2019 Benihana Celebrity Chef Cook-Off


Calling All Celebrity Chefs! 

Your next chance to win the title of Best Chef will be

January 16, 2019!

Reserve your table today. 

For the 11th  year in a row, Mark Hyatt and his gracious staff will host LVA’s signature fundraising event. Guest chefs will grill up a full course meal for family and friends in this fun filled event. “Once  again, LVA President Peary Fowler chairs a sold-out event that raises important funds to support the mission of Literacy Volunteers.” said Executive Director Mary Casanova. “This is our  biggest  fundraiser each  year and we are very grateful to Mark Hyatt and his staff. “

There are two seatings that evening, the first at 6:00  pm and the second seating at 8:30 pm. Chefs book a table of either 8 or 10 guests and receive a short (optional) training prior to the event.

Want more details?

Send us an email using our contact page. Click here.





Becoming a US Citizen

Celebrating Citizenship

On April 28, 2017, student Ines Whittingham became a US Citizen. Her journey began in 2009 when she left her home country, Croatia, and moved to New York City where she worked in a Croatian restaurant with people who became like family to her. Ines did not speak any English but learned by watching TV and going to the New York library. During a trip to the Keys in 2014 to visit a friend, she decided to move to Key West.


Ines wanted to improve her self-taught English skills so she became a student in the Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) program. In January of 2016 she was in a group class when she met two tutors, Jan Malpass and Kathy Zuiderveen. The two women had been through the LVA training program and were looking forward to tutoring so the three of them became a team. While Ines had a good grasp of the language she want to improve what she called her “broken English.”


The team met every week and worked on English grammar. Ines often questioned the rules of the grammar they were studying and sometimes Jan and Kathy were hard pressed to provide answers; so the three of them were learning. Ines expressed her desire to become a US citizen. She was attending a group class at LVA but wanted more individual study time so the team changed their focus to the Naturalization test administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.


In September 2016 Ines applied for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. She anxiously waited for a response. In January 2017 she was notified her application had been processed and her next step was to take the test. Her next notification was in March; she was scheduled to take the test on April 20.  And she passed with flying colors.  


All of Ines’s hard work culminated in the swearing-in on April 28th. Jan and Kathy traveled to Miami with her to be there for the ceremony. The women plan to continue their friendship and get together regularly.
This past month, Jan and Kathy were awarded for their hard work as two of three Literacy Volunteers of the Year. Congratulations!!!