Think “Chopped,” but with colon-friendly foods. 

The first Colon Cancer Cookoff includes a competition among Fort Worth chefs, colorectal-themed trivia and a panel of medical professionals to answer questions about the longest section of the large intestine. Mostly, people will eat, drink and chat. 

“Eating and cooking and feeding people is how we show we care about people,” said Dr. Bethany Malone, a colon and rectal surgeon in Fort Worth. “And that’s universal.”

The Cookoff is Malone’s brainchild, an event meant to be inclusive to all kinds of people — especially those who wouldn’t attend a more common cancer awareness event, like a 5K race. “Not everyone can run,” she said. “But everyone needs to eat.”

If you go:

What: The Colon Cancer Cookoff, a cooking competition among local chefs (a.k.a. tasting opportunity for the rest of us) that centers colon health guidelines and cancer prevention. The chef with the most votes will win a trophy. “There’s either going to be poop on it or a toilet on it,” Malone said.

When: 4–8 p.m. Sunday, March 5

Where: Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
401 Bryan Ave. 
Suite 117
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Admission is free, but tasting tickets, which cover one sample from each chef and a vote for the winner, cost $10. VIP wristbands, which cover unlimited tasting and two beers, cost $30.

Colorectal cancer, which begins in the colon or rectum, is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in the U.S. While the prevalence has been steadily declining for people 50 and over, the opposite is true for younger people, according to the American Cancer Society. 

No one knows what’s causing the uptick, Malone said. However, certain lifestyle habits make colorectal cancer more likely, like smoking, heavy drinking and diets high in fat and processed meat. People who are obese or inactive are also at risk.

Malone became a surgeon because she wanted to fix problems. She’s hoping the cookoff will help prevent them. 

The event centers a “friendly” competition among at least five Fort Worth chefs, who will each concoct a meal made of colon-friendly foods: whole grains like quinoa and oatmeal, fiber like sweet potatoes and avocados, and calcium like almonds and cheese. 

Malone expects the recipes to be delicious and replicable. “Doable and easy,” she said. 

In the meantime, attendees can partake in two rounds of colorectal-themed trivia and anonymously ask questions to a panel of experts, including colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and oncologists. 

“I want people to know who the players are in the game,” Malone said. “Like, you could go to all these different kinds of doctors to figure out what type of screening test is appropriate for you.”

Who’s competing in the cookoff so far:

The American Cancer Society recommends most people seek colorectal cancer screening when they turn 45. People with other risk factors, like a family history of colon cancer, polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, may need it sooner. 

For Malone, food does not nourish merely the body.

“There’s the emotional nourishment as well,” she said. And, she said, eating well is not about being thin. Malone recommends moderation in all things, and if someone chooses to devour a cut of red meat, she hopes they enjoy it.

“(Eating well) is about celebrating where you came from,” she said. “Celebrating your family and learning to do that in a way where you can enjoy your family longer.” 

Alexis Allison is the health reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact her at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Alexis Allison covers health for the Fort Worth Report. When she can, she'll slip in an illustration or two. Allison is a former high school English teacher and hopes her journalism is likewise educational....