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How to plan your own Kiss-Off Cancer Cook-Off

Your Kiss-Off Cancer Cook-Off can be as detailed or as simple as you like. In Rossland, where Canada’s first ever Cook-Off took place, we had three ways for people to participate:

  • Celebrity chefs were invited to participate, competing against each other to create scrumptious meals using as many cancer-preventive ingredients as possible.
  • Community cooks took part, entering their favourite healthy dishes for prizes.
  • Everyone was invited to enjoy the food. All the delicious dishes were available for sampling at our community’s biggest gourmet pot-luck dinner ever.

You can create a similar event, or just do a pot-luck in your home. Planning details for each type of event are provided here. (link each approach to instructions below).

Simple Approach: An At-Home Pot-Luck Dinner

Invite your friends to a pot-luck with a twist. Provide them with this list of anti-cancer ingredients and ask them to prepare a dish using as many of them as possible to share with friends at your house. Your guests will get a great meal, and learn a lot about a cancer-preventive diet in the process.

Make it a little bigger: Community Pot-Luck Dinner

Expand on the pot-luck idea by inviting the whole community. The concept is the same – give everyone the list of anti-cancer ingredients and ask them to prepare a dish using as many of them as possible to share with friends. You’ll need a bigger venue, perhaps a school or community hall. Set up buffet tables for the food (it helps to separate them by appetizer, main, side and dessert), and arrange tables and chairs for your guests. Using volunteers’ table-cloths makes for a homey atmosphere. If possible, borrow dishes from a local restaurant or caterer and use cloth napkins to keep waste to a minimum. Add some music, a master of ceremonies from your local radio station (that will be a big help in promoting your event), and even some local entertainment, if you like.
Then promote the event among your friends, family and wider community. Use Facebook and Twitter, if you like. Most radio stations and newspapers will promote your event through public service announcements. Simple posters, like this around town will help, too.
Ask your chefs to register before-hand, using a form like this one, so you have an idea of how many dishes will be coming. If they haven’t, be sure everyone registers at the door – chefs and guests. Your volunteers at the door can follow these directions.

Go all out: Add Celebrity Chefs

Plan the community pot-luck, as described above, but also invite Celebrity Chefs from local restaurants to compete with each other for the tastiest, healthiest dishes. Chefs love out-doing each other with great food, and your guests will be in for a real treat! Be sure to provide them with clear instructions on how the event will work, as in this letter.
Make up a small poster, like this one and deliver a couple to each participating restaurant so they can publicize their involvement.


For the Celebrity Chefs, get a judging panel together, perhaps a cooking teacher from your local school or community college, the owner of a kitchen shop, caterers or cooks that aren’t involved, etc. Be sure the chefs complete an anti-cancer ingredient form for each dish. Give the judges this judging sheet to keep track of their scores. Award prizes for best appetizer, best main course and best dessert, with one Grand Prize winner.
Consumer’s Choice Award – Everyone can vote on their favourite dishes – Celebrity Chef and Community Cook, using simple tickets that they drop into a bowl beside the entered dish. Colour-coding helps make sure people don’t put all their votes in one dish – one colour for appetizer, others for main courses, side dishes and desserts. Make sure to put the completed list of anti-cancer ingredients beside each dish, so people learn all about the ingredients that can help prevent cancer.
Add a prize for the top fundraiser – both among the Community and Celebrity chefs.

To raise funds for cancer prevention

  • Ask your guests to contribute to Prevent Cancer Now as ‘admission’ to the dinner. $20 is a great price for a gourmet dinner!
  • Invite all the chefs (Community as well as Celebrity) to register on Prevent Cancer Now’s secure fundraising website (provide link), and ask their friends and colleagues to sponsor them in raising funds for cancer prevention. Add to the competition by awarding prizes to the top fundraiser, both as individuals and among the restaurants.
  • Hold a silent auction. Canvass local businesses and artists to contribute prizes you can auction off.
  • Add a 50/50 draw. Sell tickets and give half the proceeds to the winner; the other half to Prevent Cancer Now.