This year, you can join the reigning Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, for an exciting Valentine’s Day class at ICE that helps a very special cause.

Alyssa was named Miss USA in June 2011 and since then has been working as a spokeswoman for breast and ovarian cancer education, research and legislation — a platform that is close to her heart as it has personally affected a member of her family. In her free time, Alyssa also has a great love of cooking and baking and is enthusiastic about food. Earlier this January, Alyssa starred as one of the contestants on Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off (Did you catch our students in Episode 2?). Alyssa followed her interest in food into the kitchens at ICE to learn more, working with Chef Instructors Mike Schwartz and Anita Jacobson to master the culinary arts.

This Valentine’s Day, she will combine her passion for sweet treats and her charitable work by teaming up with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer founder Gretchen Holt-Witt to put those newly found skills to work in support of a good cause. Alyssa will host a one-of-a-kind cookie class with 100% of proceeds going to support pediatric cancer research. Whether you are planning a bake sale or simply looking to acquire some great cookie recipes for your personal repertoire, you will leave this class with new techniques — and the knowledge that you’re helping a good cause. More…

This weekend, ICE hosted Cookies for Kids: A Bake Sale, a unique opportunity to learn some new recipes and skill as well as support a great organization. Chef Instructor Melanie Underwood walked the class through an assortment of cookies from Gretchen Holt-Witt’s cookbook, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Best Bake Sale Cookbook. Every student in the class also received a copy of the book — whose author donates 100 percent of royalties to pediatric cancer research.

The book’s royalties go to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a charity committed to raising funds to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was started by Gretchen Holt-Witt and Larry Witt after they were inspired by their son Liam’s battle with cancer. They were shocked to learn that over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive due to lack of effective therapies and they decided to help increase funding for research. Since then, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has been raising money through bake sales, online sales and donations. Late in 2009, ICE’s kitchens were packed as volunteers baked approximately 30,000 cookies for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sales nationwide and earlier this year ICE hosted a special Valentine’s Day fundraiser. More…