The challenge began with eight local home chefs, each with unique tastes and talents. For the first four weeks, each contestant received a mystery bag of ingredients and had a few days to create a dish to help them move on to the next challenge.
2019 Cook of the Week chefs include Leslie Meredith, Ann Wayne, Kim Bradley, Rob Benes, Lulu Chapa, Lisa Eberhahn, Alex Marsalek, and Roberta Fahey.
Each mystery bag of ingredients donated by sponsors introduced a new challenge for the contestants
First round of mystery ingredients: Liquid monk fruit from NOW Foods, lamb and beef burgers from burgerIM Oak Brook, green beans from AMITA Health and pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas.
Second round of mystery ingredients:King Oscar Royal Fillets Mackerel with Lemon from King Oscar Inc., broccolini from Chandler's Chophouse, whole wheat pasta and hemp seeds.
Third round of mystery ingredients: Al Pastor Pork Slices from Grecian Delight, plain popcorn courtesy of Andigo Credit Union, Dr. Gillerson's Burger Elixir, a homemade ketchup from Gillerson's Grubbery, and portobello mushrooms.
Fourth round of mystery ingredients:Oktoberfest Beer courtesy of Binny's Beverage Depot; chuck roast from Pre Meats; Nutty Infusions Salted Caramel Cashew Butter from NOW Foods; and cauliflower courtesy of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Moving to the Cook of the Week Challenge finale is Ann Wayne, Leslie Meredith, Lulu Chapa, and Lisa Eberhahn.
The final four moved on to the finale to compete in a live cook-off. The finale, held at Westin Northwest Chicago in Itasca provided guests with appetizers, drinks, raffle prizes, and live cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs. Scroll down to see images of the event.
Meet the Contestants
What a fun night during the Cook of the Week Challenge finale!
Buffet provided by Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca and Grecian Delight. Sponsors including Seasons 52, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Moretti's, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Andigo Credit Union, PreBrand, Gillersons Grubbery, Thermador, Novak and Parker, PRP Wine, and Now Foods, Toasty Cheese, Skeptic Spirits, Cooking Skills Academy, and Chandlers were serving up samples for spectators to try. Each attendee also walked away with a goodie bag filled with treats and specials.