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The Art of Cooking fundraiser 'remains the only (one) of its kind'

Washington County Arts Council executive director hopes event proceeds will be around $15,000

February 26, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • In the prep kitchen with emcee Mary King, center, are celebrity chefs Dr. Mike and Jane Anderson, making hors d'oeuvres of duck terrine with pistachios and dried cherries Cumberland sauce, Saturday during The Art of Cooking event hosted by the Washington County Arts Council at Fountain Head Country Club.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

It is an art not typically displayed on gallery walls or presented on theater stages.

But it is a subdivision of culture, a creative endeavor, a discipline and  an art, nonetheless.

It is the art of cooking.

The Washington County Arts Council presented its second annual The Art of Cooking fundraiser Saturday evening at the Fountain Head Country Club near Hagerstown.

Six couples who are active in the community — billed as "guest celebrity chefs" — took to the club's kitchens to prepare their favorite dishes on screen in the dining room via video transmission.

The 128 guests in attendance watched as they dined, while WHAG-TV's Lou Scally and Mary King emceed the event.

 "I believe cooking is an art," WCAC Executive Director Mary Anne Burke said. "The presentation of prepared food is an art. That's how we came up with the idea for the fundraiser."

Hagerstown dentist Dr. Mike Anderson and his wife, Jane Anderson, chatted with King as they prepared hors d'oeuvres of duck terrine with pistachios and dried cherries Cumberland sauce.

Mike Anderson said he is a "French cuisine lover." The couple has cooked the duck dish — which requires two to three days in total to prepare — at home and have eaten it while traveling in France.

"It's always better when someone else makes it," Jane Anderson said. "You don't have to put in the time."

When preparations were complete, King hurried from the prep kitchen to the main kitchen, where Fountain Head Executive Chef Todd Reynolds presented the final product on screen.

Then the Andersons burst from the kitchen through the dining room doors in person to a round of applause from the crowd. Mike Anderson lifted his arms in body-building poses with mock braggadocio.

Another local dentist Dr. Al Smith and his daughter, Stephanie Olson, who is visiting the area from Hawaii while her husband is deployed, planned to prepare a poached pear recipe.

Smith said he attended the event last year and decided to try his hand at cooking this year.

"I think any of the other fundraisers in town have been duplicated. But this was the first of its kind last year, and it remains the only (one) of its kind," Al Smith said. "People are having a lot of fun with it because it's different and unique."

Washington County Commissioner John Barr and his wife, Teresa Barr, were readied to prepare a double sirloin steak in herb sauce.

Barr, who owns Ellsworth Electric, promised some entertainment as he toted lineman's pliers and a screwdriver in his chef's jacket.

"I'm going to have some fun with my electrical skills, some ceremonial-style steak fixing," Barr joked.

Prophets of the Abstract Truth provided music during cocktails, and area businesses donated items for a limited silent auction.

Tickets to the event cost $125. Burke said she hoped proceeds would be around $15,000.

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