By Alyse Horn

The third annual Food Pantry Brunch Challenge took place at 11 a.m. on January 25 at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square E.

Northside Common Ministries Executive Director Jay Poliziani said there were 150 people in attendance.

Poliziani said 250 tickets were sold, but believes the snow scared some people away.

All proceeds from the event benefit the programs of Northside Common Ministries and help keep the shelves stocked at the NCM Food Pantry.

Poliziani said this year the Brunch Challenge raised about $4,000 that will be used to buy food for the pantry.

Last year the Brunch Challenge raised $2,700, which was enough to purchase 270 cases of canned vegetables. That is enough to last the pantry 27 weeks.

For the challenge, 10 chefs were given items that would normally be found in the NCM Food Pantry to test their skills against each other to see who could make the best breakfast appetizer.

New chefs joined the challenge this year such as Bar Marco, Steel Reel Catering and Eat n’ Park.

Bistro To Go, James Street Gastropub, Thai Me Up, Spring Board Kitchen and more returned to compete this year.

Poliziani said the chefs did a great job of utilizing the list of food items from the food pantry. Some of the food made was French toast with peaches and cream, Swedish meatballs, and peanut butter and jelly bars.

Besides brunch, attendees were also able to participate in free belly dancing lessons and enjoy the music of Ishtar and Ortner Marcinizyn duo.