Chef’s Culinary Challenge to benefit West Suburban pantry; Bilotta named executive director of Will health department; Neuqua students to compete in Silent Film Festival – Chicago Tribune

The 11th annual Chef’s Culinary Challenge to benefit the West Suburban Community Pantry will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Chicago Marriott Naperville, 1801 N. Naper Blvd.

Well-known local chefs will prepare one course of a seven-course meal, working from a center stage observation kitchen so guests can watch each course being created and plated.

The meal will be served family-style, and the event will include cocktails and wine and a silent auction.

Proceeds support the West Suburban Community Pantry, which serves more than 6,800 people per month in DuPage and Will counties.

Reservations must be made by Wednesday, Feb. 1. For tickets and sponsorships, go to

Elizabeth Bilotta has been named the Will County Health Department’s next executive director.

Bilotta, who has been with the health department for nearly 27 years, replaces Susan Olenek, who is retiring after more than three decades. She assumes the new job Feb. 4.

“After 33 years of public service to this community, leaving is bittersweet,” Olenek said in a news release. “But I leave knowing this agency and the community will be in very capable, dedicated hands.”

Bilotta has been assistant executive director for the last three years, developing the agency’s annual budget and managing the supportive administrative departments. She previously served as administrative services director, environmental health director and environmental health program coordinator.

Bilotta earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a master’s of science in environmental biology from Governor’s State University.

She is the former vice president of the Will County School District 92 board, currently serves on the Joliet Diocese Pastoral Council and is a member of the Will County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Students from Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville will premiere a film they created at the Student Silent Film Festival Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove.

Eleven area high schools will be participating in the festival, including students from Lyons Township, Barrington, Maine East and Riverside/Brookfield. The program begins with a red carpet social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by the films being presented at 6:45 p.m.

Unlike other film competitions, this one is focused on telling stories without voices or sound effects, organizers said in a news release.

Live musical accompaniment for the films will be provided by pianist Derek Berg, CEO of the Clarendon Hills Music Academy.

Each school was given four weeks to create its film. A panel of judges will select three winners based on story narrative, development, camera work, lighting and editing.

Festival tickets can be purchased in advance for $18 at At the door, tickets will cost $25.

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