Corporate Chef Bill Brooks, right, guided four guests through the art of cooking Chef Spike Mendelsohn’s famous hamburger and its sauce. James Easton, from left, Ted Williams, and Janice Phillips were three of the four people substituting for Chef Mendelsohn, who was not present. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day
Chef Andrew Pluim of the U.S. Air Force and a Gloucester man, demonstrates how to make a great entree, Pork Tenderloin with a Balsamic Sauce and Eggplant Caponata.
The Barn, devoted to hospitality and the latest amenity to the elegant and stately grounds of White Hall, was again alive with warm hospitality, good cooking and good foods as the Fourth Annual Culinary Experience for Food from the Heart wowed attendees for two days, two sessions each day.
Charles and Mari Ann Banks, owners of White Hall in Gloucester, were host and hostess. Charles Banks was quick to give all the credit to his wife: “It’s her idea and she puts it all together well and does it well.” And this she does. The donation of $55 per person, 60 guests per session, plus the bag of non-perishable food items which is required to attend, benefits the pantries at Abingdon Episcopal Church, St. Therese Roman Catholic Church, Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church and Union Baptist Church. This year’s Food from the Heart netted $12,000 and 250 bags of groceries. “This is the most we have ever raised,” commented Mari Ann. “What we hope this does is to raise awareness to the needs of these local pantries.”
The program is supported by U.S. Foods (formerly U.S. Foodservice), the number two food service supplier in the country. Their chefs and several local chefs demonstrated the art of fine cookery and some of their secret cooking techniques. Unlike most food shows, all guests were elegantly served what the chefs prepared by members of Union Baptist Church.
The show was under the direction of Corporate Chef Bill Brooks, who gave great cooking hints throughout the two hours such as, “Be sure your meat is dry before putting it on the grill so it will not stick to the grill. Grill lemon, lime and even orange slices to enhance their flavor. Basil leaves dipped first in beaten egg white and then in sugar make a nice addition to dishes. When braising meats for long cooking times, do not salt before cooking. Salt pulls out the moisture and your meat will be dry. Do so after it is cooked. For quick cooking use all the salt you like. Always grill your buns when making hamburgers and that includes hot dogs also. Nothing worse than a hot hamburger on a cold bun.”