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Cook-off benefit features ‘chocolate, chowder and chili dishes

Date: 2/7/2014

By Lori Szepelak

WESTFIELD – The top-selling cupcake at Mama Cakes is called Chocolate Indulgence, and mini versions will be among the delectable choices at the YMCA of Greater Westfield’s annual Chocolate, Chowder and Chili Cook-Off on March 8.

“Chocolate Indulgence is a triple chocolate cupcake, with chocolate buttercream, dipped in chocolate and topped with chocolate bits,” Kim McNutt, owner of Mama Cakes, said during a recent interview with Reminder Publications.

“I will be up very early that morning baking 300 cupcakes,” said McNutt, adding that it also takes more than an hour just to decorate the tops of the cupcakes once they have cooled.

McNutt’s husband Charles and daughter Bella, 8, will be on hand at the YMCA to hand out the tasty treats.

“I have to operate the store since Saturday is our busiest day,” she said.

McNutt’s motto is “cupcakes make everything better” and on a visit to her shop at 40 Elm St., in addition to the Chocolate Indulgence cupcakes, there were also a wide variety of cupcakes to choose from, ranging from cookies and cream, vanilla dream, marshmallow brownie, mint chocolate chip, coconut dream and cookie dough. Cupcakes range in size from a “Baby” for $1 to a “Big Daddy” for $3.50.

The cook-off fundraiser is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the GP room at the YMCA on Court Street.

“We try to support the community as much as we can and with this event we can be an integral part of it,” McNutt said. McNutt is one of the original participants in the city’s popular fundraiser.

Cindy Agan, fitness director at the YMCA, noted that in conjunction with its youth scholarship fund, Partners with Youth, the beneficiary organization this year is the Westfield Fire Department.

“The money we raise will help purchase an intricate piece of fire hose nozzle,” Agan said.

“Chefs will have the opportunity to showcase their cooking skills by cooking either a chili, chowder or a sweet chocolate delight,” Agan said, noting that chili and chowder have to be cooked in a Board of Health approved kitchen.

“There is no cost to participate,” said Agan, however, participants are asked to reserve a table as soon as possible to ensure one’s food item, name or restaurant’s name is listed on the ballot.

Participants signed up at press time include the city’s police and fire departments, Mrs. Murphy’s Donuts, Peppermill Catering Service, The Arbors, Hetty Van Oostveen Catering Service, Moolicious Farm, G.I.L.T.E. Phyl’s Bakery, Mama Cakes and the Westfield Rotary Club.

Area residents attending are given a ballot to choose their favorite item in each category and all votes will be tallied by 1 p.m.

“The voting process is in the spirit of fun with the main goal of fundraising,” Agan said. “The YMCA provides the room, tables, and the paper goods. Participants may decorate their table with any business paraphernalia to help promote one’s business.”

“This is a great way to help a good cause, enjoy the members of our community, and have a fun time,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased at the YMCA starting Feb. 24 for $7 each or $25 for four tickets. Tickets at the door will be $10. Children two and younger are free.

For more information, contact Agan at 568-8631, ext. 323 or