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Hastings resident James Powers earns National Kidney Foundation award

Hastings resident James Powers has added a prestigious award to his resume. On April 27, he was awarded the 2014 Patrick Murray Friend of the Foundation Award at the Great Chefs of Minnesota Dinner.

Powers is Treasure Island Resort and Casino’s executive chef. Treasure Island has been supporting the National Kidney Foundation for at least the past 11 or 12 years, Powers said, and for about 10 years he’s been a part of that support.

The award itself was established just a few years ago. Patrick Murray had owned Murray’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis, Powers explained, and had been doing volunteer work for the National Kidney Foundation for years. When he died a few years ago, the foundation wanted to do something to remember Murray, and the award was created.

It was late February or early March when Powers found out he would be this year’s recipient.

“I was surprised,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that participate in this Great Chefs event every year, and I always try to give it my all for all these great causes.”

As a representative of Treasure Island, Powers was one of 20 top chefs in the metro area who served upscale dishes to foundation supporters.

This isn’t Powers’ only charitable effort. He does the same sort of thing with the March of Dimes and the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester, and the United Way in Red Wing.

“We stay busy with events,” he said. “They’re a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to get out of the kitchen.”

He said he appreciates Treasure Island for supporting the various charities and allowing him to volunteer to help.

“They’re very generous and they never question what I do,” he said. “… They say ‘go and do it.’”

Powers studied at the Culinary Institute of America. He has over 25 years of experience across several disciplines and has earned a multitude of awards for his culinary creations. His influence can be experienced at the restaurants, private events, and on the Spirit of the Water cruise ship at Treasure Island for the past 11 years.