Celebrity Chefs Cat Cora and Carla Hall Return to the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give

Celebrity Chefs Cat Cora and Carla Hall Return to the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give

Celebrity chefs to enhance the Grand Taste events with food demonstrations


 The Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give continues to enhance its three-day food tasting event – the Grand Taste – with food demonstrations by celebrity chefs Cat Cora and Carla Hall.

Both celebrity chefs have participated in previous Meijer LPGA Classic events, Tournament Director Cathy Cooper said.

“The Grand Taste at the Meijer LPGA Classic is the greatest food experience on tour, and we are very excited to bring Cat Cora and Carla Hall back for another fun year,” Cooper said. “Our tournament truly offers something for everyone, so being able to highlight the talent of these amazing chefs, along with the best restaurants and breweries that West Michigan has to offer, will make it an experience the community won’t want to miss.”

Cooper said all Grand Taste ticket holders will have access to the chef demonstrations, and therefore, won’t need to purchase an additional ticket.

After participating in the 2014 Meijer LPGA Classic, Cat Cora, the first female Iron Chef on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, will return on Saturday, June 17 to the Grand Taste tent to share a few of her favorite recipes.

  • Cora is a world renowned chef best known for her featured role as an “Iron Chef” on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and as a co-host of Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates. Cora makes regular appearances on a variety of talk shows and has hosted and guest judged a number of food shows, including Bravo’s Top Chef, Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen. She has opened numerous restaurants, including Cat Cora’s Taproom that is located in the Detroit Metro Airport.

Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew, will make her third appearance at the Meijer LPGA Classic on Sunday, June 18 at the Grand Taste tent for fun, interactive demos.

  • Hall is a co-host of ABC’s popular lifestyle series, The Chew. Although she is best known as a competitor on Bravo’s Top Chef, where she won over audiences with her catch phrase, “Hootie Hoo,” and her philosophy to always cook with love. Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen – her first restaurant – opened in New York City in late 2015. A fast-casual love letter to Nashville, the restaurant features iconic Nashville Hot Chicken and southern sides, anchored by Hall’s family recipes and perfected with her personal touches. 

In addition to the celebrity chefs, local restaurants, breweries and Meijer will also feature new food trends through demonstrations at the Grand Taste, Friday through Sunday.

Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give to Welcome Back All Three Defending Champions


Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give to Welcome Back All Three Defending Champions

Playing field for the 2017 tournament continues to grow stronger  

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The playing field for the 2017 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give continues to grow stronger with commitments from its three defending champions – Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson and Mirim Lee – who will return June 13-18 to Blythefield Country Club.

“Each year, we strive to ensure the Meijer LPGA Classic is a high-caliber tournament for the community, but also for these incredible athletes who make Grand Rapids their home,” said Cathy Cooper, Director of the Meijer LPGA Classic. “When our past champions commit, we know that they recognize and appreciate just how much the community supports them year after year.”

Sei Young Kim – 2016 Champion

The Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give Defending Champion Sei Young Kim is still relatively new to the Tour but has made great strides. Kim captured three victories in her rookie season, and in 2015, won both the Kia Most Compelling Performance Award and the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors. She also became a Rolex First-Time Winner in 2015 at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and has had five overall career wins. To view her full bio, please visit: http://www.lpga.com/players/sei-young-kim/98371/bio

Lexi Thompson – 2015 Champion

In her amateur career, Lexi Thompson became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007 when she was just 12 years old. Thompson ranked No. 1 in the Women’s Amateur and Girl’s Junior Amateur by Golfweek in 2009 before turning professional in 2010. In 2011, she not only became the youngest professional to win on the Ladies European Tour, but also the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history after winning the Navistar LPGA Classic at 16 years, 7 months, and 8 days old. To date, she has competed in two Solheim Cups and UL International Crowns, along with the 2016 Rio Olympics, finished 45 times in the Top 10, and achieved seven LPGA Tour victories and one major. To view her full bio, please visit: http://www.lpga.com/players/lexi-thompson/98184/bio.

Mirim Lee – 2014 Champion

Mirim Lee began playing golf at the age of 11. She began her professional career in 2009 and played on the KLPGA's developmental tour. Lee won her first KLPGA victory at the S-OIL Champions in 2012. In 2013, she broke the tournament scoring record, with a 61 in the third round, of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category for the 2014 season. In her rookie season, Lee became a Rolex First-Time Winner with her playoff win at the 2014 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. This season, Lee won her third win on tour with her victory at the 2017 Kia Classic in March. To view her full bio, please visit: http://www.lpga.com/players/mirim-lee/98054/bio

The 2017 Meijer LPGA Classic will host a full field of 144 of the best women golfers for 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition. Proceeds from the tournament – and each of the week’s festivities – will once again benefit the Meijer Simply Give program that restocks the shelves of food pantries across the Midwest. To date, the Meijer LPGA Classic has generated more than $2.1 million for food pantries in the communities it serves.

