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Testosterone fuels the culinary talents of the 100 armchair chefs competing in today's Real Men Cook benefit for the Women's Alliance for Recovery Services. And you can thank Sylvia Pacifico for making sure the foodie roster for the 20th annual cook-off is strictly male-dominated. "I am known for not taking 'no' for an answer," says Pacifico, the agency's director. "I meet men from all walks of life and lifestyles. After I meet them, my first question is 'Do you like to cook?'" The line must work. This year's cast of cooks includes Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook, WKYC-TV 3 host Fred Griffith, and WJW-TV 8 reporter Tom Merriman. To make the contest fair, contestants try to impress a panel of judges in several divisions, such as entrées, side dishes, and desserts. There are also categories for media personalities, professional cooks, and the kid-friendly "future chefs." And if you're looking for experience, search no more. At least 20 of the chefs have been competing in the fund-raiser for at least 10 straight years. "I am blessed with all the men that have been supportive of us," says Pacifico. "The minute they say yes, they become part of the family, and we never let them go." Judging is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today at the Holiday Inn Select, 1111 Lakeside Avenue. Admission is $14 in advance and $15 at the door. Call 216-575-9120 or visit
Fri., May 2, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 2008
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