The Great Cookie Cook-Off & Silent Auction

This year, GSHNJ is teaming up with local chefs to bring you a little friendly competition and exciting culinary creations using your favorite Girl Scout cookies!

Thursday, March 15, 2018  |  6:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.

Shackamaxon Country Club
100 Tillinghast Turn, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076


Please join us for:

  • Silent Auction
  • Passed hors d'oeuvres
  • Gourmet food stations
  • Complimentary glass of wine from Unionville Vineyards
  • Coffee and tea
  • Cash bar will be available

All funds raised from this event will help benefit Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey programming including STEM & robotics, new council-based initiatives such as Girl Scouts Beyond Bars and Troop 6000, and unique outdoor experiences for girls.

About GSBB & Troop 6000

In the ongoing effort of GSHNJ to remove barriers to participation of girls across our council, we are bringing Girl Scout programming to community shelters through Troop 6000. This initiative began in Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and is now growing cross-county through sister councils. Meeting as a troop in the shelter gives girl members and their caregivers a sense of consistency and community support.

In addition, initial work is also underway to start a Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program within GSHNJ. The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program allows the opportunity for mothers in prison to reunite with their daughters through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. This program allows for the crucial component of a monthly troop meeting for girls and their mothers within the correctional facility while removing challenges such as transportation and stigma.

GSBB and Troop 6000 connect girls with opportunities to build relationships with peers who understand their unique family relationships, home life and living dynamics; while empowering them to design their girl-led experience. The basis of programming is the troop meetings in their community. This is the launching point for girls to select and plan camp adventures, STEM exploration, as well as life skills and entrepreneurial experiences.

Meet Chef Vonda McPherson

Chef Vonda McPherson

Tell us about yourself!
Vonda MacPherson, is a self taught Culinary Chef who has been cooking most of her life. She worked in Corporate America as a Account Executive for Medical Device Companies specializing in Interventional Cardiology, selling coronary stints in the NY/NJ region She left the security of a successful corporate career to open her first restaurant, BBQ, in a bustling downtown business district of Elizabeth, in 1988. Next came Vonda Catering and Events, then The Greenhouse Cafe, in partnership with the Newark Housing Authority, to bring healthier fare to a cafeteria setting. And, for sit down dining or take out, there are soul food classics with innovative twists at Vonda's Kitchen, 183-185 West Kinney Street, Newark, NJ. She also became the first African American to own a jazz super club in the City of Newark in nearly 40 years when she launched, Duke’s Southern Table.

Restaurant Affiliation: Vonda's Kitchen

What made you become a chef?
I have always cooked and entertained with my friends, however I entered into Corporate America and worked there for approximately 11 years. One day while walking home from the ferry to my house in Jersey City I just realized that I wasn’t doing something that I loved, even though I was in sales and I was making a lot of money, I just simply wanted to do something that I loved and do something with my hands, and I took that interest to my boss at the time and his opinion was that opening a restaurant was a risky business and he wasn’t for it, but he also encouraged me to try it, if it was something I really wanted to do. So I tried it and I never looked back.

What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Trefoils

Meet Chef Theresa Merges

Chef Theresa Merges

Tell us about yourself!
I am the Manager and House Chef of the Kings Cooking Studio and have trained with prominent chefs. I have participated in nationally recognized culinary programs promoting regional cuisines. My approach is to educate and entertain our guests by demonstrating recipes that are on point with current trends. Usage of fresh, local and sustainable ingredients promotes my farm to table and dock to dine philosophy.

Restaurant Affiliation: Kings Cooking Studio

What made you become a chef?
For the love of feeding family and friends by of converting fresh ingredients into memorable meals.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Free-range chicken.

What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Do-Si-Do

Meet Chef Bryan Savin

Chef Bryan Savin

Bryan Savin of Five Star Catering by Thomas in Westfield, NJ has led the greater Westield, NJ area in catering and event planning since 2001.

Meet Chef Mary Macksoud

Chef Mary Macksoud

Mary Macksoud, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute who spent her time on staff at the DeGustibus Cooking School in NYC where she worked with the world’s top chefs.


Questions? Please contact Mara Tolas at 908-947-1712.

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