co-workers and/or friends to our website (www.casadekalb.org/50menwhocook/) where they can buy their tickets. 

Food Safety Information-Please Read!


  • Hot = Keep above 135 degrees
  • Cold = Keep below 41 degrees
  • If someone gets food sickness from the event, it may result in future events being cancelled, so please take this to heart and be cautious about temperature.
  • Temperature will be controlled during the event (VAC heating and cooling vans used for catering)—the biggest concern is transporting your food from your house to the event. If you are transporting hot food-must remain hot, cold must remain cold (41-135 bacteria grows).
  • If you are transporting something hot, if you can get to the venue in a half hour or less you should be okay.
  • We will have a thermometer available to measure the temperature of your food when you arrive at the event.
  • For any food-related questions, including questions about transportation of your food, presentation of your food, specific serving suggestions or any other food-specific questions you have, please contact CASA.


  • Strict attention should be given to personal hygiene. Clean outer garments should be worn.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are not allowed in areas where food is being prepared. Wash hands frequently. Gloves will be provided and are required for you to wear if you have direct contact with the food (not necessary if you are using a serving utensil).
  • Children and non-food handlers are prohibited from food preparation areas. Please keep your pets out of the area while you prepare your food at home as well.
  • Only equipment which is safe, in good repair and clean should be used. Equipment must be clean, organized and presentable at all times.
  • Please use pasteurized eggs if you make homemade ice cream, hollandaise sauce, or anything else that usually uses raw eggs.
  • Inbodens Meat Market sells dry ice if you need to keep something frozen (like ice cream). The cooling trucks available will keep items cold, not frozen.
  • If you want foil pans ahead of time, please contact CASA (otherwise, they will be available at the event).
  • Any food that is left over from the event is recommended to be thrown out for food safety reasons.
  • For additional information, review the USDA guidelines online regarding food safety. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety 

Thank you for considering participating as a chef in the 20th annual 50 Men Who Cook!