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Priests share recipes and raise funds in “Cooks with Collars”

J-P Mauro - published on 02/19/22

The Diocese of Allentown is running this unique cooking competition to raise funds for Catholic Charities.

There’s a new clerical competition that’s pulling priests out of the pulpit and putting them in the kitchen. “Cooks with Collars” is a clever fundraising campaign from the Diocese of Allentown that gives local parish priests a chance to share their culinary expertise. In this season they have already raised over $130,000 for Catholic Charities Allentown.

Cooks with Collars

“Cooks with Collars” describes itself as a celebration and virtual cooking competition for the entire Diocese of Allentown. The 42 cooking priests each post videos where they take viewers through their recipes and the audience can vote for their favorites. The donations that come with the votes are guaranteed to go to the parish of the priest who earned the vote.

On its dedicated website, “Cooks With Collars” keeps track of the most popular and highest earning priests. Among this year’s competitors, the leading chefs are Reverend Christopher Butera ($14,821), Reverend Andrew Gehringer ($14,600), and Reverend Monsignor Thomas Koons ($12,265). These positions could change, however, as the voting remains open until February 28. 


There is a wonderful variety in all the different programs designed by such a wide array of priests. Each one has his own style, with some drawing in parishioners to help, while others show off their own recipes. One of the most popular, and our favorite, is Fr. Frans Berkhout of Sacred Heart Parish in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Fr. Frans is a natural host who was born to run a cooking show. He speaks with rapid fire precision, peppering in little jokes with the fervor of Rodney Dangerfield in his prime. In the video featured above, he introduces his recipe for French fries, which he calls, “Father Frans’s fabulously famous old-fashioned family-style French fries.” 

With 42 priests competing, there are hundreds of short videos that could fill a day. The family friendly nature of the programming makes it ideal to watch with the little ones. Not only is each episode entertaining in its own way, they are all educational and could even provide some exciting ideas for upcoming Lenten meals.

Lenten meals

One in particular that would work well for Lent would be Rev. Stanley Moczydlowski’s recipe for the Polish Lenten favorite, Haluski:

On March 1, the website will announce the “winners” of the contest, but really every participant can be counted as victorious, as the majority of them have raised at least $1,000. Proceeds will go to help support the efforts of Catholic Charities in each parish. They note that the mission of Catholic Charities Diocese of Allentown is to provide compassionate human services with respect for the sanctity of all human life.

There’s still time left to get your votes in. Visit Cooks with Collars to watch through hundreds of recipes and place your vote today.

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