What's Cooking?

Chefs whip up four-course meal to benefit free clinic

Wabash College Professor Rick Warner prepares a jalapeno corn bread during the virtual Dining with the Chefs event on Saturday.
Wabash College Professor Rick Warner prepares a jalapeno corn bread during the virtual Dining with the Chefs event on Saturday.
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With her fingers sprinkled in flour, Hannah Thompson shoveled a bowl of sliced apples into a pie crust.

“I actually like to put a little cinanamon on top,” she said, reaching for the jar as a camera filmed her preparing the dessert.

Thompson, owner of Maxine’s on Green and executive chef at the Crawfordsville Country Club, was among the local chefs featured in the “at-home” edition of the Montgomery County Free Clinic’s annual Dining with the Chefs fundraiser.

Due to the pandemic, the kitchen went virtual: A video was posted on YouTube Saturday evening and donors tuned in to watch the chefs prepare a four-course meal.

The menu included a Caribbean corn chowder and Costa Rican cabbage slaw from Lali Hess and Brittney Terry of The Juniper Spoon, Wabash College Professor Rick Warner’s jalapeno corn bread and smoked brisket prepared by Jason Anderson, Wabash’s executive chef.

Thompson, who was recently named an Indiana Culinary Hero by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch for her cafe’s response to COVID-19, baked her caramel apple pie in a cast iron skillet.

The chefs often turned to their own gardens for ingredients or gathered produce from local farmers.

“Our plan was to have things that were simple to make out of ingredients that you might be able to find when you’re sheltering — but a little fancy, a little different and something you might not think about doing,” Warner said in the video from his home kitchen, where he’s taught students how to cook.

The event benefits the clinic’s operating expenses, along with a new fund named for retired executive director Dr. Bill Doemel that assists with patient referrals.

The clinic provides medical and dental care to income-qualified uninsured or underinsured Montgomery County residents.

“Most of our patients are people who are employed but are not offered insurance through thier employer or are unable to afford insurance due to their high health care needs,” executive director Kay Nannet said.

The clinic recently expanded its hours to five days a week to meet the increased demand. The organization also coordinates the Meals on Wheels program and supports breast cancer survivors through the FAITH Alliance.

For more information, visit www.mcfreeclinic.org.

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