By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — An annual charity event that normally takes terminally ill children on a fantasy trip to the North Pole had to be canceled due to the pandemic. The winter wonderland, which provides much joy to so many families in need, has given way to a new event: Operation North Pole.

It is bankrolled in large part by Chicago area chefs and is now giving back to those who have helped raise funds for them for years.

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With the struggles of so many restaurants in the last year, the nonprofit decided to host a 12 hour virtual live telethon called Operation Let’s Get Cookin’. Money raised will go into the pockets of restaurant staff.

Some of Chicago’s top chefs will be sharing their culinary skills and secrets hoping for donations to the cause.

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“All the chefs are united behind this because of the COVID and for good reason. It’s to raise money for our employees. This is going to be very important to a lot of us and everybody embraces it,” said Dominique Tougne, owner and chef and Chez Mol.

Some big names will be part of the group. Ina Pinkney, the breakfast queen, will be one of the hosts. Also among the chefs will be Rolan Liccioni from le Nomade and Michael Lachowitz of George Trios.

The event is Sunday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

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Registration is free at

CBS 2 Chicago Staff