Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: January

This month’s philanthropic events: the winners of a pork showdown, and Swedish pottery

Winner, Winner, Pork Dinner

WHAT: Winners of 28th Annual Taste of Elegance 
WHEN: January 15
WHERE: Minneapolis Hilton 
WHY: A culinary competition that showcases the versatility of pork and the creativity of chefs with the winner going on to compete in the nationals. This year’s top recipe was created by Chef Jeff LaBeau, chef/owner of the Depot Bar and Grill in Faribault. His Cast Iron Apple Smoked Pork Rib Chop and Smoked Pork Butt Corn Cake with Apple-Bacon Jam and Grits Flavored with Hocks and Bellies won the first prize. Other winners this year included chef Tim McCardy, executive chef at the Mayo Foundation House in Rochester, chef Matt Brown, chef/owner of Estelle’s Eatery in Harmony, chef John Van, house corporate executive chef at Grand Casino in Onamia.

INSIDER INFO: Minnesota Monthly‘s Joy Summers was one of the judges for this year’s contest. Besides winning the trip to represent the Minnesota Pork Board at the 2018 National Pork Summit competition in the spring, chef LaBeau also won $1,500. Chef Tim McCardy was the second-place winner as well as the Best Table Display winner and was the top winner in 2001. Hosting the event for the past umpteen years was chef Julian Granger, executive chef at the Minneapolis Hilton, who was a winner himself in 1996. 

Swedish Bowls

WHAT: Craft Bowl 
WHEN: January 19, opening-night party, 7–9 p.m.
WHERE: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave. S.
WHY: To showcase the Art of the Handmade through April 8, highlighting identity, heritage, and sustainability with vessels in various media, from wood to glass to ceramics, by Swedish masters.

INSIDER INFO: Opening-night party includes hands-on activities, craft demonstrations, food and drinks, and a live performance by Swedish master Jogge Sundquist, where “wood, sweat, and woodchips” mix with rock and roll. $15 to $20 for opening night party, $10 museum admission. Learn more.

Check back each month for Sue Z.’s philanthropic event picks

Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her buzzing around from event to event throughout the Twin Cities, helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.