The 11th Annual Dave Thomas Celebrity Cookoff to benefit Three Rivers Adoption Council (TRAC) was smoking.

On Sept. 21 Benihana Japanese Steak House was closed to the public for the annual cookoff featuring celebrity chefs from the worlds of sports, media, business, government, arts and entertainment.

THE COOKS WERE CUTE—Tene Croom (AURN) and Kimberly Easton.

Many of the cooks were old pros at chopping and flipping shrimp, steak and veggies. Others were novices to welding the sharp knives and forks but the guests knew they were there for a good cause and didn’t mind the delay in their meals.

TRAC has served for more than 30 years as the region’s central resource for adoption information and referral services, support and education. TRAC was founded by adoptive parents and professionals and established as a volunteer staffed project of the Junior League of Pittsburgh. Today TRAC includes a consortium of 31 adoption agencies, adoptive parent groups and community agencies. It is the only agency that recruits families for public and private agencies throughout western Pennsylvania.

Spotted over the hibachi’s were Lynne Hayes Freeland (KDKA); Brenda Waters (KDKA); Chris Fennimore (WQED-TV); Danielle Smith (WGBN); Danielle Nottingham (WPXI); Judge Dwayne Woodruff with son John; Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle; Walt Maddox (the Marcels); Johnny Angel and the Halos; Orlana Darkins (The Darkins Group); and Emmai Alaquiva (Ya Monz House).

After the main course it was out to the tents for the hot auction items and dessert. The hot auction items included two tickets to a live viewing of the “David Letterman Show” (including airfare and one night’s hotel lodging), a one week getaway to Seven Springs Mountain Resort and two tickets to see the Pittsburgh Steelers play at Heinz Field (Nov. 21 against Oakland).

Thomas would have been proud of the great turnout for the TRAC cookoff. Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, was adopted as a child and worked as a national adoption advocate, generating awareness for the thousands of children waiting in foster care nationwide.

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