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Press Release: Local Chefs Compete in 3rd Annual  Open Table Chopped for Charity Gala

Local Chefs Compete in 3rd Annual  Open Table Chopped for Charity Gala

Evening to feature chefs’ cooking challenge, food and silent auction

Concord and Maynard, MA (April 1, 2024) – Open Table, the MetroWest charity dedicated to fighting hunger and building healthy communities, today announced that acclaimed local chefs Viviana Duque, Jonathan Gilman, and Jason Jernigan will compete at this year’s Chopped for Charity gala on Friday, May 3, at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord, MA.  Television and radio personality Chef Joe Gatto returns as the Master of Ceremonies; judges are EdibleBoston editor-in-chief and publisher Sarah Blackburn and former Open Table executive director Jeanine Calabria.

VIP tickets are $250 and include preferred seating, a private reception, meet the chefs, and a mixology competition featuring local bartenders competing to craft the perfect drink. General Admission is $175 per person. Tickets are available at

In addition to the chefs’ challenge,this year’s Chopped for Charitywill feature silent and live auctions, and a cash bar. A light meal will be provided, including delicious desserts from the Open Table kitchen. The VIP reception takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; doors open for general admission at 6:00 p.m.  

The evening will also honor James Crosby and Crosby’s Marketplace of Concord for their many years of dedication and commitment to Open Table’s mission.

Chefs’ Competition

“The highlight of the evening is the fast-paced competition between the three chefs before an expert panel of judges,” said Jonathan Magasanik, Open Table BOD member and Chopped for Charity Co-Chair. “The event will support Open Table’s efforts to address hunger in our local community by offering a wide variety of healthy and culturally appropriate food choices in our pantry and meal programs.”

Chefs competing in the 2024 Chopped for Charity challenge:

Chef Viviana Duque is a distinguished executive chef and owner of Panela Restaurant in Lowell, MA. Born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, Chef Viviana embarked on a journey to the city of Lowell at the age of 15 where she has lived all her adult years. She is an alumna of Le Cordon Bleu with a rich background in high-end restaurants. Fueled by passion and family support, Chef Viviana envisioned Panela as her dream of showcasing the diversity of Colombian cuisine inspired by various regions, all featuring panela as a key ingredient.

Jonathan Gilman is executive chef at True West Brewing Company in Acton. He has been professionally cooking creative comfort foods in a scratch kitchen for over 15 years.  He began his career at the Cambridge Brewing Company and went on to open his own restaurant, Brato Brewhouse and Kitchen, in 2019.  After having some success and winning a Best of Boston award in 2021, this endeavor eventually had to close due to financial constraints brought on by COVID.  Today, Jon lives near Acton and looks to make an impact on his new community in his role as Executive Chef at True West Brewing Company.

Jason Jernigan is the chef collaborator at Acton-based Svenfish and chef participant at Chef Style Boston. After completing his Air Force service and working in the field of microbiology, he completed his formal training at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and Boston University, eventually finding his real passion in Mediterranean flavors. As a private chef and consultant, he shares this passion through immersive classes and innovative menus, blending tradition with innovation. He believes in the power of food to unite and heal, striving for perfection and meaningful connections.


Local chefs (left to right) Viviana Duque, Jonathan Gilman, and Jason Jernigan will compete at the Open Table Chopped for Charity gala
Local chefs (left to right) Viviana Duque, Jonathan Gilman, and Jason Jernigan will compete at the Open Table Chopped for Charity gala


Experts seated at the Chopped for Charity judges’ table:

Sarah Blackburn, editor-in-chief, co-owner and publisher of Edible Boston and Edible Worcester, has extensive knowledge of the local food community in Greater Boston and Worcester County and a deep interest in sustainable living, home cooking and sharing her passion for both. Sarah has worked as a recipe developer, personal chef/caterer, farm stand retailer, Italian imports buyer, cheese monger and produce buyer among various other positions in both food service and food retail businesses. Sarah and her family live in Wayland.

Jeanine Calabria has extensive non-profit leadership experience – most recently as the Executive Director of Open Table. She is professionally trained in intercultural management and has a deep passion for cooking that brings all people to the table. Jeanine has recently combined her writing and cooking skills in her personal life to publish a memoir cookbook, The Taste of Stories. Food relief has been her focus over the past nine years, but the common theme throughout her career has been welcoming and assisting culturally diverse populations to have the most successful transition possible. She and her family live in Concord.

A third judging spot will be auctioned off at the event.

Joe Gatto, master of ceremonies for the evening, is a private chef, culinary Instructor, author, and host of the cutting-edge cooking show From Scratch. His private-chef client list has included a star Boston Red Sox player and the CEO and founder of iRobot, among others.

About Open Table

Open Table is a 501(c)(3) established in 1989. The organization works to address hunger in the local community by providing healthy food in a welcoming environment while respecting the dignity and diversity of those served. For more information, visit:

Media Contact:

Joan Geoghegan