Professor finds his comfort zone in the kitchen

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Sep 25, 2013 - 11:31 AM

Photo: He teaches, he writes, and he cooks: Bruce Bracken of Williamsburg and Gwynn’s Island is a versatile man. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

He teaches, he writes, and he cooks: Bruce Bracken of Williamsburg and Gwynn’s Island is a versatile man. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Whether he’s in his kitchen in Williamsburg or his kitchen on Gwynn’s Island or out on the grill, Bruce Bracken becomes a gourmet chef.

Bruce says he is very comfortable in the kitchen and that his love for cooking began at his home when growing up and at his grandparents. "Both of my parents worked so my two brothers and I learned to cook at an early age. For me, I guess, I was about eight years old and sandwich-making was the beginning. I decided one morning to make something different so I used carrots in pancakes. My parents were delighted but ate around the carrots. My grandfather and grandmother owned a restaurant and whenever I was visiting them, I was in there helping out. My grandfather would always make a salad of ham and cucumbers, which I thought was the best. I’m serving it for lunch today."

Bruce’s ability to create delicious dishes with a strong passion to do so has been a vital part of his lifestyle from childhood to today, where he serves as a school psychologist and professor of educational foundations at the College of William and Mary. As a Boy Scout Bruce won top honors with a cake he cooked in a solar oven, "and it wasn’t from a box."

"Comfort foods and interpretations of comfort food are my favorites. You would say I do the principal cooking in our home because I love doing it. My wife Mary Jo is great in presenting what I cook. I cook it and she knows how to make it look good. I’m always developing new recipes and usually modify the recipes I read. The only recipe I follow exactly is India Curry Chili. I’m not much of a baker. Creme Brulée is about the only dessert I make, maybe some rice or tapioca pudding. I like to experiment."