Cops who cook: Fundraiser puts chief in the kitchen
Last Sunday, March 5, the Monticello Area Community Action Agency (MACAA) kicked off its 19th annual Men Who Cook! fundraiser at the Seasonal Cook with a special preview pairing Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo (this year's honorary chair and long-time Men Who Cook chef) with Bizou and Bang's Vincent Derquenne.
Past preview participants have included former mayor and urban visionary Maurice Cox, who learned to cook a pancetta dish, and former delegate Jim Murray, who learned to cook vegetarian pasta.
On Sunday, Derquenne taught our top cop Longo to wield a spatula instead of a sidearm. When Dish showed up, Chief Longo was carefully cutting strips of prosciutto and placing them gingerly between a half-dozen thick sea scallops. Meanwhile, Derquenne was slicing blood oranges and waxing eloquent about casual cooking.
"I just looked at what was fresh this morning," he said, keeping an eye on the slices of bread in the oven, " and there was this nice veal chop, and it was looking at me, and so..."
Veal chops weren't the only thing looking at Derquenne; about 10 people had gathered at the Seasonal Cook to see the Chief and Chef, some taking notes, others asking questions.
"This is just a fun type of cooking to do," Derquenne told the group. "The kind of thing you can do with friends on a Sunday and watch a football game at the same time." You got that guys? At the next big game, whip up some stuffed scallops and veal chops for the boys!
The main event in April showcases the efforts of over 50 local amateur chefs, and includes a silent auction and music by Metanoia. As usual, all proceeds go to MACAA programs that help low-income families in and around the Charlottesville area.
"It sells out every year," says MACAA's Jeff Sobel, "...and it's really fun. There's great food, dancing into the night, and it all goes to a great cause."
Indeed, for Dish to recommend food cooked by architects, politicians, and policemen, it better be for a good cause! For information about tickets to the April 1 event, visit avenue.org/MACCA or call 295-3171, ext. 3045
Thai treat in Nelson
As was recently reported, Thai restaurateur and Outback Lodge co-owner Eddie Keomahathai opened his fourth Thai '99 restaurant on Route 151 in Nelson. Keomahathai is well known for his existing string of Thai restaurants on Fontaine, behind the Carmike Cinema, in Lynchburg, and now in Nelson.
All well and good, but Dish has got wind of a small, lesser known Thai restaurant that Nelsonites– and the lucky tourists and Sunday drivers who've stumbled on it– have been fond of for several years.
"A lovely lady owns the restaurant," says Janet Pucket, who's about to open the Lovingston Winery in Lovingston. "We don't know her name, but we call her the 'Thai Lady,' and she's wonderful, as is her cooking."
The "Thai Lady" is owner May (she says her Thai first name is just too hard to pronounce), and her restaurant is Thai Siam.
According to Pucket, Thai Siam has a funky little kitchen with a few tables about a half mile down State Route 56.
"As the Thai lady says," says Pucket, "'there are lots of Thai restaurants, but they don't all make authentic Thai food.' She definitely does, and her personality along with the food is worth the trip." Pucket says her dumplings are especially delicious, and highly recommends her chicken Pad Thai.
"Oh, we're just a little place in the woods," May laughs. "People come here and they say, 'I don't believe it... what is this place doing in the middle of the woods?"
May laughs easily and a lot, which put Dish instantly at ease. She's amused that the big city paper is calling and can't seem to gather her thoughts. Finally, she tells Dish to come for a visit.
"You come see me, sweetie," she says. "Come taste the food. And we'll treat you right, you'll see." Normally, Dish doesn't put much stock in such talk, but something tells us a trip down 29 South might be in our future.
The Chef and the Chief: Chef Vincent Derquenne and Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo play good cook/bad cook at the Seasonal Cook
PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR