Top chefs show techniques and help to feed the hungry

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Sep 18, 2013 - 10:47 AM

Photo: Chef Rocco Paradiso shows the proper way to render pork belly. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Chef Rocco Paradiso shows the proper way to render pork belly. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

For the fifth year in succession, the hospitality barn overlooking the Ware River and situated on the grounds of stately White Hall Plantation in Gloucester hosted a grand culinary experience, presented by local and professional chefs.

The occasion was the annual Food From the Heart at White Hall Plantation hosted by Charles and Mari Ann Banks and sponsored by U.S. Foodservice. The event is designed "to help feed the hungry in Gloucester County."

For two days last month, in two sessions per day with a limit of 60 guests per session, both local and U.S. Foodservice chefs shared their culinary skills and a tasting of their dishes. Entrance fees included a bag of non-perishable food, which was delivered daily to the local food pantries. Volunteer servers from four churches, St. Therese Roman Catholic Church, Union Baptist, Susanna Wesley United Methodist and Abingdon Episcopal, whose food pantries are the recipients of the proceeds, made the guests’ dining much more pleasant. This year’s tally was over $13,000.

The chefs sharing their culinary knowledge on the first day were Chris Garcia, Mark Letchworth and Hans Schadler. For the second day, the sessions featured three of U.S. Foodservice’s top chefs Bill Brooks, Rocco Paradiso and Jeff Bland. Sarah Pluim, a Gloucester chef who is now pastry chef at the Two Rivers Country Club in James City, assisted in the kitchen.