By Kate Clark
NORTH LOGAN–Cache Valley residents dined in winter coats at the chilly George S. Eccles Ice Center for the seventh annual Spice on Ice charity event recently, raising over $30,000 for the non-profit arena.
“We only expected to earn around $22,000,” said Spice on Ice Chairman Tommy Kite. “This was the most successful event we’ve had in the past few years. It was a pleasant surprise that it turned out so well.”
The money raised every year through Spice on Ice is a major source of funding the non-profit ice center relies on to keep the building open to the community.
The event featured chefs from Tandoori Oven, Elements, Indian Oven, Smokin’ Blues Barbeque, Utah State Catering, Firehouse Pizza and Hamilton’s Steak and Seafood, all locally owned and operated restaurants in the valley. Each chef prepared a signature entrée that was served to participants, who purchased $50 tickets to attend and vote for the dish of their choice. The entrées were also served to four judges–two chefs, a member of the USU dietetics program and the 2008 Spice on Ice Chef of the Year, Scott Norbridge.
After plates were licked clean and participants were moved to a warmer area of the building, executive chef Dustin McKay, from Elements, was announced as winner of this year’s Spice on Ice Chef of the Year for his blue cheese rib-eye steak with mashed potatoes.
“There are so many tastes, so we really had to think about what would appeal to the most people,” said McKay. “We (Elements) pride ourselves on our food, and we hoped that other people would too.”
Although McKay won the major award for the year, Kite commended all of the restaurants that participated in the cook-off.
“All of the chefs put in their best. It’s a big donation on their end. They donate a lot of time and money on the food they prepare for this event.”
Indian Oven chef and owner Ash Oberoi said, “We’re not discouraged. It’s not about winning the contest. This is a great source of fund-raising; it’s about getting together and meeting new people.”
Fee door-dent removals, Utah Jazz tickets and a trip to the Kennedy Space Center were among many items auctioned following the dinner and awards, earning a major portion of the evening’s donations.
The event also featured appetizers from Culinary Concepts, Pounders, Pioneer Valley Lodge, Café Sabor and the Logan Golf and Country Club. Chocolate torte prepared by Dewayne Phillips of USU Dining Services and Café Ibis coffee were served for dessert.
“To raise money is always a good thing,” said Eliza Couch, an attendee. “And I think it’s good for people to try different foods and broaden their horizons.”
Everyone seemed pleased with the evening, especially those who spent countless hours preparing for the event.
“We put in over 900 hours prior to the event to pull off this dinner,” executive director Floyd Naegle said. “We had seven of the top restaurants and chefs. I don’t think there is a place in the state where you can go and sample food like this. We really appreciate the community support.”
Kite agrees. “We’re heavily invested in the ice center and seeing it succeed. It makes us feel good that we’re doing something for the community and giving people a place to come and enjoy themselves.”
(Correction appended April 12: The money raised every year through Spice on Ice is a major source of funding for the non-profit ice center, not the only source.)