FEBRUARY 2011: Charity Corner - Food For Thought: Annual Cooks and Books Serves Up It's Fifth Course
Author: Mark Kreuzwieser
“Compliments to the chefs,” said Stephen Stewart about the 5th Annual Cooks & Books fête, a fundraiser for Literacy Voluneers of the Lowcountry to be held February 20 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.
Stewart, executive chef at TidePointe, a Vi Community on Hilton Head has participated in all of the Cooks & Books events, which means sharing his experience and competing in the popular “Heat Is On,” contest in which chefs are presented mystery ingredients and instructed to concoct their best meal while racing the clock.
“This is a great party for a wonderful cause, and people talk about it for the rest of the year,” said Stewart. “The competition is a little crazy, but it’s fun.”Also competing this year will be chefs Keith Josefiak, Old Fort Pub; Yuri Gow, Antonio’s; Luke Lyons, Frankie Bones; Russell Keane, Wise Guys; Joseph Sullivan, Mulberry Street; Jon Cowan, Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa; Rob Britton and Eric Seaglund, The Chart House; Kenny Ballard, Kenny B’s French Quarter Café; and Brad Blake, Marley’s Island Grille.
“It’s fun, and it’s challenging, believe me,” said 2010 champ, Chef Josefiak. “Last year, we competed in front of 300 to 400 people, so the pressure was on. I expect the same this time. It’s fun to compete with your peers, and supporting literacy is a good cause.”
For an advance donation of $15 ($20 at the door), event guests can sample cuisine prepared by 16 of the area’s top restaurants and vote for their favorite dish. Participants include Redfish, Roast Fish and Cornbread, Cookies by Design, French Bakery and Courtyard Café, Flavors, Pino Gelato, Atlanta Bread Company and others.
Of course, it’s not all about food. Several local and regional authors will be on hand to talk about reading and writing, and their books will be available for autographing. Authors include Karen White, Kathryn R. Wall, Mark Yarbrough, Sallie Ann Robinson, Fran Marscher, Margot Theis Raven, Jim Jordan, Marvin Bouknight and Eric Horan.
Ellen Walton, chairperson of Cooks & Books, says the event brings together two of our most cherished experiences: eating and reading. “Literacy Volunteers is about helping people improve their communication skills on all levels. It’s a cause writers are passionate about, and the folks who attend the event are always excited to meet and chat with the authors of some of their favorite books.”
The event is coordinated by Friends of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry. Tickets are available at Burke’s Pharmacy and Le Cookery on Hilton Head, Markel’s Cards & Gifts in Bluffton; or at any of the Literacy Volunteers offices. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit lowcountryliteracy.org.
A Cooks & Books Preview Party will be held Friday, February 18, from 6-9 p.m. The gala event, held annually at TidePointe, features a lavish buffet prepared by executive chef Stephen Stewart and includes a silent auction. Tickets are $75 per person in advance; space is limited.
For reservations, call (843) 815-6616.