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Hope House Announces Teams for 2023 ‘Men Who Cook’ Competition

COVINGTON – On Sunday, Nov. 5, 17 celebrity + restaurant teams will go head to head in a competitive cook-off to raise money for Children’s Advocacy Center – Hope House at the 10th annual Men Who Cook gala. The event will take place from 4-7 p.m. on the rooftop of the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center Parking Garage in Downtown Covington.

Each participating team, comprised of a local government or business leader paired with a top local restaurant, will prepare tastings of a favorite dish for attendees to sample. And for the first time ever, Hope House will welcome several female community leaders to the celebrity roster!

“What began a decade ago as a rallying call to the men of our community to stand up for the defenseless has turned into a much greater collective effort to put an end to child abuse in St. Tammany and Washington parishes,” says Executive Director Thomas Mitchell. “Hope House has received such an overwhelming response from both men and women who are passionate about our cause and want to take a stand for our community’s children. We are honored to include female leaders in our event moving forward!”

Teams will compete for the title of Judges’ Choice, People’s Choice and Most Money Raised for Hope House. This year’s teams include:

  • Kim Carver and Bradley Cook with Sweet Olive Market and Bakery
  • DA Warren Montgomery and Tavi
  • Brandt Quick and Green Fork
  • Heather Rietschel and Impastato Cellars
  • Benjamin Richaud and The Gloriette
  • Nick LaRocca and Abita Roasting Co. Covington
  • Sheriff Randy Smith and DiCristina’s Italian and Seafood Restaurant
  • Elizabeth Westervelt and LOLA Restaurant
  • Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Tchefuncte’s
  • Dr. Matthew Bernard and Half Shell Oyster House
  • Adam Acquistapace and Acquistapace’s
  • Jennifer Nolen and Meribo
  • Rick Smith and Valencia Restaurant
  • Vernon Chagnard, John Gutierrez and Jim Yancey with Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux
  • Clerk of Court Melissa Henry and Pardos
  • Frank Richerand and Giddy Up Folsom
  • Jared Miguez and Rusty Pelican

To access each team’s fundraising page, visit

Hope House begins and continues the healing process for victims of child abuse. It is the only local agency that provides essential services like forensic interviews and free counseling to victims in St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. The organization is primarily funded through private donations and grants, and Men Who Cook is its largest annual fundraiser.

“In 2022, Hope House conducted 445 forensic interviews with new child abuse victims – up 27% from 2021’s recording-breaking year. We are on track to surpass that record again by leaps and bounds in 2023,” says Mitchell. “The incredible support we’ve received from our community and Men Who Cook participants has never been more critical than it is right now. We are so grateful for all of our supporters who are making a huge impact in the lives of local children who desperately need our help.”

The public is encouraged to participate in pre-event online “tipping” toward their favorite team(s) from now through 11:59 PM on November 4th, which will aggregate towards the Most Money Raised for Hope House Award. Teams will be hosting their own unique promotions and events in the weeks prior to the Men Who Cook gala to raise money for the cause. Men Who Cook attendees can also tip their favorite team(s) at the gala on Nov. 5, which will determine the People’s Choice Award.

New this year, the Men Who Cook gala will include an online silent auction, featuring a variety of luxury items and unique experiences. Those who are unable to attend the gala on Nov. 5 can still bid on their favorite items online beginning in October. The event will also include live music by Groovy 7, and complimentary wine, beer and cocktails. Event tickets are $80/single, $150/couple or $800/reserved table for 8 (limited availability), and can be purchased online at Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early, as this event did sell out in advance in 2022.


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