American Cancer Society Introduces New Gala in West Michigan

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Cancer Society (ACS) along with local partners Huntington Bank, American Culinary Federation, Meijer, Lake Michigan Insurance, and WoodTv8 announce the launch of Taste of Hope: A Chefs Competition. A foodie's dream event, involving chefs competing, guests sampling foods, and auction packages, will be held on November 7, 2022, at Frederik Meijer Gardens. The 2022 inaugural event is presented by Huntington Bank.


"We are thrilled to offer this exciting opportunity to our community to meet the chefs and sample their incredible foods, all to raise money for the American Cancer Society." Said Ken Jansen, President of Lake Michigan Insurance Agency and Chair of the 2022 Taste of Hope event. "This year all the funds raised will go toward researchers in Michigan working to find answers to end cancer. We have the talent to find the answers here. We are confident this investment in Michigan research will pay off in the long run."

There will be 16 Chefs competing for awards including: Best Taste, Best Display, Best Presentation, People's Choice, and Top Chef. Chefs include:

  • Chef Phong Nguyen, Monsoon Grill
  • Chef Balal Darwich, Shkode' Gun Lake Casino 
  • Chef Danielle Nicole Garlock, Lucy's
  • Chef Joseph VanHorn, YoChef's Catering
  • Chef Alan Thompson, Apache Trout Grill
  • Chef John Taylor, Red Water Grill
  • Chef Oscar Moreno, MEXO
  • Chef Mick Rickerd, Spectrum Health
  • Chef Stephan VanHeulen, MDRD
  • Chef Bryan Nader, Trinity Health
  • Chef Lucas VerHulst,  Reserve
  • Chef Jennifer Struik, Private Chef 
  • Chef Trimell Hawkins, Private Chef
  • Chef Michael Santo, River & Odi
  • Chef Spencer Drudy, Terra
  • Chef Maggie Thiel, Beacon Hill

Taste of Hope Culinary Chair, Shawn Kohlhaas, Owner of Culinary Cultivations and President of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) said "ACF is honored to work with these talented chefs for the event and be able to highlight their skills at this meaningful event. About 60% of our Chefs have had their own personal experiences with cancer in their families, so they are happy to give back to American Cancer Society."

In 2021, the American Cancer Society in Michigan raised $6 million. In turn, ACS invested over $13 million into Michigan's cancer research, programs, grants, and services. $2.4 million has been directed to West Michigan partners including Spectrum Health, Trinity Health, University of Michigan West, Michigan State University, Van Andel Institute, and more to help implement the best care, top notch programs, and impactful research.

Over 6,000 Michigan residents called ACS' National Cancer Support line in 2021. Locally, ACS' Road to Recovery program, put on hold during the pandemic, is slated to begin offering rides to residents this winter or in the first quarter of 2023. Locally, ACS staff members serve on several area cancer support collaborations, cancer committees, and programs.

"We believe that through research, patient support and advocacy we can change the way West Michigan residents experience cancer in our community. And we could not do any of this without the support of our amazing volunteers. They are the key," added Susan Brogger, ACS Associate Director of West Michigan.

Sponsors for Taste of Hope: A Chefs Competition is presented by Huntington Bank. Additional sponsors include: Meijer, Lake Michigan Credit Union and Lake Michigan Insurance, Mercantile Bank, Montell Construction, Priority Health, Alliance Beverage, Serendipity Media, Wood TV 8, American Culinary Federation and Culinary Cultivations. To learn more about the event visit or email

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is on a mission to free the world from cancer. We invest in lifesaving research, provide 24/7 information and support, and work to ensure that individuals in every community have access to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. For more information, visit

Media Relations Contact:
Ginger Feldman
1 (616) 550-4995

The American Cancer Society. (PRNewsfoto/American Cancer Society Ohio, West Virginia)
The American Cancer Society. (PRNewsfoto/American Cancer Society Ohio, West Virginia)(PRNewswire)

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SOURCE American Cancer Society Michigan

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