April 2007

Cooks and Books

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

Literacy volunteers serve up a smorgasbord of fun

Can too many cooks spoil the broth? Apparently not when it comes to stirring up a major culinary event. The 2007 Friends of Literacy annual fundraiser will take on a different flavor this year as the organization presents Cooks and Books, a combination of food for the body and food for the mind. Vital ingredients include chefs, authors, sponsors, volunteers and you! With over a dozen restaurants and as many authors participating, the event, to be held April 29, from noon-5 p.m., at the Mall at Shelter Cove, promises to be a smorgasbord of fun for the whole family.

As a part of Bravo, Hilton Head Island’s month-long cultural celebration, Cooks and Books will include tastings from the area’s best restaurants coupled with an opportunity to chat with and purchase autographed books from area writers. Adding to the excitement will be a chefs’ competition modeled after the popular “Iron Chef” competition as seen on the Food Network. The kamikaze-style contest, aptly named, “The Heat is On,” will pit 10 local chefs against one another, in a fast and furious race against time, to create winning dishes from a mystery basket of ingredients and common pantry.

According to event co-chair, Dodi Eschenbach, the restaurants and chefs are generously providing the food and equipment for the tastings and competition, not to mention volunteering their time. The Mall at Shelter Cove is providing the perfect event venue, she said. Rather than risk Mother Nature’s fickle spring temperament, the group sought an indoor space. Keeping the event family-friendly and affordable was also an important consideration. “We wanted it to be fun, but we wanted to move away from a gala situation, making it more open to the public,” she said.

Admission to the event is free. Tasting tickets purchased in advance are $10 for 7 tickets; $10 for 6 or $2 each on the day of the event. Tastings will range in price from $2-$6, to be determined by the providing restaurant, with beer, wine and sodas sold separately. Advance tickets are available at Burke’s Pharmacy, Markel’s Card and Gifts in Bluffton or the Literacy Volunteers’ office at 9 Town Center Court. All proceeds will benefit Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry. For more information call 843-686-6655.

Recipe for success
Thanks to the generosity of the community at large, the main ingredients for a successful outcome, namely supplies, time, money and manpower, are being provided at no cost to the literacy organization.

Participating restaurants: Michael Anthony’s, Sage Room, Redfish, Old Fort Pub, CQ’s, Ocean Grille, Blake’s, Sea Pines Resort, Alligator Grille, Charley’s Crab, Myrtle’s Bar and Grill, May 5th and Spice. Southern Wine and Spirits of South Carolina will provide wine and beer.

Authors: Kathryn Wall, Janice Karpinski, John Maxim, Lore Krieger, Cassandra King, Carl Smith, Kim Likins, Jo Williams, Patti Callahan Henry, Vicky Hunnings, Fran Marscher, Emory Campbell, Sallie Ann Robinson and Jesse Edward Gantt.

In addition, PBS TV host, celebrity chef and cookbook author, Nathalie Dupree, will be on hand, serving as a guest speaker and judge in the chef’s competition along with local celebrity chef, Phyllis White.

Sponsors: Lead sponsor, Key Infinity. Additional sponsors: Palmetto Electric Cooperative, TidePointe, Michael Anthony’s, Walden Books, and Piggly Wiggly.

The Hilton Head Island Rotary Club will provide volunteers to help with set up, break down and various event tasks.

Cooking for a Cause
Over 30,000 adults in Beaufort County have only basic or below basic literacy skills. Approximately half of the area businesses report their chief problem is the poor quality of the workforce. Adding to the literacy equation, the non-English-speaking population has increased by 279 percent in recent years. These are just a few reasons why it is important for every citizen to support the efforts of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry (LVL), an affiliate of ProLiteracy America, whose mission is to equip adults with reading, writing and math skills needed to be successful and self-sufficient.

“There are economic implications for all of us,” said Executive Director, Nancy Williams, citing an AT Kearney study, revealing that for every dollar invested in literacy, $33 of economic value is returned to the community. “When people have more skills, they make more money, pay higher taxes… it has a ripple effect within the community.”

LVL is a 501© (3) organization operated by approximately 30 staff members and over 200 volunteers. To learn about volunteer opportunities, call 843-686-6655 or visit online at www.lowcountryliteracy.org. Tutor training workshops and orientation will be held in April for anyone interested in working directly with students.

Sneak Preview
A private preview party is being held on April 20 at TidePointe, A Classic Residence by Hyatt. According to the organizers, the party provides an opportunity for the chefs, authors and sponsors to meet and greet one another prior to the Cooks and Books event. The evening’s entertainment includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a silent auction. Tickets to the invitation-only event are $25. Because of the generosity of TidePointe and many area businesses who have donated items for auction, no cost will be incurred by the organization, and all proceeds will benefit Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry.

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