'Cheap Thrills Cuisine' uses pen, ink, humor as recipe ingredients

June 30, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

The chef's knife and the artist's pen figure equally in cooking up "Cheap Thrills Cuisine," a cartoon strip that makes its debut today in A La Carte.

The strip is a collaboration between two Canadians, chef Bill Lombardi and his friend and former next-door neighbor, artist and illustrator Thach Bui.

"Thach kind of got the idea of dropping a recipe into a cartoon," Mr. Lombardi says. The strip first appeared in an underground paper in Toronto. Last year it was picked up by the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicates it in more than 45 papers. The strip's "star" is Chef Peppi, who explains in each strip how to make a simple dish. Offerings include quick corn bread and pepper-and-sausage fettuccine.

The recipes are serious, designed "to take the mystery out of" good cuisine so everyone can enjoy it, Mr. Lombardi said. But humor creeps in occasionally as Chef Peppi slices cucumbers in the air or overdoes the "splash" of wine.

"It's always a challenge for us" to put a recipe into a cartoon strip, Mr. Bui says. "But after working with Bill for a while now, I've gotten a knack of replacing a lot of words with pictures."

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