Cooking celebs participating in Meijer LPGA fundraiser

The Detroit News

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and culinary expert Gail Simmons will cook — and judge Michigan bakers — at this year’s Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff in Grand Rapids.

Batali and Simmons will prepare an appetizer and main course while interacting with guests throughout the evening

Pastry chefs from three Grand Rapids bakeries — Cakabakery, Field & Fire and Sweetie-licious — will square off in the competition presented on July 24 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Batali and Simmons will be part of a group of judges measuring the creations of the bakers. The Detroit News’ food editor Steve Pardo will also be part of the panel.

“The local competition will add extra excitement to the Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff presented by Kraft, an already exciting and interactive cooking event,” Meijer President J.K Symancyk said. “We look forward to seeing the community support these local bakeries.”

Tickets to the event are $100 and available for purchase online at Proceeds benefit the Meijer Simply Give program that restocks the shelves of food pantries across the Midwest.

Cakabakery Owner Jason Kakabaker has been creating birthday cakes and specialty desserts for 20 years. He participated on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2013. Field & Fire Owner Shelby Kibler opened Field & Fire in 2013. Her shop specializes in rustic European style breads and authentic French pastries. Sweetie-licious Owner Linda Hundt is a 19-time national pie-baking champion and has been featured on the Food Network, “The Steve Harvey Show” and is also the exclusive pie provider for Williams-Sonoma’s website and catalog. Her bakery opened in 2002.

The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will host a full field of 144 players in the 72-hole, four-day competition being held Tuesday through July 26 at Blythefield Country Club.

For information on the Meijer LPGA Classic, go to