The First Tee Junior Course Reporter, Pippa Gibson

First Tee 3Hello, I’m Pippa Gibson, a Junior Course Reporter for First Tee of West Michigan and I'm going to tell you about my experience with the Meijer LPGA Classic.

The LPGA stands for Ladies Professional Golf Association and it was founded in 1950. The LPGA is still going strong today as a non-profit organization. The Grand Rapids stop of the LPGA tour is sponsored by Meijer and Kraft, and money ​raised through Simply Give will be given to local food pantries. 

This year, the First Tee of West Michigan program asked me as well as two other First Tee participants to be Junior Course Reporters at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Our first story was at a special Media Day event in June. We each got to ask Brittany Lang a question! Unfortunately, Austin Ernst was also scheduled but her flight was cancelled and she couldn’t make it to the press conference. Meeting Brittany Lang was very cool.  She followed her dreams of joining the LPGA. Brittany is funny and kind, but also persistent.

She’s played the Solheim Cup three times. Brittany gets help from her brother Luke Lang, who is also her caddy. She told me that Luke “believe’s in me more than I believe in myself.” I was happy to meet her and glad that Brittany made it to the Meijer LPGA Classic Media Day.

On Tuesday July 21, I was a little nervous about the player press conferences at Blythefield Country Club, but luckily another First Tee reporter, Alex, was there and he had interviewed some players already. (Alex, Sophia and I were at the press conferences for Mirim Lee and on Wednesday for Liz Nagel, Inbee Park, and Morgan Pressel). After I watched Alex finish his interview I went with him to begin my interviews. The first golfer who was heading toward the driving range was Katy Harris. We told her we were reporters from the First Tee of West Michigan and asked her if we could ask her some questions. I asked her “What club do you think you need to improve on the most?” Katy told me, “My irons.” We said thank you and good luck, then left. That was how most our interviews went. One of the most interesting interviews was with “Q” Kyu-Jung Baek from Korea. She didn’t speak English but had her caddy translate into Korean for her. She told me she started playing professionally in Korea in the KLPGA, but this year is her rookie year in the LPGA!

Thursday I went to the #Swing Like A Girl golf clinic at Boulder Creek and met pro golfer Allison Duncan who helped us with our Photo Finish swings. She said I had a good finish! Here’s a photo of Allison Duncan my friend Abby.

I think the best part about being a First Tee Course Reporter was I felt like I was part of the LPGA, and it was exciting to walk around and be in the middle of the professional women golfers. We got to go behind the scenes! There was a lot of energy and everyone seemed happy to be playing. It made me realize that the players in the LPGA practice what First Tee teaches me, that perseverance and confidence will help me be a better player. I’m not sure I will ever be listed in the Player Guide, but it would be really cool if I was!

Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft Announces Final Field

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 16, 2015) – The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will host some of the biggest names in female golf at the Blythefield Country Club next week. The final field includes several players on the LPGA’s Top 10 money list, including No. 1 in the world Inbee Park and Michigan native Morgan Pressel, as well as Meijer LGPA Classic defending champion Mirim Lee.

Other notable players scheduled to vie for the $2 million purse include Lexi Thompson, Brittany Lincicome, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr.

Two collegiate golfers – Cat Peters, of the University of Michigan, and Kaitlin Park, of Northwestern University – will join the professional golfers on the course. The two earned sponsor exemption spots into the official four-day tournament after an 18-hole qualifying tournament last month.

The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will host a full field of 144 players in the 72-hole, four-day competition being held July 21-26 at Blythefield Country Club. Tickets for the tournament are on sale at meijerLPGAclassic.com.

Please click here to see the complete field list.

Similar to last year, proceeds from the tournament – and each of the week’s festivities – will benefit the Meijer Simply Give program that restocks the shelves of food pantries throughout the Midwest. The inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft raised more than $600,000 for the Simply Give program. 

Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft Expands Menu of Free Activities for Young Golf Fans

Junior golfers invited to participate in free weeklong activities


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 27, 2015) – The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft seeks to engage young golf fans by expanding its menu of free interactive and on-site activities.

“The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft is working diligently to engage families throughout the community,” Meijer President J.K. Symancyk said. “By offering a variety of youth programs, we feel that we are able to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for parents and youth alike.”

The Meijer LPGA Junior Clinic presented by Johnson & Johnson will take place at 1 p.m. July 22-24 at Boulder Creek Golf Course, 5750 Brewer Ave. NE, in Belmont, Mich. Youth, ages 17 years and under, are invited to participate in the free, two-hour clinics that will feature group instruction, activities, and games by LPGA professionals and local golf pros.

That age group will also receive free admission to the tournament, held July 23-26 at Blythefield Country Club with a ticketed adult.

