Many men who cook operate in restaurants with commercial kitchens. Others perform the work in their kitchens at home, inviting friends and family to enjoy their creations. That latter occasion more closely describes the Men Who Cook fundraiser of Summa Health System and similar events staged by nonprofit organizations across the community.
Public health regulators aren’t peering through your windows to evaluate the makings of a dinner party at your home. They have their eye, and rightly so, on those in the business of selling and serving meals. In that way, applying state law and public health regulations to Summa and others collides with common sense.
Such charity events recall the holidays, family and friends hopping in the car with the pumpkin pie, or sweet potatoes or whatever variation on family tradition, bringing their contribution to where everyone is gathering. Surely, enough flexibility can be found, or included, in the law to avoid the situation captured this week by Lisa Abraham, the Beacon Journal food writer, Summa canceling its successful fundraiser, after 13 consecutive years, regulators casting doubt on the future of other events like it.
Telling was one health official suggesting there are ways to dodge the law by calling the event an auction. Understandably, no health system wants to be in such a situation, let alone in violation of the law. What the suggestion clearly reinforces is that these charity events aren’t the primary focus of regulators.
Gov. John Kasich has set in motion the Common Sense Initiative, led by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. It is designed to pare back outmoded or misguided regulations. Might the initiative inspire relief for Men Who Cook?