Skip to main content

Day trip: chefs battle for charity in Chocolatetown

HERSHEY - Queue up those taste buds and get ready to bust your calorie budget - the annual Central Pennsylvania SuperChef event is coming to Hershey Lodge on Wednesday, May 4.

From 6-9 p.m., guests will be able to sample tasty tidbits from an array of restaurants around the region as chefs go toque to toque in a battle of skills.

Founder and event coordinator Abeer Srouji Allen said, “We are focusing on fine dining and casual fine dining restaurants. Each makes about 500 portions of an entrée and a dessert.” A collaborative effort between the public and a panel of celebrity judges will determine whom is victorious that evening, with the winners awarded larger-than-life billboards which will be seen around the area.

Last year the event raised $30,000 for charity. Seventy-five percent of this years’ proceeds will go to the Salvation Army and the additional 25 percent will benefit Project SHARE in Carlisle.

“We pay our expenses and 100 percent of the rest of the money goes to the nonprofits. Every year we will be pairing a larger nonprofit with a smaller one,” Allen said. A committee comprised of community members chooses the charities that will benefit from the event. Allen said the committee is open to learning more about those needing help, and interested parties are welcome to contact her with information through the SuperChef website.

Guests can opt for general admission tickets for $50, or choose a special VIP option for $100. The VIP option includes a tasting from 5-6 p.m., a drink ticket and a “buy-it-now” feature on silent auction items. “We have smaller items, such as planters and kids’ games, and bigger-ticket items like a weeklong stay in a vacation home valued at $3,000, box seats and transportation to an Orioles’ game, overnight stays at hotels from here to Ohio, designer handbags, jewelry—a little something for everyone,” said Allen.

Of course the highlight of the event is the food, and there will be plenty of it, with 11 restaurants participating this year. Last year Travis Mumma of Café Fresco took home the prize for his coconut panko encrusted Scottish salmon with mango jalapeno marmalade served over sweet potato chorizo home fries. Jill Purner, Pastry Chef at Harvest at the Hotel Hershey, won the dessert competition with her crowd-pleasing “Take 5,” cake crafted of pretzels, chocolate, peanut butter mousse and salted caramel sauce.

Hershey-based, world famous food photographer Ali Waxman, who was recognized in 2011 and 2015 by Google Plus as one of the top 250 photographers in the world, will serve as one of the three celebrities who will be judging this year’s event. “I am pleased, honored and humbled to be included as a celebrity judge in this year’s SuperChef competition alongside people I’ve long admired and respected: Karen Scolforo, President of Central Penn College and ABC-27 news anchor Dave Marcheskie. SuperChef is truly the benchmark of chef competitions in the Harrisburg area,” said Waxman.

Scolforo said she attended the SuperChef event for the first time last year and is delighted to be serving as a judge for this year’s competition. “I frequent many of the restaurants competing this year, and I’m excited to support their success,” she said.

The SuperChef event is now in its sixth year. Allen said she is happy to report that it keeps getting bigger and better and hopes that the event will continue to give needed support to area charities for years to come.

If you go:

Central Pa SuperChef

Wednesday, May 4

Hershey Lodge, 325 University Drive, Hershey

VIP Hour: 5-6 p.m. Tickets: $100

General: 6-9 p.m. Tickets: $50

Tickets available online at, or at participating restaurants.

Participating Restaurants

Babe’s Grill House, Palmyra

Café 1500, Harrisburg

Café Fresco, Harrisburg

Devon Seafood and Steak, Hershey

Dodge City Steakhouse, Harrisburg

Greystone Public House

Harvest Seasonal Grill, Hershey

Hershey Grill, Hershey

The Hotel Hershey, Hershey

Note, Harrisburg

What If…West, Camp Hill