Cavs Partners Host Food Tasting and Business Workshop

In continued partnership with the NAACP, Aramark Food Services, the Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena welcomed 18 minority chefs who own local restaurants, food trucks, and catering businesses to participate in an inaugural Launch Test Kitchen Food Tasting & Business Development Experience on Thursday, December 7th. Participants were selected from over 60 applicants to be a part of this special event where they prepared their signature dishes for guests in attendance who sampled and voted on their favorite chefs of the day.

The event provided participants the opportunity to network with other industry professionals and receive a behind-the-scenes tour of The Q’s Launch Test Kitchen concept. Participants heard from Danielle Sydnor, chair of the economic development committee of Cleveland's NAACP; Mozelle Jackson, Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena Executive Vice President/CFO; Kevin Kearney, Aramark District Manager; and April Thompson, Wild Thymez Catering and previous partner chef of Launch Test Kitchen.

"Today the Cavs, Aramark, and Quicken Loans Arena demonstrated how large anchor institutions can partner to create access for historically underrepresented populations. The NAACP Cleveland Branch was excited to partner on such an innovative event that will go down as a launching pad for future opportunities and an example of the power of collaboration," said Danielle Sydnor, chair of the economic development committee of Cleveland's NAACP.

“Today’s event is a great example of the types of innovative opportunities we continue to create and make possible through our collaboration with the NAACP,” said Mozelle Jackson, Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena Executive Vice President/CFO. “Community engagement and inclusion is a core part of our approach to operating and we’re thankful to have such a great partner in the NAACP. The lasting impact and growth that can be stimulated through programs like this is very rewarding for all of us.”

Chefs were judged based on quality, variety and presentation of dishes. Over $2,000 in cash awards and prizes were presented to the first and second place winners in the following categories:

1st Place Dine-In: Cleveland Mofongo (Akia Booker and Eric Roman)
2nd Place Dine-In: Frederick's Wine & Dine (Frederick Parks Jr)

1st Place Take-Out: Sam Sylk's Chicken and Fish (Sam Sylk)
2nd Place Take-Out: Beckham's B&M BBQ (Greg Beckham)

1st Place Catering/Private Chef: Pearl Flower Catering (Tiwanna Williams)
2nd Place Catering/Private Chef: Good To Go! (Ingrid Miller)

All participating chefs received two tickets to an upcoming Cavs game at The Q as well as Cavs merchandise and gear.

The Launch Test Kitchen is a first-of-its-kind transformational concession concept that features a rotating menu of Cleveland chef concepts throughout the Cavs season and allows real-time fan feedback. A real-life “test kitchen,” where everything from the menu, to the equipment and overall aesthetic, can transform from event to event. Located on The Q’s main concourse at Sec. 126.

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