Three GRCC alumni facing off in kitchen competition in Chopped Grand Rapids, raising money for Haitian children

Four West Michigan chefs — three with Grand Rapids Community College ties — will compete in a live cooking competition to fund humanitarian relief and scholarships for Haiti.

The third annual Chopped Grand Rapids kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight at GLC Live at 20 Monroe. The competition, based on the Food Network show “Chopped!,” features three rounds in which chefs create dishes from a mystery basket of ingredients. Tickets can be purchased at

Facing off in the competition are:

  • Jenn Fillenworth, a GRCC alumna and a Secchia Institute for Culinary Education instructor, and executive chef at Root Functional Medicine. 
  • Trimell Hawkins, executive chef at Portico restaurant and an alumnus of GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.
  • Oscar Moreno, executive chef at MeXo and the 2019 Chopped Grand Rapids winner.
  • Luke VerHulst, executive chef at Reserve Wine and Food and an alumnus of GRCC’s Welding Technology program.

Filllenworth has had success in competitions. She was the winner in Food Network’s “Supermarket Stakeout” television show in January. The game show requires chefs to stake out a grocery store parking lot and convince shoppers to sell them their purchases. The chefs then must create dishes based on different themes.

Matt Sova and WOOD TV 8’s Rachel Ruiz will serve as emcees, and Martha’s Vineyard will provide a roaming dinner.

The fundraiser also includes live and silent auctions. Proceeds will benefit victims of the August earthquake in Haiti and the nonprofit Power of Education, which provides education, nutrition and access to medical care to students in grades K-9 in Port-au-Prince.

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