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In continued partnership with the NAACP, Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs and Aramark teamed up to welcome 15 black chefs who own local Cleveland restaurants, food trucks, and catering businesses to The Q for the 2nd Annual Launch Test Kitchen Food Tasting & Business Development Experience on Thursday, January 10th.
After a successful event in 2018, over 50 local eateries applied to be selected to participate in this special event where chefs prepared their signature dishes for invited guests and judges to sample and vote on their favorite items.
The first and second place winners were awarded over $2,000 in cash awards and prizes and will be featured at the Cavaliers Black Heritage Celebration (BHC) game on February 11th vs. the New York Knicks at The Q. Participants will also have the opportunity to be selected by Aramark to have items from their menu featured as part of their culinary rotation at The Q’s Launch Test Kitchen this season. All participants received tickets to an upcoming Cavs game, as well as Cavs merchandise and gear.
The event also provided participants the opportunity to network with other local chefs and industry professionals. Moderated by Alberta Lee, Cavs VP of Human Resources and LaRese Purnell, Founder of the Real Black Friday, participants and guests heard from a panel of chefs from last year’s winning eateries, as well as Danielle Sydnor, President Elect of the NAACP Cleveland Branch and Len Komoroski, Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena CEO.
“We’re excited that the success of last year’s event made this year possible. As our city and region continues to expand and grow economically, it is because of partnerships like this, with the Cavs, that we can ensure black owned businesses continue to have expanded access to economic opportunity,” said Danielle Sydnor, President Elect NAACP, Cleveland Branch.
Chefs were judged based on taste, variety and presentation. The winners in each category were as follows:
“We’re lucky to have so many great eateries in Cleveland and the surrounding areas. Through our partnership with the NAACP, we’re excited to provide these businesses another platform to showcase their menu with the goal of spurring additional entrepreneurial opportunities for them,” said Len Komoroski, Cavs CEO. “Community engagement and inclusion is a core part of who we are and we’re thankful to have a great partner in the NAACP to collaborate with on this impactful event for the second consecutive year.”
This is the second year that the Cavs, Quicken Loans Arena, the NAACP and Aramark have hosted this event. Last year’s winners included Cleveland Mofongo, Frederick’s Wine & Dine and Pearl Flower Catering, who all had items from their menu featured at Launch Test Kitchen last season and have been tapped to provide catering in one of the arena’s membership spaces during a series of Cavs home games this season.
ABOUT LAUNCH TEST KITCHEN:
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.