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Viva Las Vegas: Summa Health System Raised Nearly $70,000 at 11th Annual Men Who Cook Fundraiser

Date: 06.09.2011
Contact: Julie Uehara Sur Phone: (330)375-7117

Contact: Julie Uehara Sur, Phone: (330)375-7117, Email:

AKRON, Ohio, June 9, 2011– Las Vegas, food, philanthropy and Elvis reigned as Summa hosted its 11th annual Men Who Cook Fundraiser on Friday, May 13. The event, themed “Viva La Flavor,” raised nearly $70,000 for Summa’s Palliative Care and Hospice Services.

More than 300 people attended the cooking competition to sample dishes from ranging from seafood ceviche salad to Elvis’ bundt cake. Each chef tried their hand at winning the coveted People’s Choice award or simply proving they can out-cook their mothers. Doctors changed out of their scrubs to cook delicious appetizers, desserts and side dishes. However, the chefs didn’t comprise of just physicians; many community members including firefighters, business leaders, police officers and insurance brokers created dishes to contribute to the event.

Although the real winners of the night were Summa’s Palliative Care and Hospice patients, the panel of female judges – all prominent members of the greater Akron community – selected their favorite dishes in several categories. Some of the night’s big winners were:

  • Mixmaster- Dr. Joseph Zarconi, Margaritas
  • Chef’s Choice (selected by Frank Zifer, Executive Chef of Virtues Restaurant and Ken Stewart of Ken Stewart’s Grille, Lodge, and Tre Belle)- Rod Myerscough, Ph.D., Rod’s Artisan Bread
  • People’s Choice (selected by event attendees)- Drs. Kevin Spear and Brian Canterbury, Beef Tenderloin with Shallot and Port Reduction Sauce
  • 1st Place Entrée- Dr. Dale Murphy, Grilled Pepper Filets with Whiskey Sauce
  • 1st Place Side- Dr. Bonyo Bonyo and Chava Eshmael, Vegetable Beef Irio
  • 1st Place Dessert- Greg Kall, Bananas Foster

“The theme was embraced by the cooks and the competition got serious!” said Kim Kousaie, director of Palliative Care and Hospice Services. “The Mixmaster table was especially popular, with Dr. Zarconi making more than $2,000 in tips alone. The fact that the chefs represented many professions across Northeast Ohio made the event unique. The community truly showed their support.”

The event co-chairs, Debbie Zarconi and Jon Fiume, emceed the night, which also included an auction. “We are so pleased with the event and would like to thank Debbie and Jon for their hard work,” added Kousaie. “The support of the chefs and all who attended will make a profound difference in our patients’ lives. We are lucky to have a community that is active in philanthropy- and loves good food.”

Summa’s Palliative Care and Hospice services provides care to enhance the comfort and quality of life for patients with a broad range of conditions. Not only will the proceeds benefit Summa’s patients in Northeast Ohio, but Sub-Saharan Africa as well. Summa is a partner with the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa, with funds providing for essentials such as computers, medicines, medical supplies and bags.

Check Summa’s Facebook page to view photos of the evening’s winners.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at