Guys can cook: Website, fundraiser prove it!


I've always admired my brother-in-law, Dan. About 10 years ago, after 25 years on Wall Street, he swapped roles with my sister and become a full-time, stay-at-home dad. Though an excellent and loving father, he lacked certain things in the culinary department: creativity, passion, and an awareness of the flavor-enhancing qualities of herbs and spices.

His weekly menus– repeated for months without the subtlest variation– consisted of hamburgers, frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, and cheese quesadillas. I could tell he was as bored as his three children and hard-working wife, but being a guy he was hard-wired to stick with the program.

Dan could've certainly benefited from a new, locally based website dedicated entirely to dads who manage some domestic duties:

The brainchild of stay-at-home dad Brian Cohen, this entertaining and practical site contains everything from a list of kid-tested recipes and basic kitchen utensils to a "conversion kit" that helps guys make the transition from working to stay-at-home fathers.

" is your virtual leather recliner, a place to hang out, shoot the breeze, and learn about converting to a paternal head of domicile or PHD (since "stay-at-home-dad" may be a misnomer when the majority of them take at least a part time paycheck).

Cohen is no stranger to the written word. A former reporter for The Observer, he also published the now-defunct Crozet Whistle newspaper and website.

Cohen, 45, moved to Crozet from San Francisco in 1998 with his wife, a full-time physician. They have two children, ages 9 and 5. Dad does all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning– and also finds time to score music for video, and go snowboarding and kayaking. Perhaps most amazing is that he does it all with a smile.

"I actually love to cook, and I'm rather good at it," he says. "Food is an expression of love. If someone cooks you a good meal, it transcends all languages and customs."

Cohen created several of the recipes on his site: crab quesadillas; pork tenderloin with a chipotle, honey and garlic glaze; stir-fried hoisin chicken with veggies. He will soon add a list of shopping tips such as "Always make a detailed list," and this keeper: "You can never have enough toilet paper."

You don't have to be a Cohen kid or a recipe-reading dad to taste his famous pork tenderloin. That's because Cohen was invited, along with 49 other amateur male cooks, to participate in the Monticello Area Community Action Agency's 18th annual "Men Can Cook" event on Saturday, April 16.

Guests at the popular fundraiser, which supports MACCA'S many essential programs (Head Start, Hope House, CARES), will have the opportunity to taste such macho specialties as "Bang Bang Turkey," "Tequila Lime Chicken," "Venison Stew," and a menacing dessert called "Chocolate Assassin and Coconut Coma."

Tickets for the event, which begins at 6pm at the Monticello Conference Center and includes dancing and a silent auction, are $60. Call 295-3171.


Mystery on Wertland: unsolved

Readers may recall Dish's story last month announcing that a new "University Diner" would be taking the place of Maharaja on Wertland Street on the Corner.

Well, it did– but not for long. Dish has it from a reliable source that the all-day-breakfast-promising diner was open for only two days in late March before it closed its doors, seemingly for good.

Representatives of R.E. Lee and Sons, which owns the building, say they're not sure exactly what's going on, but they confirm that restaurant owner, Diomedes Bonilla-Hernandez has paid his April rent in full. Perhaps he's trying to sell. But why?

Brian Cohen