A people-pleasing charity bash

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on May 23, 2012 - 03:37 PM

Photo: When the final dish was washed and results from ticket sales and contributions were totaled Denton Brandy, left, Chef Dane Macan, Gary Lablanc, founder of Mercy Chefs, Chef Kyle Woodruff and Chef Hans Schadler gather to celebrate the $4,000 donation to Mercy Chefs.

When the final dish was washed and results from ticket sales and contributions were totaled Denton Brandy, left, Chef Dane Macan, Gary Lablanc, founder of Mercy Chefs, Chef Kyle Woodruff and Chef Hans Schadler gather to celebrate the $4,000 donation to Mercy Chefs.

Photo: Denton Brandy, right,  gives plates their final check before leaving the kitchen as Susan Miller, waitress, sous chef Emily Woodruff and Christine Almeda, from left, look on.

Denton Brandy, right, gives plates their final check before leaving the kitchen as Susan Miller, waitress, sous chef Emily Woodruff and Christine Almeda, from left, look on.

He is walking in his mother’s and father’s footsteps (Lisa and Denton Brandy were featured cooks, July 3, 2008) but perhaps he started walking at a much younger age than they did. Denton Brandy Jr. is 17 years old and as a chef has already mastered the art of preparing and serving a four-course dinner for 60 in Williamsburg at the Waypoint Seafood & Grill.

Denton has been interested in cooking, he says, "ever since I was little, but really found out it was a career I wanted to pursue when I enrolled in the culinary classes at Gloucester High School." Following graduation this year Denton will be attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York, but before he goes in August, "I’m going to Haiti, take a week off and will continue working at the Waypoint."

All seniors have to complete a project, a Senior Independent Research Study, in order to graduate. That requirement brought about the Mercy Chefs’ Charity Banquet. "I began planning this project back in September with the help of Chef Dane Macan, who was with me all the way. My first thoughts of having this banquet were changed along the way. With the good advice of my mentors, Chef Macan, Chef Hans Schadler, Eric Garcia and Chef Kyle Woodruff, we changed the banquet’s location from the school, from Warner Hall, to Waypoint when Chef Schadler offered his restaurant. I couldn’t believe it. We cut the menu to four courses instead of five. Everything we served was donated. The restaurant food producers were wonderful making sure we had what was needed and the Waypoint staff of four waiters, one dishwasher and one overall kitchen helper, volunteered their time and services."

For one night with both his parents, the restaurant’s owner, two chefs and one assistant chef in the kitchen assisting, Denton was the master chef. Having issued them all a work list earlier in the day he stood with confidence and checked each plate for perfection as it left the kitchen. The menu: First Course, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Grits Buerre Blanc with Spicy Tomato Relish. Second Course: Baby Arugula Salad with Toasted Almonds, Bacon Lardon, Fresh Blueberries and a Honey-Yogurt Vinaigrette. Third Course: Braised Short Ribs with Gruyere Potato Gratin and Roasted Root Vegetables. Final Course: Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel and Chantilly Cream.