Cooking up a storm on the local scene

Sunday Snapshots

Linda Brown...

March 24, 1996|By Morit Chatlynne

Cooking up a storm on the local scene; Linda Brown: Caterer's partnership with restaurateur creates a long menu of culinary opportunities.

Linda Brown, who teamed up with Linwood Dame, the local restaurateur, to start Linwoods/Due Catering, is very happy about the variety of culinary choices the partnership will create.

"After 21 years of catering, I have a very large repertoire of menus and so does he, so we have a very large range of offerings," said Ms. Brown, a resident of Mount Washington. Mr. Dame focuses on lighter, California-style and grilled recipes, while Ms. Brown is classically trained in the French tradition.

Ms. Brown has rich and varied experiences to draw from. After college, the New Orleans native married and moved to Washington. Then she went to Paris, and eventually moved to Baltimore and taught cooking at area colleges. She slowly began working as a caterer -- picking up techniques from different chefs and schools.

"I really enjoy it, I taught myself as much as I was taught. But then I went to Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park [N.Y.], and went to [La Varenne cooking school in] Paris and had private lessons with Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, and did an internship in Switzerland," said Ms. Brown, 61. She also took a course in garnishing in Japan.

Ms. Brown used to cater for Linwood Dame's father-in-law, and when Linwood's opened, she paid the restaurant a visit. She and Mr. Dame became friends and are now business partners.

Over the years, Ms. Brown tested many recipes on her children. Her specialty is pastries, but she has a wide range of abilities, and often honed them on her children while they were growing up.

Reminiscing about those "experimental" years, she said, "One time they had friends over, and I made a recipe of prunes and mustard over pork. They never let me forget that." If there was a way to have fun with science and math, Marc Clayton, a vivacious 39-year-old engineer, wanted to find it.

Instead, he created a way -- a theatrical, lively science program for local students he calls "Marc's Groovy Science."

Even though the program has been a hit since he put together his first routine in 1992, Mr. Clayton, a 12-year veteran engineer with the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, decided to keep his day job. In fact, it's with his employer's blessing and the company van that he's able to take his show on the road every few months.

His energetic, sometimes comic routines do resemble a party more than a typical classroom science lesson.

His props, after all, are keyboards and amplifiers, exploding balloons and whirling footballs -- just to name a few.

Though he and his wife don't have any children, Mr. Clayton hasn't any trouble engaging the students. It's not unusual for his audiences to practically climb over themselves to volunteer for an experiment, he says.

The high-school crowds, Mr. Clayton admits, are a bit tougher than elementary school students.

"I did some research. You have to talk to them about one of three topics: sex -- and I don't dare venture into that area -- food or cars. You have to be deceptive. You have to have explosives, and you have to put yourself in physical danger," says Mr. Clayton.

"I aim to please, so I've blown up an inner tube on stage to show energy and even had a student volunteer break a cinder block on my chest with a sledgehammer."

Saying Mr. Clayton isn't your stereotypical scientist is a bit of understatement. In fact, his message is to the contrary: Science and math don't have to be boring, and the subjects apply to everyone's lives.

As for his unconventional approach, Mr. Clayton shrugs and says: "I guess I was always different from the other engineering students, a little more gregarious. I need these outlets to vent my energy. But I think I've finally found my niche. There's nothing I'd rather do."

Pub Date: 3/24/96

Laura Barnhardt

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