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Best Buddies of Iowa will partner with 15 local restaurants and caterers for the 2017 “Chef Challenge,” a tasting competition and auction that raises awareness and funds for the organization’s mission. Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

“I am excited for the Best Buddies Chef Challenge this year. Tumea and Sons Restaurant is back for the third year, and this year my friend George Formaro and one of his restaurants, Centro, are participating because I asked them to come,” says Tyler Steinke who has been involved with Best Buddies most of his life and will be a member of Best Buddies at Drake University.

The Oct. 5 Chef Challenge runs from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines, and will feature hearty appetizers and desserts served by chefs from 15 area restaurants and Best Buddies Iowa buddy pairs. More than 600 attendees are expected to attend this 12th anniversary event. Guests are encouraged to sample the culinary stylings of each chef and vote on a favorite sweet and savory item. Participating restaurants include: Guru BBQ, Brick Street Books & Café, Wasabi Chi, Baru66, Tumea & Sons, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Iowa Taproom, Waterfront Seafood Market, Range Grill & Golf, The Machine Shed, Hy-Vee Market Grille, Centro, Sam & Gabe’s, Echo’s Cookie Shop and Main Street Café & Bakery.  

Best Buddies Iowa matches volunteers from middle schools, high schools, colleges and businesses such as Sammons Financial Group, one-to-one with an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability for a year-long friendship. 

“Our partnership with Best Buddies Iowa has had such a tremendous impact on our organization and employees,” says Mary Buscher of Sammons Financial Group, presenting sponsor of the 2017 Chef Challenge. “While the meaningful relationships and experiences our employees have with their buddies is incredible, we have seen such a positive impact on our entire organization and corporate climate as well.”

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

IF YOU GO: Best Buddies Iowa Chef Challenge
Enjoy small plate appetizers and desserts from 15 local chefs, and a silent and live auction with an evening program hosted by emcee Steve Berry. The proceeds benefit Best Buddies Iowa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing one-to-one friendships and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

When: Thursday, Oct. 5, from 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: 5820 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266
Tickets: $90 per person or $60 for young professionals under the age of 35 and Table sponsorships available starting at $1,250 for a table of 10 at

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