Fewer "Big Chefs" are participating in this year's signature fundraiser for Louie's Kids, a change that the anti-obesity organization's founder characterizes as a return to the event's roots.
"We had grown substantially over the last many years," Louis Yuhasz says. "More and more chefs wanted to come on board."
At last year's cooking competition, a dozen local chefs were paired up with children enrolled in the non-profit's weight-loss program. (The Grocery's Kevin Johnson and Miracle Mozzee were declared winners on the strength of their pork lettuce wraps.) For the sixth edition of Little Chef Big Chef, the roster has been pared down to four chefs: Circa 1886's Marc Collins, Cypress' Craig Deihl, Charleston Grill's Michelle Weaver and Mike Lata, who's hosting Monday's event at The Ordinary.
According to Yuhasz, Louie's Kids is finding other ways for chefs to contribute to the organization: There's talk of repeating the event in January with a different cast, and Nashville chef Matt Bolus has expressed interest in bringing Little Chef Big Chef to Tennessee.
Chefs involved in the event at The Ordinary have been working with their mentees since the start of the summer, Yuhasz says.
"It's been wonderful to see the kids spend so much time with their chefs," Yuhasz says.
Collins, for example, last week spent three hours making ketchup with his mentee. And Weaver asked her mentee to present a dish to the front-of-the-house staff at her restaurant.
"I can't explain what that means, having these kids speak in front of others and challenging themselves in new ways that they've never had to do before," Yuhasz says.
Ticket availability has been scaled back along with the size of the chef class: Only 80 tickets are being sold to Monday's 7 p.m. dinner. Tickets are priced at $150, and can be purchased by calling The Ordinary at 414-7060.