Originally created 06/14/06

Aiken Fundraiser leaves good taste in many hungry mouths



Jennifer Rozovich minced no words about Rufus Britt's fried turkey.

"It's a winner," said Ms. Rozovich, who attended the Aiken's Cookin' with Celebrity Chefs fundraiser Friday at the Rye Patch in Aiken.

Twenty-five chefs served a variety of dishes - from fried corn to strawberry soup - to more than 200 ticket holders. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Mental Health Association of Aiken County.

Guests chefs included Aiken County Sheriff Mike Hunt and his deputies, Aiken Department of Public Safety Capt. Wendell Hall and his officers, and members of the Aiken County Board of Disabilities and the Aiken Housing Authority.

"It smells good in here," said Liz Neal, the event chairwoman.

"We are very excited about the acceptance of the event from the community," Ms. Neal said. "They just really enjoy it and we have several chefs that come back year after year after year."

Michelle Simpkins, the executive director of the association, said the money generated by the fundraiser can be used in any manner the nonprofit sees fit. Grant money tends to be specific in its use, she said.

Kathryn Wade said she enjoyed the event as she sampled some ravioli.

"It's a lot of fun," said Ms. Wade. "It's a way to sample good food and enjoy people in the community."

Don Sprawls, an Aiken city councilman and assistant chief for the Aiken Volunteer Fire Department, contributed a dish for the event with the assistance of his wife, Billie, and their daughter Laurie. Their shrimp chowder recipe was created by Mrs. Sprawls' father, who was a shrimper.

"All you do is put all the ingredients in there and put the shrimp in last . When the shrimp turn pink you're ready to eat," she said.

Reach Nathan Dickinson at (803) 648-1395, ext. 109 or nathan.dickinson@augustachronicle.com.