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CEOs apron-up for CookOff

Thirty six celebrity chefs from Australia’s top kitchens joined forces on Monday night (Feb 11) with business leaders cooking for 1,000 Sydneysiders in need and raising over AUD$1 million for charity.

A joint initiative of OzHarvest and Qantas, the CEO CookOff aims to increase awareness of excess food which could be used to feed disadvantaged Australians, with a special focus in 2013 on women and youth in crisis.

Celebrity chefs stepping up to the plate included Pete Evans, Maggie Beer, Peter Gilmore, Miguel Maestre and Guillaume Brahimi who will join Rockpool Director and Qantas Executive Chef, Neil Perry AM to design and produce a meal.

CEOs paid AUD$1500 to register and this year’s aim was to raise more than last year’s total of AUD$945,000. They did it easily, raising AUD$1,029,824.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce joined other CEOs and business leaders from a diverse range of industries including Justin Hemmes from Merivale, Terry Davis from Coca-Cola Amatil Limited, Rachel Argaman from Toga Hotels, Barry Robinson from Wyndham and Geoff Wilson from KPMG – just to name a few.

Of the travel and tourism CEOs, the leaders were:
-Alan Joyce, Qantas: $57,948
-Justin Hemmes, Merivale: $34,030
-Barry Robinson, Wyndham: $21,920
-Lesley Grant, Qantas Loyalty: $18,680
-Sarina Bratton, Orion Expedition Cruises: $15,205
-Rachel Argaman, Toga Hotels: $14,110
-Jayne Hrdlicka, Jetstar Airways: $6765

Each chef took charge of an outdoor kitchen and led a team of CEOs to prepare, plate and serve three courses.

Joyce said he was proud to be putting on an apron to support such a worthy cause.

“This event gives the nation’s business leaders a unique opportunity to give back to the community,” he said.

“Corporate leaders have helped raise awareness of the problem of food security as they prepare food and share a meal with those less fortunate.”

OzHarvest founder and CEO Ronni Kahn said funds raised at the event will allow her organisation to deliver at least one million meals to those in need.

“Thanks to the generous support of our participating CEOs and the efforts of our wonderful chefs, we will also be able to continue our new educational training program, NEST, which provides vulnerable Australians with life skills as well as better budgeting, dietary awareness and food preparation skills,” she said.

All proceeds will be shared between OzHarvest, The Big Issue and ONE80TC.

Guests on the night were entertained by legendary Australian rock band Icehouse.

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