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A few of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s finest guys will trade in their usual ranks at the University for an apron and a spot in the kitchen Saturday, June 23.

Darryl Sims, athletics director; Greg Wypiszynski, director of graduate studies; and John Strous, medical technology program director, are participating in Men Who Cook, the annual major fundraiser for Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.

The fundraiser is held annually at UW Oshkosh’s Reeve Memorial Union and invites men from throughout the community to get in the kitchen and cook for the hundreds that attend the event.

Darryl Sims

The goal: To raise awareness and funds for Christine Ann, an organization committed to ending the cycle of violence by providing safety, support and advocacy to abuse victims in Winnebago and Green Lake counties.

“The services the Christine Ann Center provides are extraordinary,” said Sims, who is participating in Men Who Cook for his first time this year. “You can’t not get a lump in your throat when you think about how they help people put their lives back together.”

For his debut recipe, Sims landed on a shrimp pot pie.

“I’m certainly a fan of the pot pie. This fits me well,” Sims said.

Men Who Cook is structured so the participating chefs – nearly 50 this year – purchase their own ingredients to serve event-goers, which means the price of the entire ticket to the event goes to the cause.

Greg Wypiszynski

UW Oshkosh’s own Fritz Niebergall, assistant resident dining manager for Blackhawk Commons, mentors the chefs through making large quantities of their recipes, which Wypiszynski said has come in handy over the years.

Wypiszynski is one of just a couple of chefs who has been participating in Men Who Cook since its inception 12 years ago.

“Back then, I thought it was a really cool idea for a fundraiser,” said Wypiszynski, who is preparing a vanilla custard ice cream this year. “Plus, it’s natural for me to do something I enjoy, which is cooking.”

Strous, also a seasoned participant, will grill up ginger soy salmon. He said the salmon has been a hit in past years.

“I really enjoy cooking and this is a really fun way to give back,” Strous said. “So, I do this because it’s fun and important.”

John Strous

Over the years, Wypiszynski and Strous say they have learned a few things about cooking for large groups of people; both enjoy spending time in a large-scale commercial kitchen like the one at Reeve. Wypiszynski even admits to a disaster or two in the kitchen during his tenure as a “chef.”

“People are more choosy about their entrées,” Wypiszynski said. “Desserts tend to be quite popular. It’s fun to have people like what you make.”

This year, voting for the chefs will be fun, Wypiszynski said. As a way to raise extra funds, people can pledge their support for a favorite chef. The money raised will help support programs and services at the Christine Ann Center.

“The fundraising piece is no stranger to us, it helps to supplement budgets,” Sims said. “From a University perspective, community engagement is absolutely important to the mission of this University. Anytime we can collaborate and partner, we usually jump on it because it’s at the center of what UW Oshkosh stands for.”

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