Gent Cooking

Hollis Thomas cooks at a previous Gourmet Gents event. (Photo provided)

Convincing people to eat good food is often an easy proposition, especially if it’s for a good cause. A perfect example is the Indianapolis Chapter of 100 Black Women’s 25th Annual Gourmet Gents celebration Sept. 7. The event uses the culinary talents of 40 to 50 local men to fundraise for the organization’s outreach programs. 

“If you like a fun evening full of lots of activities, good fellowship, meeting new people and networking, you need to come to Gourmet Gents,” Cynthia Oda, president of the Indianapolis Chapter of 100 Black Women, said. “… It’s just a cool time to come and see what 100 Black Women, Indianapolis Chapter, is doing.”

The event features fun activities including dancing, a silent fashion show where the models walk among the crowd instead of on a stage and games such as the height game where contestants win raffle tickets equivalent in height to the tallest person they can find. In between the fun and games, representatives from the chapter share the organization’s recent work and the projects the event supports.

“It’s a good time and a good place for us to talk about some of our programs that we’ve done because those are the things people are supporting,” Oda said. 

Gourmet Gents is the organization’s only fundraiser. Oda said the event raises between $20,000 and $25,000, with all the profits going directly to the organization’s programs which include Sister-Nomic$, a financial literacy program, and the Breakthrough Women Awards, a celebration of local women’s achievements. The Academy for Girls, an after-school program for middle and high school girls at Tindley Schools, also is a major recipient. Members of 100 Black Women mentor the students and instruct them on topics ranging from health to finances. 

 “It’s a true party with a purpose,” Sheila Bonds, second vice president of the Indianapolis Chapter of 100 Black Women, said.

Gourmet Gents’ main attraction is the food. Local men, lovingly referred to as “gents,” run buffet-style stations where they serve their signature dish which can range from shrimp to cobbler. Some gents are professional cooks while some do it as a hobby. 

“I’ve heard very few complaints from patrons who are at the event and tasting the food,” said Richard Bonds, Sheila’s father-in-law who has cooked at every Gourmet Gents event.

For the 25th annual event, Richard will serve his signature dish: a peach cobbler. He’s sure it will be a hit. 

“The most important thing is I cook my peaches before I put them into the pan to bake,” Richard said. “… It makes them soft. If you ever had a peach pie or cobbler someplace and the peaches are not soft, in my opinion it impacts the pie.”

Gents must purchase the ingredients, dedicate the day of the event to cooking enough food for hundreds of people and then spend hours on their feet serving attendees. Despite the commitment, Richard said cooking for the event is still fun because the men often playfully brag about their dish being the best and compete with each other for who can get the most people to try their food.

“It’s gratifying to see so many patrons there enjoying the meals and seeing the men fellowship with one another,” Richard said

Oda is also looking forward to socializing at the event, which offers a relaxing atmosphere for members to have fun while still supporting the mission of 100 Black Women.

“If it’s an event you’ve never been to, you do not want to miss it,” Oda said. “I guarantee you if you go to Gourmet Gents 2019 you are going to have fun and support a good cause all at once.”

Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.

 

Get your tickets to the 25th Annual Gourmet Gents 

Tickets are almost gone, so get one today. 

When: 6-11 p.m. Sept. 7

Where: 502 East Event Center, 502 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel

RSVP: Contact Sheila Bonds at 317-224-8075 or Ncbw@indy.org.

Price: $75

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