“As human beings, food connects us to each other more than anything else,” said Dr. Neeraj Agrawal, Duke Health Cancer Care oncologist.
Each day the N.C. State Fair hosts cooking competitions to showcase the talents of home chefs in the area. On Saturday, Oct. 22, the judging will be a little more heart-led than usual.
In partnership with Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Cancer Care program, the recipes will focus on cancer warriors in remembrance or celebration of someone who has experienced cancer. Each entry must include a story of why this dish represents someone who has fought cancer. The story will be included as one of the judging components. Dr. Agrawal’s passion for how food impacts and creates memories during a person’s cancer journey inspired this Home Chef Challenge.
“Cancer patients and caregivers often have a memory connected to food,” said Dr. Agrawal. “It may be a food that you couldn’t wait to eat once your treatment was over, or a food that got you through your journey or, maybe it’s a food that reminds you of a loved one with cancer.
“I have a current patient with cancer, and, for her, eating is difficult. Yesterday, for the first time, she had part of a sandwich. Now she is waiting for the time that she can go for a steak dinner. Food for her is motivation and celebration.
“Cancer touches many lives. I would encourage all caregivers, survivors, those currently fighting, family members honoring a loved one that had cancer, nurses and physicians to consider how food plays a role in connecting us. In the cancer fight, nutrition is the heart of your fight back. There is also a joy in eating and sharing a meal.”
The dish can be an appetizer, main dish or dessert in remembrance or celebration of someone who has experienced cancer. Entry deadline is Monday, Oct. 3. Cash prizes include $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. The Home Chef Challenges will be held in Dorton Arena. Contestants are allowed 30 minutes of free parking outside Gate 12. Check-in will be in the hallway. Contestants can either walk their food entry to Dorton Arena or allow us to transport it. Contestants must then move their vehicle. Free parking in Lot C with a free shuttle ride back to Gate 12 or Gate 2 is provided.
Entries will be judged by a panel, including members of the Duke Raleigh Cancer Care team. Recipes and stories entered into the competition may be shared with current patients receiving care at a later date.
As one of the nation’s best cancer programs, Duke Health combines compassionate care with the latest research advances and resources to provide patients with individualized treatment plans for their specific cancer. When you need the best cancer care possible, Duke Health is here for you, with four convenient locations in Raleigh and Cary. In 2022, the program provided nearly 60,000 patients across its Wake County locations. Learn more about Duke Cancer Care in Wake County and across North Carolina.