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Celebrity Chef Michael Symon Will Lead Saint Martin's Gala Celebration

LACEY, Wash., March 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Lift your forks and raise your wine glasses — Chef Michael Symon is coming to Saint Martin's University!

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121025/DC00764LOGO)

Symon, an Iron Chef and co-host of The Chew, will serve as the celebrity chef for the 2013 Saint Martin's Gala, an annual black-tie affair that raises funds for student scholarships. The Gala takes place Saturday, Nov. 2, at Marcus Pavilion on the University's Lacey campus.

Known for his award-winning culinary talent and effervescent personality, Symon will infuse the University's eighth annual Gala with his soulful cooking style. The chef will prepare a signature gourmet dinner from the on-stage Viking kitchen, delivering his unique brand of epicurean entertainment. Gala guests can look forward to a menu created exclusively for the event, along with specially selected wine and an exciting live auction.

Symon is a decorated chef, with culinary honors that include The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes (2009) and Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chef Award (1998). A Cleveland native, he has won critical acclaim for his four Midwestern restaurants: Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot. Lola, named one of "America's Best Restaurants" by Gourmet Magazine in 2000, today is considered the flagship of Cleveland's dining scene.

As a television personality, Symon is perhaps best known as a cast member of The Chew, an ABC daytime talk show that centers on food- and lifestyle-related topics. He first took the national television audience by storm in 2007, when he competed on the Food Network's The Next Iron Chef and won, securing his place as an Iron Chef on the hit series Iron Chef America.

In 2010, Symon appeared on the Food Network's Food Feuds and Cook like an Iron Chef, competed on Iron Chef America, and judged the third season of The Next Iron Chef. In 2012, Symon published his second book, Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers, which showcases his passion for meat dishes, particularly pork; his first cookbook, Michael Symon's Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen, was published in 2009. Symon's Suppers, his most recent television venture, premiered on the Cooking Channel in January 2012.

Symon's unbridled enthusiasm on stage and in the kitchen has won him a devoted following among viewers of The Chew. He co-hosts the show with four others, including Mario Batali, who served as the celebrity chef of the 2011 Gala.

Both Symon and Batali are Iron Chefs, observes Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., president of Saint Martin's University.

"Bringing two Iron Chefs to the Gala stage within three years is an extraordinary achievement, both for Saint Martin's University and for the South Puget Sound community," says Heynderickx. "It reflects the growing reputation of the event, which for the third straight year will feature a high-profile chef and decidedly gourmet flavor."

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