Once at the tournament, youth will have access to the Meijer LPGA Kids Center presented by Dove when it’s open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 22-26. The tent, located between holes 11 and 16, will features arts and crafts, golf activities, and LPGA player autograph sessions throughout the week.

Similar to last year, proceeds from the tournament – and each of the week’s festivities– will benefit the Simply Give program. The inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft raised $600,000 for the Simply Give program to feed those in need.

The Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will host a full field of 144 players playing 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition July 21-26 at Blythefield Country Club.

Reserve a spot for the Meijer LPGA Junior Clinic by registering online at meijerLPGAclassic.com.

For more information on the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft or to volunteer, please visit meijerLPGAclassic.com

To view a video recapping the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft, please visit meijerLPGAclassic.com.

To view a video on the Meijer hunger relief efforts, including Simply Give, please visit http://newsroom.meijer.com/meijer-simply-give-video.



Lesley Baker, Tournament Director, Octagon

Lesley.Baker@octagon.com or 616-426-6225

Christina Fecher, Public Relations Manager, Meijer

Christina.Fecher@meijer.com or 616-735-7968


About Meijer Simply Give

Meijer is a family-owned retailer based in Grand Rapids, Mich. with a fundamental philosophy aimed at strengthening the communities it serves. Meijer operates more than 200 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, and proudly donates more than 6 percent of its net profit each year to charities throughout the Midwest. With hunger as a corporate philanthropic focus, Meijer partners with hundreds of food banks and pantries through its Simply Give and food rescue programs. Meijer also supports education, disaster relief, and health and wellness initiatives. For additional information on Meijer philanthropy, please visit meijercommunity.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.

About Blythefield Country Club

Located just north of Grand Rapids, Blythefield has been providing families the best golf and social experience in West Michigan since 1928. With the Rogue River flowing through, Blythefield boasts one of the most beautiful championship layouts in Michigan. Previously, Blythefield has hosted the 1953 Western Amateur, the 1961 Western Open, won by Arnold Palmer, and the 2005 Western Junior won by Rickie Fowler. In 2014, Blythefield hosted the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft. Learn more about Blythefield Country Club at www.blythefieldcc.org/.

About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)

The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management. The Symetra Tour consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: www.lpga.com, www.facebook.com/LPGA, www.twitter.com/lpga, and www.youtube.com/user/lpgavideo.

About Octagon Global Events

Octagon Global Events is a division of Octagon, the world’s largest sports and entertainment

representation and marketing agency. Octagon Global Events focuses on premium event/property

management, providing strategic corporate solutions. The division currently manages two Champions

Tour events, two LPGA Tour events and the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. For more information, visit



Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff presented by Kraft

Three nationally-acclaimed celebrity chefs – Cat Cora, Carla Hall and Gail Simmons – will participate in the Meijer LPGA Celebrity Chef Cookoff presented by Kraft, a friendly competition and the latest community event added to the weeklong LPGA Tour stop in Grand Rapids next month.

The fun and interactive cooking event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and will showcase the chefs’ elegant culinary creations with event proceeds benefiting the Meijer Simply Give program, which replenishes the shelves of food pantries throughout the Midwest.   

A limited number of general public tickets are now on sale for $100 each, which include food, wine and a ticket to the golf tournament for the weekend.

“We are excited about this event, and what each of these chefs will bring to Grand Rapids – entertainment, and passion for cooking and community support,” Tournament Director Lesley Baker said. “We think the community will appreciate the opportunity to support such a worthwhile program like Simply Give.”

The three celebrity chefs in attendance this year are:

·         Cat Cora: She was the first female Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Since then, Cora has continued to evolve her craft to become an accomplished author, restaurateur, contributing editor, avid philanthropist and television host.

·         Carla Hall: She is a co-host of ABC Daytime’s lifestyle series, “The Chew.” Hall is best known as a competitor and fan favorite on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” where she won over audiences with her philosophy to always cook with love.

·         Gail Simmons: She is a trained culinary expert and judge on Bravo’s Emmy-winning series “Top Chef,” as well as head critic on “Top Chef Masters.” Since 2004, Simmons has been Special Projects Director at Food & Wine Magazine.

Each celebrity chef will prepare a unique menu, which will include an appetizer, main course and a dessert. A panel of judges made up of a local celebrity, and Meijer, LPGA and Kraft representatives will determine the winner.

The tournament will make a donation to the four local food pantries of the winning chef’s choice.

The event will also be interactive with the celebrity chefs located at stations to greet guests, explain the courses, answer guest questions and share food samples.

“The Grand Rapids area has an appreciation for food, and we think this event is a great way to pair world-class culinary creations and great entertainment with a cause that does so much good within Meijer communities,” said Randy Stewart, group vice president of foods for Meijer.