Councilor Sullivan Wins Charity ‘Cooking With the Pantry Stars’ Challenge

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas Sullivan (center) celebrated his “Cooking With the Pantry Stars” win alongside teammates Dean Souers and Joel Gagnon on Thursday, May 17. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News)

Lights, camera, cookoff! Several Haverhill civic leaders, businesspeople and community members took part in Thursday’s “Cooking With the Pantry Stars” challenge to benefit charity, with Haverhill City Council Vice President and local lawyer Thomas J. Sullivan whipping up the winning dish.

Teams of two were given assorted food items typically found in food pantries and tasked to cook up their best rapid-fire dish in front of an audience.

Sullivan and teammate Dean Souers were joined by sous chef Joel Gagnon as they prepared a seared pork loin topped with guacamole, beans and crushed Frito chips. Dressed in their cowboy finest, Sullivan and Souers also created a tortilla cannoli with chocolate and bananas for dessert. Their finishing touch was garnished with chocolate-dipped cornbread and lime-infused whipped cream.

“It was a fun night for a great cause,” Sullivan told WHAV. “I hope the organizers raised enough money to fill the shelves of the Open Hand Pantry until next year’s event.”

Other teams to compete were the Rotary Club’s Jim Smith and Owen Murphy, Pentucket Bank’s Melissa Kindig and Maggie Foulks, Haverhill Bank’s Duncan Clark and Lisa Lamb, and Bryan Chase and Hillary Rogers on behalf of the Haverhill Kiwanis Club. State Rep. Andy Vargas cooked alongside Northern Essex’s George Moriarty, while Thea Tsagaris from Bank of New England joined Boys & Girls Club’s Brian Theirrien.

All money raised goes to the Liz Murphy Open Hand Food Pantry, a collaborative effort by St. James & St. John the Baptist Parishes. The pantry feeds city residents on Ashland Street in the basement of the Unitarian Church each Tuesday from 2-7 p.m.