Welcome Chefs!

Thank you to our 50 Men Who Cook 2020 chefs!

Save the date for the 17th annual 50 Men Who Cook on August 14, 2021

To register as a chef, please email 50MenWhoCook@casadekalb.org.

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.
  • There will be a chef orientation in July (time & date to be determined) at Taxco Restaurant in Sycamore. Drinks and snacks will be provided. 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 from 6-9 pm. Chefs are asked to arrive between 3:45 and 4:45 pm. (more details below). 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.

Supply List


  • Banquet tables-tables will be shared, each chef receives 3 to 4 feet of space
  • Warming trays and burners, for those that request it 
  • Ice for those who request it
  • Small plates, bowls, plastic forks and spoons, salt and pepper
  • 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.
  • Note: Electricity will not be available! Remember, we will have warming and cooling trucks on site and chafing dishes to keep your dishes warm or cool while you serve.


  • Your own serving utensils, if needed
  • Decorations for your station (optional, but highly recommended. Prizes for best-decorated station!)
  • Good Food
  • If desired, you may bring one assistant to help you serve.

Event Entry & Unloading:

  • You may unload your food and necessary items between 3:45 pm and 4:45 pm on Saturday, August 14th at Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center. Please use the East entrance of the building. Volunteers will be available to help you unload. Free parking is available around the center.
  • When you arrive, you will check in and be escorted to your space. Only you and your assistant may enter at this time. No tickets are required. All other individuals will need to enter through the main entrance with the other guests beginning at 6:00 pm. If guests arrive early, they will be asked to wait to enter.
  • All chefs must be in place and ready to go by 5:15 pm for the chef’s reception. Please have your one assistant with you at this time. Your assistant will serve your dish during the chef’s reception from 5:15-5:45 pm so you will be able to mingle and taste other dishes.

Volunteer Helpers:

  • Student volunteers from Sycamore Key Club will be available to assist chefs during the evening. Let them know if you have any questions or problems.


  • You and your assistant will attend the event for free. You will also be given one free ticket at Will Call that CASA can designate to a guest of your choosing (please provide CASA with guest name prior to Aug. 14).
  • 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. You can sell tickets two ways:
    • Send your family, co-workers and/or friends to this website (www.casadekalb.org/50menwhocook/) where they can buy their tickets. 
    • Send your family, co-workers and/or friends to the CASA office (407 W. State Street #6 in Sycamore).

Food Safety Information-Please Read!


  • Hot = no less than 135 degrees
  • Cold = must be 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 need help with this, please contact Jesus Romero at Taxco restaurant. He said you can stop by any time, and he will help you with transportation of your food, presentation of your food, specific serving suggestions or any other food-specific questions you have. He is more than happy to help in any way.
  • If you are transporting something hot, if you can get to the venue in a half hour or less you should be okay.
  • Jesus Romero/Taxco Restaurant, Sycamore will have a thermometer available to measure the temperature of your food when you arrive at the event.


  • 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.
  • 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 vans available will keep items cold, not frozen.
  • If you want foil pans ahead of time, stop by Taxco and ask for Jesus (otherwise, they will be available at the event).
  • Remember you can bring an assistant (wife, friend, etc.). They can help with any prep work you need.
  • 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/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/keep-food-safe-food-safety-basics/ct_index

Thank you again for participating in the 17th annual 50 Men Who Cook, you are crucial to our success!