Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Top Chef's Contest Promotes Selfless Acts of Kindness

With the U.S. unemployment rate currently hovering around 8% and climbing, more people are anxious and depressed. According to a study released this week by the National Sleep Foundation, one third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the economy.

But what about the people who are turning tough times into opportunities for personal growth? What about the people who are looking at the recession as a chance to connect with their communities and help other people in need? "Tough times also have a way of bringing out the best in people," says award-winning chef Clive Berkman.

To help struggling families, Berkman is offering his services as a private chef for one week to the grand prize winner of the "Create Your Own Empty Bottle Moment Contest." "Full bottles speak of possibilities," say
s Berkman. "But empty bottles tell the great stories. How are you impacting other peoples' lives? Did you take your layoff and make it something great√Ďa chance to make the major life shift you always wanted to make but were secretly scared?"

In addition to the grand prize winner, the top 25 entries will receive a free copy of Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking with Clive, which will help them create savory meals for less. The contest is open to all residents in the 50 U.S. states, 18 years and older.

The "Create Your Own Empty Bottle Moment Contest" begins March 15, 2009. To enter, fill out the online entry form at Winners will be announced Memorial Day Weekend, May 2009.

In his new book, Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking with Clive (March 2009, ISBN 978-1-888237-71-9, $30.00, Baxter Press), Berkman shares the empty bottle moments of his guests at one of the finest restaurants in Houston, including the presidential announcement of George H.W.
Bush and cooking steaks for Van Halen. The book also contains menus with recipes from some of Berkman's most memorable meals.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Berkman began his culinary career in the South African Army as a kosher chef. He attended chef training at Cassio College in London. He is best known as the chef, manager, and part owner of Charley's 517 in Houston. Under his guidance, the restaurant achieved many accolades, including The DiRoNa Award and Travel and Holiday magazine's Dining Award. It was one of only three restaurants in Texas to win Wine Spectator magazine's Grand Award. Berkman lives in Houston.

Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking with Clive by Clive Berkman (March 2009, ISBN 978-1-888237-71-9, $30.00, Baxter Press)

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