Eldridge Milton Walker, caterer

March 30, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Eldridge Milton Walker, whose catering firm was known for its lavish repasts that featured such Tidewater area gourmet specialties as Diamondback Terrapin and crab imperial, died Sunday from complications of diabetes at Union Memorial Hospital.

The Northeast Baltimore resident was 66.

For more than three decades until retiring and closing the business in 1991, he operated Gorsuch Caterers, whose slogan was, "For Fine Foods and Service that makes yours the Special Occasion."

Mr. Walker was a familiar figure at area social gatherings, ranging from political fund-raisers to North Baltimore debutante parties and private dinners.

"He was one of the leading black caterers in the city, following in the tradition of the famous T. Henry Waters," said Maxine Carter Dorsey, his former wife. "He loved to cook and loved people. And they loved him," she said.

"Our mother did lots of church cooking, and I guess that influenced him," said his brother Samuel Walker of Baltimore, a retired executive chef. "He was a superb hors d'oeuvres man and did magnificent ice carvings."

Known as Mr. Milton, Mr. Walker established his catering business at Gorsuch Avenue and Kennedy Street, where he also operated a submarine sandwich shop with his second wife, the former Lauretta Mason, whom he married in 1956. She died in 1991.

"He was known for his whole roast pig, fried tomatoes, crab cakes and his crab imperial, which was creamy and filled with crab meat, not bread," said his daughter, Gwendolyn E. Riley of Baltimore.

"He loved cooking at home and when he did, he had the chafing dishes going and the roast beef sitting under a warming light on a carving table," Mrs. Riley said. "It was all very formal, like he was entertaining in one of his customers' homes."

Mr. Walker began his career in 1945 at the age of 16 when he left his native Jacksonville, Fla., and came to Baltimore to be a cook at Bickford's on Howard Street.

He later worked at such Baltimore restaurants as the Marling House and Johnson's Mecca and was later chef at Bonnie View Country Club and the University Club, from which he retired in 1966.

When not working, he entertained family and friends, attended sporting events and traveled.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at March Funeral Home, 1101 E. North Ave., Baltimore.

Other survivors include a son, Eldridge M. Walker Jr. of Forest Park; another brother, Albert Walker of La Mesa, Calif.; two sisters, Maybelle Way of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Hattie Daniels of Rivera Beach, Fla.; four grandsons; and three great-grandchildren.

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