Chefs of creativity: What kind of meal can you make from a community food pantry? Believe it or not, a fabulous one.

Four chefs proved that recently at "Chefs of Compassion: Cooking for a Cause," a fundraiser for Cupertino-based West Valley Community Services. Participating were chef Dinari Brown of Spencer's for Steaks and Chops in San Jose; chef RJ Subaba of Cin-Cin in Los Gatos; chef Manuel Martinez of La Viga in Redwood City; and chef David Nelson of Crunch Catering.

Their efforts made two points: first, a little creativity goes a long way; and second, it's so important to keep that West Valley pantry (and the area's other pantries) stocked with fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and herbs and not just shelf-stable products.

Martinez captured the judges' award for his chicken entree (pan-roasted breast and confit with a veggie enchilada, topped with mole sauce) and Nelson won the people's choice for his dessert (a frothy fruit-and-yogurt parfait that featured caramelized pears).

Want to ensure that West Valley's clients eat as well? Donate extra produce from your garden or home orchard and think about the pantry the next time you stock up at a meat or poultry sale. For drop-off details, go to www.wvcommunityservices.org.

Barbecue benefit: John Berwald, who founded Armadillo Willy's, is throwing a Willy's Birthday Bash -- with all of the barbecue proceeds going toward the PlayGarden, a Rotary project for children with special needs that will open in 2014 in San Jose's Guadalupe Park.

It's the big 3-0 for Armadillo Willy's. Berwald's Bay Area-based barbecue empire started back in 1983 in Cupertino. And children have always been the focus of Willy's fundraisers.

The public is invited to attend the bash from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at San Jose's History Park. Tickets for the all-you-can eat bash (includes birthday cake) are $50 for adults and $25 for youths ages 7-12. Kids 6 and younger eat free. Buy tickets ahead of time at http://forthekids.bpt.me; no tickets will be sold at the gate. Details: History Park is at 635 Phelan Ave., San Jose.

Send South Bay and Peninsula dining tips to Linda Zavoral, lzavoral@mercurynews.com.