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Hatfield men hit the kitchen for Men Who Cook fundraiser

“Just about every male on the faculty at Smith Academy is making something,” said Ken Longstreeth, who is the band director and event organizer. “We also have parents, police officers, a couple of people who are caterers in town and the chef from Chez Albert in Amherst,” he said.

The fundraiser, which will benefit the STARHS (Supporting the Arts in Hatfield Schools) program, has been marinating for several months.

“This has been about a year in the making,” said parent Anthony “Tiger” Thomas. “Ken came to me at homecoming last year and told me about the idea that he had, and I was sold.”

Longstreeth said that he had been looking for an innovative way to raise money for the arts, when a teacher from Granby told him about the Men Who Cook fundraisers.

“I did a little research online and found that other organizations have successfully done this Men Who Cook event,” Longstreeth said. “I thought it was a great idea and started thinking about how we could pull it off.”

The buffet will be set up in the gymnasium and staffed by cooks who will be wearing specially made black aprons sporting the event’s logo, which was created by Smith Academy student Jennifer Sikorski.

“The whole idea is that everyone will get a small sampling of all of the dishes, kind of like a ‘taste of’ sort of event,” said Longstreeth, who is whipping up a chicken cacciatore.

Thomas said he is looking forward to making his contribution to the buffet.

“It is a great time to do this with the all that is available from the fall harvest,” Thomas said. “I think I will do a Cajun grilled shrimp with a butternut squash puree over penne pasta,” he said.

According to Longstreeth, the buffet will be able to serve about 150 people. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for children under 5.

Both Thomas and Longstreeth said they hope this will turn into an annual fundraising event.

“Right now we don’t have a particular monetary goal that we want to reach. This year we are just trying to get it off the ground,” Thomas said. “We are hoping to make this a tradition.”

The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Smith Academy is located at 34 School St. in Hatfield.

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