Press Releases

Celebrity Cuisine event supports local hunger-relief efforts of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

Apr 19, 2023

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank welcomed more than 1,000 guests to the 31st annual Celebrity Cuisine on Tuesday. The fundraising event will help provide the equivalent of 444,000 meals for local families facing hunger.

The Canton Memorial Civic Center was bustling as guests enjoyed the strolling dinner party. Food enthusiasts from all over Northeast Ohio delighted in a feast of local flavors, including unlimited access to appetizers, entrée samples, beer, wine and desserts from 40 restaurants and purveyors.

Chefs from local diners to high-end steakhouses were eager to share their best dishes with the crowd. A fan favorite with a continuous queue was The Bistro of Oakwood serving creamy garlic chicken with bacon and broccoli, served with gouda mashed potatoes.

“I love supporting the Foodbank. This event brings so much of the community together,” said Tony Paumier, general manager at The Bistro of Oakwood.

A unique aspect of the event includes the local celebrities stationed at vendor tables helping serve food. Joe Vitale, Sr. with Crosby, Stills & Nash band, Stephan Baity, a Food Network champion, and Betty Smith, executive director of the EN-RICH-MENT Program of Canton, donned chef aprons and were slinging orders as quickly as they could.

The EN-RICH-MENT Program of Canton is a food program within the Foodbank’s hunger-relief network. Smith has volunteered for and attended the event for a number of years. She and her late husband enjoyed coming together. She looked upward as if speaking to the heavens, to let him know how honored she was to be a celebrity chef this year.

“Getting food from the Foodbank is very important to us – so many kids go hungry, and the Foodbank helps us a lot. Now, to be here at this sold-out event, it’s like things all fit together. It’s a great place to give back and have fun,” said Smith.

New to the event this year was the opportunity for guests to donate directly to the Foodbank during a mission moment. Guests were asked to pause their merrymaking and scan the QR code on the back of the program book to make a donation. Donations were matched by generous friends of the Foodbank, including Jeanne Bauhart, Bill Lemmon and Kristen Manes.

Another way guests could support local hunger-relief efforts included bidding on more than 25 auction items and raffles.

The event included live music by Hey Monea, and entertainment by The Kenny & JT Show of News-Talk 1480 WHBC.

Proceeds from Celebrity Cuisine help the Foodbank’s work to feed people and fight hunger. As 47,000 individuals in Stark County lost nearly $4.5 million in pandemic-related food benefits in March, the Foodbank and its network have served as a place to turn for these families.

A special thank you to presenting sponsor Atlantic Food Distributors and to Tri-County Restaurant Association for their support in recruiting purveyors to participate in the event.

For more information regarding Celebrity Cuisine, please visit