So get this.
The producers of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's next TV series are looking for Charleston families to be featured on the new show.
This is not a joke. After last Saturday's successful Green Chili Shoot Out at Capitol Market, the market's executive director received this message:
“I'm a casting producer working on a brand new Gordon Ramsay cooking competition show for Fox,” wrote Janah Golden. “We're looking for amazing home cooks for this new competition and saw that you hosted the Green Chili Shoot Out. I was hoping to get the word out about our casting call to your local competitors.”
Sure enough, a flyer accompanying the email shows Gordon's smug mug and a blaring headline offering families of four the chance to compete against each other for a chance to win a big cash prize. It asks:
“Where are the best home-cooking Italian, Greek and Jewish families? Who can cook Soul Food like no other or grill a mean steak? Filet fish like a pro or make an amazing soufflé? Is there a firehouse with great cooks? Parents or grandparents who can cook up anything?”
The show is specifically looking for families of four (oh, why did we have that third kid?) that can include grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Interested in your 15 minutes of fame? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ginny Miles, I have some news for you!
You know those salmon croquettes with creamed pea sauce that you remember so fondly from The Coffee Shop on Washington Street East? Two readers came forward with some information you might find helpful.
“In reference to your column in Wednesday's Gazette-Mail, The Coffee Shop was owned by my parishioners when I came to Charleston in the summer of 1976,” wrote Fr. Olof Scott, retired Dean Emeritus from St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Charleston.
“Andy Bsharah bought the business from Steve Collias in the early '70s and ran it until a fire destroyed it in the early '80s. It never reopened, and the businesses along that block were bought by Charleston General Hospital.”
He said Andy and his brother, Nazem, managed The Coffee Shop, with Andy handling the day shift and Nazem the night. They were open during the week 24 hours a day.
“Andy and his brother have since passed on, but after reading your column I spoke with Andy's oldest son and he has no knowledge of any recipes remaining from the restaurant. An employee named Marie stayed on after Andy bought the business and sometimes filled in as a cook. Their main cook was Steve Sneed,” he said.
“By now both former employees have probably passed on and all paper records, including recipes, were lost in the fire. Possibly someone, a family member, may have known Steve or Marie and have the recipe for salmon croquettes with a creamed pea sauce. My mother used to make something very similar, but she called them salmon cakes.”
But wait, there's more!
“That same creamed pea sauce was also used at the old Southern Kitchen restaurant in Kanawha City, and I partook of it whenever I was given the opportunity and now make the sauce myself,” said reader J. Michael Mollohan.
When I reached him by phone, Mollohan told me the recipe is nothing fancy — just a basic white sauce with peas added — and he was more than happy to share it.
You melt half a stick of butter in a skillet, then sprinkle in one-fourth cup of flour and stir to make a roux. Once that gets real thick (but before it browns) whisk in two cups of milk and your desired amount of fresh or frozen peas. Then season with salt and pepper, as desired.
“That's all there is to it,” he added, “and it's really pretty good.”
So there you go, Ginny. Hope this is just what you're looking for!
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If you want tickets to HospiceCare's 12th annual Tidewater Dinner Gala at 6 p.m. April 11, you better act fast.
Although we're still two weeks out, reservations are filling up quickly and the event is expected to sell out.
No wonder. Not only are guests supporting a worthwhile cause, but they're getting a delicious meal in the process.
This year's menu includes the traditional starting favorites: lump crabmeat and lobster cakes with red pepper coulis and Dijon mustard sauce, and a mixed baby greens salad with bleu cheese crumbles, red onion, candied pecans and strawberries tossed in a Balsamic vinaigrette.
After those, the main course features pistachio-encrusted sole and a bacon-wrapped filet with compound butter, sweet potato casserole and grilled asparagus with parmesan, followed by a dessert of chocolate mousse cake with whipped topping & raspberry drizzle.
Select wines, beer and liquor donated by Tidewater's distributors will be served, and vegetarian meals are available as well, if reserved in advance.
Cost for the dinner is $125 per person, with $75 of it eligible as a tax-deductible donation to HospiceCare. Reservations and payment are required in advance by calling 304-768-8523.
Over the past 11 years, more than 1,500 guests have raised nearly $150,000 to benefit HospiceCare patients and their families through this annual dinner. I've been a few times myself and highly recommend it!
Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/foodguy/. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”