ITHACA, N.Y. – With Chilifest and Chowderfest behind us, Ithaca chefs are preparing for the city’s latest cuisine competition where they will create their best rendition of a widely adored comfort food – macaroni and cheese.

Ithaca’s Mac n’ Cheese Bowl, unlike other festivals where local restaurants compete in food challenges, is hosted by Foodnet Meals on Wheels, an organization which helps provide meals and other nutrition services for members of the Tompkins County community who struggle with food insecurity.

Related: Hundreds feast and fundraise at Foodnet Meals on Wheels’ Mac n’ Cheese Bowl

The 5th annual Mac n’ Cheese Bowl will host 19 competitors this year, including submissions from several favorite local restaurants and eateries. The event will take place in the Ithaca High School cafeteria, where event-goers will be able to wander and taste at their leisure upon the purchase of a ticket. Those who attend the event will be able to vote on their favorite mac n’ cheese, resulting in a final macaroni champion.

This year, the funds raised at the bowl will support meal delivery and nutrition services to individuals who are unable to cook or shop for their daily meals, particularly aging members of the community.

At a press conference last week for the United Way of Tompkins County, Jessica Gosa, director of Foodnet Meals on Wheels spoke about the services Foodnet provides to the Tompkins County community.

Related: United Way asks community to help raise $300K in 31 days to meet 2017-18 campaign goal

Foodnet Meals on Wheels provided more than 168,000 meals in Tompkins County last year, according to Gosa. In addition to providing meals and services, Gosa said the organization is also set up to help with more challenging parts of aging, including hunger, loss of independence and isolation.

This year, upon an online purchase of a ticket, there is also an option to sponsor a meal for a local client for $8 dollars.

Tickets are now on sale online for $10 dollars per adult or $8 dollars per child between 5-12 years old. Children 4-years-old and under will receive free admission. Tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event for $12 dollars per adult and $10 dollars per child from 5-12.

The event will take place at the cafeteria in Ithaca High School on March 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year’s competitors will include:

  • AGAVA
  • Brookdale Ithaca
  • Cayuga Medical Center
  • Cornell Dining
  • Crossroads Bar & Grille
  • Foodnet Meals on Wheels
  • Gola Osteria
  • GreenStar Natural Foods Market
  • Ithaca Dining Services
  • The Ithaca Ale House
  • Kendal at Ithaca
  • Kilpatrick’s Publick House
  • Longview, an Ithacare Community
  • Luna Inspired Street Food
  • Red’s Place
  • Rogues Harbor Inn
  • Serendipity Catering & Bar
  • Trumansburg Central School District

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.