Three Local Chefs to Compete in SPAM-centered Live Cooking Event

Local chefs Jenny Elmes, George Huger and Nathan Fountain will compete in a Food Network-type cooking format in the first Victory Chef Cook-off on Nov. 6 beginning at 2 PM in Marshall Hall on the post at VMI. The public is invited.

The event is co-sponsored by the George C. Marshall Foundation and the Lexington-Buena Vista-Rockbridge Chamber of Commerce. It is a part of the Marshall Legacy Series of events and programs presented under the theme, Let’s Get a Move On, that showcases civilian and industrial mobilization in support of World War II when Gen. George C. Marshall was Army Chief of Staff.

The chefs will be challenged to prepare an entrée and two side dishes using a basket of produce and goods that would have been available to the average citizen at home in the United States during WWII. Plus they must incorporate SPAM, The Hormel Company canned meat product, into their entrée.

Jim Fiala, who is the veterans program manager for Hormel, headquartered in Austin, MN, will talk about his company’s involvement during the war and the unique process Hormel developed to can and preserve SPAM. Fiala and local chef and caterer John Stallard will emcee the event. Stallard owns C.H.E.F.S. Catering in Lexington.
Jenny Elmes owns Full Circle Catering; George Huger owns Southern Inn, and Nathan Fountain owns Mano Tanqueria, all in Lexington.

Judges include Matt Paxton, publisher of The News-Gazette; Col. Patrick Looney, of VMI, and Ben Worth, of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.

Tickets for this event are required and can be purchased for $15 for adults and $5 for students (12 years and older) on the Marshall Foundation website at or $25 per person at the door. Attendees will receive a gift bag of items to take home.

Guests will not only be able to observe the chefs in action and the running commentary by Fiala and Stallard, they will also be able to look at displays of Victory Gardens and 1940s kitchen items, participate in a SPAM quiz, enter a silent auction to win one, two, three or four numbered Norman Rockwell prints of Coca-Cola scenes, try Marshall staff-prepared “SPAMatizers” along with a bottle of Coca-Cola and more.

The Marshall Legacy Series is being presented with sponsorship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Legacy Series interprets General Marshall’s legacy during a four-year series of exhibitions, speakers and programs centered on key themes or episodes from General Marshall’s career.