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– Photos by John Meiu

Annual Bench-Bar culinary event stirs Eastern Market to raise funds for charities

A “Grilling Good” time took place at the 11th Annual Bench-Bar Culinary Challenge June 13 at the Eastern Market in Detroit.  The event, organized by independent group of judges and lawyers, featured the “Grilled From the Bench” team of Judges Connie Kelley, Kathleen McCarthy, Shalina Kumar, Kathleen Ryan, and Qiana Lillard. Cooking for the “Grilled By the Hour” team were Symantha Heath, Susan Elkouri, Elizabeth Jolliffe, Jeff Feikens, Vincent Manzella, and Randall Chioini. The event served as a fund-raiser for the WLAM Foundation Student Scholarship Fund, Alternatives for Girls, and Crossroads for Youth, and raised more than $30,000 to be evenly divided among the three.

PHOTO #1: The “Grilled By the Hour” team included: (lleft to right) Susan Elkouri and Symantha Heath of Elkouri Heath, PLC; Randall Chioini of the Chioini Group; Vincent Manzella of Lucido & Manzella, PC; Jeff Feikens of Beier Howlett, PC; and Elizabeth Jolliffe of Your Benchmark Coach. The team won the grilling competition again with this year’s offering of Chioini and Manzella’s breaded veal focaccia sandwiches; Jolliffe and Feikens’ Korean style sesame grilled beef lettuce wraps; and Elkouri and Heath’s shrimp and margaritas. Grilled From the Bench came in a close second with tasty lamb chops, pork chops, and sliders. A gelato stand added zest to the festivities.

PHOTO #2: The “Grilled From the Bench” contingent included the likes of (lleft to right) Bridget Tyes, Gerald Tate, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, Marsha Tate, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen McCarthy, Zachary Boulahanis, George Malis, Oakland County Circuit Court Chief Judge Shalina Kumar, Jay Cunningham, and Oakland Probate Court Chief Judge Kathleen Ryan.

PHOTO #3: Enjoying the taste of the event were (lleft to right) attorney Olivia Vizachero, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris, and retired Wayne County 36th District Court Judge Ruth Carter.

PHOTO #4: Among those on hand for the Culinary Challenge were (left to right) Keela Johnson, Roger Cardamone, Laura Cardamone, and Tracey Yokich.