Fire and water: Chefs to fix hot dishes to benefit the bay

September 08, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Guests at this year's benefit Dinner for the Bay will certainly be drinking to the Chesapeake -- and they may wish they could drink it when they taste some of the fiery dishes noted chefs from around the country are cooking up for the gala on Monday.

Barbecued quail with Moroccan sauce, Indonesian lamb satay, duck sausage with habanero peppers and dried cherries and curried chicken spring rolls are among items that could light a culinary fire for diners in this year when heat and spice are hot stuff across the country.

"Everyone's mouth's going to be on fire," says organizer Nancy Longo, chef-owner at Pierpoint restaurant in Fells Point, with a laugh. "I see a lot of chilies there."

This is the second year for the benefit, sponsored by Chef and Restaurant Advocates for the Bay, which brings Baltimore chefs together with well-known counterparts from some of the country's most popular restaurants. The guest chefs prepare a signature dish with the aid of their local partner, as gala-goers get to watch, and then taste some of the -- well, the hottest cuisine going.

There will also be fine wines and liquors from Churchill Liquors and Franklin Selections; and there will even be locally brewed beer from Hugh Sisson's South Baltimore Brewing Co.

Proceeds benefit the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes public awareness and participation in bay preservation and restoration.

Celebrity chefs are Stephen Pyles of Dallas, author of "New Texas Cuisine"; Larry Forgione, of An American Place in New York; Barbara Tropp of China Moon Cafe, San Francisco; Marty Cosgrove, of Paul Prudhomme's K-Pauls of New Orleans; Susan Spicer, of Bayona, New Orleans; Pat Rocco, a New York chef-consultant; Washington's Nora Pouillon of Nora's, Chris Swinyard, of Mark Miller's Red Sage, and Patrick Clark of the Hay Adams Hotel restaurant; Peggy Smith of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Calif.

Mr. Pyles, Mr. Forgione and Mr. Cosgrove cooked for the benefit last year. Ms. Smith grew up in Virginia, Ms. Longo says, and was especially anxious to participate in the event this year.

Besides Ms. Longo, local chefs are Michael Rork of the Harbor Court Hotel, Linwood Dame, of Linwood's, Benny Gordon of Restaurant 2110, Rudy Speckamp of Rudys' 2900, Randy Stahl, of the Brass Elephant, Mark Henry of the Milton Inn, Harold Marmelstein of the Polo Grill, Bill Aydlett of Sisson's and Spike Gjerde of Spike & Charlie's.

Other dishes on the menu are crisp Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crabs, tomato and roasted pepper salad with braised cod

croutons, grilled achiote shrimp, Maryland-style chicken chasseur and bayou bourbon banana cake.

The event will last from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the pier of the Marine Mammal Pavilion of the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor. A Coast Guard boat docked by the pier will be a site for cocktails, desserts and after-dinner drinks. There'll be dance music from Tempest and the Hurricane Horns, and dinner music from the Dangerous Duo.

Decorations and flowers are being done by Janice Muse, of Massoni Wholesale Florist in Fells Point. "It's mostly all local grasses and flowers, and cattails from the shore," Ms. Longo says.

As in the previous year, much of the food, the liquor, hotel rooms and other items are being donated. Last year's event attracted the attention of more people who want to contribute, Ms. Longo says. "I've had people coming out of the woodwork to give us stuff." It's important to keep costs down, she says, "so we can give these people [the trust] as much money as possible."

Tickets are $200 per person; a portion is tax-deductible; call (410) 563-9452 or write CRAB, P.O. Box 38404, Baltimore 21231. Checks should be made out to the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

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