Horizons Pick a Dish serves up success in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Horizons Pick a Dish serves up success in Craig

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Acceptance, love, food and fun were the main ingredients of the Pick a Dish event sponsored by Horizons Specialized Services Thursday night in Craig.

The organization brought local restaurant chefs and Horizons' clients together to cook food for community members in an effort to raise money for the nonprofit.

Horizons was formed in 1975 to help Northwest Colorado residents with developmental disabilities thrive within the community, and the Pick a Dish fundraiser pairs cooks with those enrolled in the organization's program.

A panel of judges tasted each dish and voted on their favorite fare, boosting the confidence and morale of those who participated.

"I just love it all… the atmosphere and the people who show up. I get to learn stuff that I didn't know," said Jeremy Gohr, who is a member of the Horizons program.

His mom really appreciated the opportunity that the event provided for her son.

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"It's really important for him to have that interaction," Donna Gohr said. "It helps his self confidence."

The function raised roughly $2,000 from the event and another $1,200 in corporate sponsorships.

It's the third year that Horizons organized the event, and all proceeds go towards helping the nonprofit continue its work in the community. Horizons works in five Northwest Colorado counties — Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson.

"We're so excited. We all look forward to this event every year. It just feels great to be able to share the evening with all of the people in the community," said Susan Mizen, executive director of Horizons.

It's also an opportunity to give those with developmental disabilities an opportunity to work in a group setting and perhaps get them a job working at a restaurant.

"I think I like being a part of a group, and I truly love meeting people," said Juilanne Malley who is in the Horizons program.

Stacks Smokehouse — a new restaurant in Craig — won first place by the judges.

"It's good, real good," said Bill Mason who won helped Stack's Chef Shane Burum cook its winning dish called Jalapeño Barbecue Baby Shrimp Napoleon.

Second place went to Castle Ranch, which is a restaurant within the Clarion Inn & Suites. Jamie Ogden helped chef Michael Mathern and Sous Chef Braden West prepare the meal for the event. Ogden also works for the Clarion.

Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant captured third place.

The ultimate goal is create acceptance among those with disabilities and community members. It opens doors for Horizons clients to be involved with local companies that could potentially hire them, said Michael Toothaker, the adult coordinator at Horizons.

Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@craigdailypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.

Pick a Dish

Judges:

Renee Campbell

Brent Curtice

Sandra Gardner

Lewis and Lorrae Moon

Corrie Ponikvar

Judges Choice Winners:

First Place: Stacks Smokehouse

Second Place: Castle Ranch Steakhouse

Third Place: Vallarta’s

People’s Choice Winners:

First Place: Castle Ranch

Second Place: TMH Mountain Café

Third Place: Carelli’s

Participating restaurants:

Vallarta’s — Chef Roy Nunez paired with Bobby Holmberg

Castle Ranch — Chef Mike Mathern paired with Jamie Ogden and Ashleigh Santistevan

Mountain Café — Pat Padilla paired with Melinda Orr

Brother’s Custom Processing — Jessica Sorensen paired with Don McLeslie

Carelli’s — Chef Matt Hoffman was paired with Mike Adams

Stacks Smokehouse — Chef Shane Burum paired with Bill Mason

Gino’s — Joe Belcher paired with Jeremy Gohr