The Morgantown History Museum’s annual Best Chef fundraiser is starting to have a history of its own.

Six years ago, the Morgantown History Museum and the Daughters of the American Revolution started the Best Chef Cook-off to raise funds for the museum and to help pay for a statue of town founder Zackquill Morgan.

It’s been a great success. Zackquill Morgan now stands on Spruce Street, and the event’s increasing popularity has made it a fun way to raise money toward professional and dynamic exhibits at the museum.

At the annual August competition, local restaurateurs display their culinary expertise in hopes of earning the title Best Chef. The title comes with a cash prize, a trophy, and bragging rights for the year. The runner-up gets a trophy, too. And starting a few years ago, a third award goes to the winner of a specialty category that changes with each competition. Past years have challenged chefs to craft the best Italian and best Appalachian dishes; in 2018, the specialty category is Modernist Cuisine.

The showmanship of the competing chefs along with live music and live and silent auctions makes for a night of fun for all ages.

Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa hosts the event every year, and Morgantown Museum Commission chairwoman and museum coordinator Pamela Ball says it’s common for hotel guests to follow their noses to the festivities. This has resulted in a wide variety of last-minute attendees, ranging from funeral directors to golfers. Ball loves having guests at the resort join in and experience the best of local cuisine and culture.

But one of her favorite aspects of the cook-off is the camaraderie among the competitors.

The event is the Morgantown History Museum’s only annual fundraiser and plays a large part in raising awareness of the organization. “It’s good for us, it’s good for the chefs, and it’s good for the public because of all the great food,” Ball says.

The Best Chef Cook-off VI will take place Thursday, August 2. Planning is still underway, but tickets typically run around $30 and may be purchased from the Morgantown History Museum. 175 Kirk Street, 304.319.1800,

written by austin rempelays.

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