Michael Symon to Replace Wolfgang Puck as Host Chef of UH’s Five Star Sensation


Since its inception in 1987, the biennial Five Star Sensation has raised more than $16 million for University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. And throughout the entire flourishing run, the Honorary Chair has been celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. That won’t be the case moving forward.

“Wolfgang has made the decision to hand over the reins,” explains Alicia Reale Cooney, Media Relations Manager for University Hospitals Case Medical Center. “We are so grateful for his long-term dedication to Five Star, and his support for UH Seidman Cancer Center lives on through the Wolfgang Puck Learning Resource Center in the hospital’s lobby.”

Don’t expect the event to suffer one bit, though. Starting with this year’s event, to be held Saturday, June 27 at Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus, the new Host Chef will be Cleveland’s own celebrity chef Michael Symon.

“I am thrilled to participate in this culinary extravaganza in my hometown benefiting the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center,” Symon says. “It raises vital funds for such an important cause and is truly a sensational evening.”

Symon, of course, is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurant owner. His restaurant group owns Lola and Lolita in Cleveland, Roast in Detroit and numerous B Spots throughout the region. He is best known these days, perhaps, for his role as co-host on ABC’s “The Chew.”

Whether he’s been officially associated with the event in years past or not, Symon has always felt a special connection to it.

“When this thing started in 1987 I was working at Sammy’s and it was the first time I met a lot of these famous chefs — and it’s one of the things that inspired me to be successful,” says Symon.

In terms of changes, Symon says guests can expect to see more local talent, for starters.

“In the past, there weren’t a lot of local, nationally known chefs,” he says. “Now there are, and I think they should be part of the event.” He’ll also call on high-caliber chef friends like Marc Vetri, Paul Kahan, Jonathan Waxman and others to join the cause. “People who are close to me that I think are incredible chefs and would love to include.”

Like many premium charity events, Five Star is neither inexpensive nor entirely inclusive. Symon, better than most, understands the economics of events like this.

“Look, with events like this the goal is always to raise as much money for the cause as possible,” he says. “This year the goal is to raise $2.5 million.”

For more information about Five Star Sensation, call 216-844-0448 or go to www.fivestarsensation.org

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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