The American Culinary Federation Maumee Valley Chef Association Scholarship and Award Dinner held April 30 at the Holiday Inn French Quarter lived up to its theme of "Dealing Delicious Delights." The chefs prepared dishes representative of fine-dining venues from famous casinos and hotels for the 275 guests.
Serving stations had spectacular ice carvings made by Chad Hartson of Ice Creations. There was an ice Eiffel Tower at the Hotel de Paris at Monte Carlo station, led by Chef Patrick Joyce of Stone Oak Country Club where Baked Seafood en Coquille was served. And there was an ice roulette wheel filled with steamed shrimp at the massive appetizer table, presented by Chef Mark Kinsey of Highland Meadows Golf Club and Chef Will Richardson of Poco Piatti, and a tower of dice sculptured in ice at the Jackpot Dessert Table organized by Chef Bob Greene of the MVCA.
The chefs incorporated many new food ideas into the menu, from the appetizers of fried soft shell crab in tempura batter to kobe beef roll-ups and the Snake-eyes Rattlesnake Empanadas at the Black Hawk Casino station led by host chef Doug Zuelke of the Holiday Inn French Quarter. The latter was a "puff pastry filled with marinated chicken, rattlesnake, peppers, onion, and spices," says sous chef Damian Clarke. "We made 150 of these and had two left."
At the San Remo Casino in Europe station led by Chef Rick Whitehead of Gladieux Catering there was a choice of salad: arugula and baby spinach with shallot vinaigrette, or frisee and mesclun greens with poached pear, blue cheese, and Pear Williams Dressing. Then guests could create their own duck consomme or tomato and sage consomme with little dishes of chives, julienne shiitake mushrooms, diced tomatoes, orzo, julienne peppers, wild rice, and other additions. Entrees included Carved Tuscan Roasted Stuffed Veal Leg and Pan-roasted chicken pressed in parmesan.
Proceeds from the annual event benefit scholarships for aspiring culinarians. This year's scholarship awards: Amanda Hoar of Penta Career Center received the Andy Malcolm Scholarship; Amy Morford of Owens Community College received the SYSCO Detroit Scholarship; Mary Woyame of Penta Career Center received the Gordon Food Service Scholarship, Brian Nietz of Clay High School received the U.S. Foods Scholarship; Luther Brooks of Whitmer High School received the ACF Maumee Valley Chef Association Memorial Scholarship, and Jake O'Leary of Monroe Community College received the ACF Maumee Valley Chef Association Scholarship.
Selected by the MVCA as Chef of the Year was Chef Johnny Clark of American Maritime Officers at the Raymond T. McKay Center. Guest speakers were Ken Wasco of Gordon Food Service and Chef Mark Wright of Buffalo, representing the ACF Northeast Region.
As part of the national Junior League's Kids in the Kitchen project, the Junior League of Toledo had its own Kids in the Kitchen event April 29 at COSI. It was held in conjunction with the YMCA's Healthy Kids Day, which included a variety of health displays and booths.
The Toledo Junior League concentrated on food and nutrition with the help of two local chefs, Will Pettit of Zia's, making a Teddy Fruit Toss, and Reggie Baugh of McCellan Health Care in Northwest Ohio, making Fruit Kabobs and Turkey Vegetable Wraps.
"We made fruit kabobs," says Becca Gorman, president-elect of the Junior League of Toledo, who organized this project with Areka Foster. "The kids could not get enough of every single recipe. They made the choice of what food to put on a stick. We had pineapple, apples, strawberries, melon. We had three different dips."
She estimates 100 kids and a few parents participated. These included many visitors, those participating in the YMCA event, and 30 members of Boys and Girls Club of Toledo, who had been especially invited by the Junior League. "We made them our sous chefs," says Mrs. Gorman about the 10-to-12-year- olds. "They were so excited."
"The purpose of this project was to expose kids to healthy recipes that are fun and easy to replicate in their own home," she says. "We may do this again with COSI."
The kids took the recipes home with them. Mrs. Gorman was amazed at how much the kids enjoyed the vegetable wraps, which had spinach and pesto in them. "The kids asked for more," she says.
The national Junior League website for this is www.kidsinthekitchen.ajli.org.
The Hylant Group insurance brokerage firm held a Wellness Program on April 28 with chef Jimmy Haines of Blue Pacific Grille in Levis Commons, and the restaurant's general manager, Brandon Falknor. The topic was healthy grilling.
"They talked about ways to grill veggies and how to trim meats to make them leaner," said Adrian Brown, account manager with Hylant Group, who organized this event and provided grilling recipes. "They grilled two of the dishes from their restaurant and brought it to us hot to sample."
Healthy marinades and different combinations for grilling foods were also discussed during the 30-minute presentation, which was a break in the day for employees. About 35 attended.