Chicago chef to lend hand for backpack fundraiser

Chef Matthias Merges will be taking over the kitchen at Sycamore Hills Golf Club on Oct. 12 for the Blessings in a Backpack fundraiser.

Merges is a Chicago-based chef who is known for his restaurants Billy Sunday, Lucky Dorr and Old Irving Brewing Co.

He started in the industry at age 14 and attended the Culinary Institute of America. Merges has worked in several restaurants in Chicago and Salt Lake City. He was lured back to Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and spent 14 years as its executive chef.

Merges is also passionate about giving back and is the co-founder of Pilot Light, a Chicago-based charity that partners chefs and teachers, using food to support effective teaching and learning in the classroom.

Blessings in a Backpack strives to help meet the nutritional needs of hungry children by providing weekend meals on Fridays during the school year and generating public awareness on the issue of child hunger and working to expand the program across the United States. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the Fort Wayne chapter of Blessings in a Backpack.

Tickets are $800 per person and can be reserved online at

Baker's campaign

Tameka Beckman Foster has had a passion for baking since she was in college. Nearly two years ago, after moving to Fort Wayne, she turned that love into a business.

Tameka's Cakes and Desserts began as a home-based bakery, offering desserts such as mason jar cakes and cookies. She has been working out of the Cookspring shared kitchen, but her business has grown to need one of its own.

Beckman Foster is now ready to take the next step and move into a more permanent space.

The baker is hoping to move into a building on North Clinton Street and has launched a Kickstarter campaign.

She is hoping to raise $15,000 by the end of the month so that she can begin the first phase of the project.

Long-term plans include nationwide shipping, local dessert pick-up and a 24-hour cake vending machine.

To learn more, go to

Kanela to expand

Kanela Blended Drinks, Coffee and Bites announced that it will open a second location later this year.

The downtown coffee shop opened in 2020 at the corner of Harrison and Pearl streets and serves a variety of coffee drinks, smoothies and juices. It also has a breakfast and lunch menu.

The new location will be at 359 Lincoln Highway W. in New Haven. The former Rally's location does feature a drive through.

Stay tuned for details.

Ice cream changes

West Central Microcreamery announced that another ice cream maker will take over the space at the end of the month.

The downtown ice cream shop will end its run at the end of the month. It is known for its small-batch, unique flavors.

Brooklyn Pints will serve flavors like London Fog, Thai Tea and Tiramisu.

The new venture served up the flavors at an open house over the weekend.

New at Bob Evans

Bob Evans Restaurants has introduced two protein bowls.

The Double Meat Protein Bowl has two strips of center-cut hardwood-smoked bacon and hickory-smoked ham atop roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach, cheddar cheese, diced peppers and caramelized onions. It is also topped with two eggs cooked to order, diced tomatoes, hollandaise sauce and green onions.

The Avocado Veggie Protein Bowl is made with roasted corn, black beans, sautéed spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, real cheddar cheese, diced peppers and caramelized onions. It is topped with two eggs cooked to order, diced tomatoes, fresh avocado and a cilantro lime cream sauce.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email or call 461-8304 at least two weeks before event or desired publication.