From left: Rev. Joseph Steinbauer, the Rev. Msgr. Dennis Metzger, and the Rev. Msgr. Marvin Borger attend the Little Sisters of the Poor celebrity chef event at the Pinnacle in Maumee. --THE BLADE/LORI KING
Bishop Daniel Thomas was dressed in chef’s whites — a jacket and toque — over his clerical collar to attend a gala fund-raiser.
He was ready for Celebrity Chefs at The Pinnacle, during which he and 13 priests from the Diocese of Toledo worked as servers to help raise money for the Sacred Heart Home for the Elderly in Oregon.
The facility is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order noted for such trust in God’s providence that they rely upon a tradition of begging for support. The celebrity chef event was an opportunity to solicit donations for the home, which offers independent living, as well as assisted and nursing care, for seniors in financial need.
An elegant smorgasbord was prepared by The Pinnacle’s culinary staff, with consultation from some of the priests, and then served by the clergy at “four different wonderful food stations,” as Msgr. Dennis Metzger, the head chef at Chef Bar IV, described them.
His teammates were Msgr. Marvin Borger and Rev. Joseph Steinbauer, and their menu started with Toledo favorite Betty’s Salad. This was followed by farm-raised salmon with a choice of either lime hollandaise or dill white wine sauce. Wild rice enhanced with sun-dried cherries, sliced almonds, and green onions rounded out the offerings along with a blend of zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms.
Chef Bar I started with a tossed garden salad topped with either Ranch or French dressing. Head chef Rev. Daniel Zak and teammates Rev. Michael Dandurand and Rev. Adam Hertzfeld then offered a succulent chef-carved beef tenderloin with either peppercorn glaze or bordelaise sauce, tender green beans amandine, and hearty garlic smashed potatoes.
Caesar salad was the starter at Chef Bar II, headed by Msgr. Michael Billian. He and fellow chefs Rev. Monte Hoyles, Rev. Ronald Olszewski, OSFS, and Rev. Geoff Rose, OSFS, then presented guests with pasta (either bowtie or rotini) and the option of Alfredo or marinara sauce. Meatballs or slices of zesty Italian sausage could accompany either dish, which came with garlic toast and a nutritious green vegetable.
“Because we’re required to serve something healthy,” said Msgr. Billian in mock seriousness, “there’s a broccoli floret” on each plate.
Rev. Robert Wilhelm, head chef at Chef Bar III, joined with teammates Rev. Charles Denny and Msgr. William Kubacki to serve a salad dressed in citrus cream. This was followed by oven roasted chicken breast with a selection of three vibrant sauces — garlic, Marsala, or piccata — and herb roasted red skin potatoes.
To end the delicious feasting, a dessert station presented sleek spoons filled with mousse so rich it might have been deemed sinful.
Some of the priests such as Msgr. Metzger, who grew up on a farm in Bethlehem, Ohio, are very talented in the kitchen. “Both of my parents could cook,” he said. “My mother made sure all eight of us could cook, the boys and the girls.”
Others, like Fr. Olszewski, were there to have fun while supporting a worthy cause. He chuckled as he said, “The only thing I can cook is instant oatmeal.” But he handled his serving duties with great joy, clearly having a good time.
Msgr. Billian and Msgr. Metzger each offered live auction items of personally prepared dinners in their rectories, at Blessed Sacrament Church and at St. Joseph Church in Sylvania, respectively. “He’s the best,” said guest Deborah Knight about Msgr. Metzger. “He does a beautiful gourmet meal.”
Bishop Thomas also contributed a live auction item – dinner for 10 at his Episcopal Residence — though he wouldn’t be doing the cooking himself.
Dan and Lynn Anderson served as masters of ceremonies for the evening, joining many supporters of the sisters and their mission, a group that included some of the residents in their care. Nan Zawisza was a warm and welcoming greeter to guests, for a cause that is very personal to her. “My mom was [at the Sacred Heart Home] for eight years. I’ll be eternally devoted to the sisters” for their kindness, she said.
Many of the Little Sisters attended the event, enjoying the food and the fellowship. Sr. Margaret said it was “a nice time to relax with the priests” and to socialize with parishioners from the Diocese who had come to offer their support.
The nuns also helped out wherever needed. Sr. Raymond Kortenhof said, “I was working with the Bishop” as he rotated to each station, and “we were having a blast.” As Sr. Andrea Munarriz set out servings of pasta at Chef Bar II, she said “I’ve been so happy” since professing vows in 1955 and coming to the United States from Spain. She smiled brightly as she acknowledged that while she doesn’t cook, “I like to eat.”
Bishop Thomas said, “This mission is so worthy. I sure am glad that I didn’t miss [the event] this year.” He had been in Philadelphia, still, before being installed in the Diocese of Toledo, when the fund raiser was held in 2014.
So many generous people attended and served at Celebrity Chefs at The Pinnacle that the evening was a huge success as well as lots of fun. “We are very grateful for the generous outpouring of support from our guests at the event,” said Bill Cook, the Sacred Heart Home’s director of development.
In terms of blessings, it seems the Little Sisters of the Poor are actually very rich indeed.
Contact Mary Bilyeu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6155 or on Twitter @foodfloozie.
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Maple and Mustard Cream Sauce
Msgr. Dennis Metzger says this recipe originally came from the Dec. 1992 issue of Bon Appétit magazine. “I have served it at dozens of dinner parties, and it is always a hit.”
10 bacon slices
20 large sea scallops
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup (see note)
Fresh chives cut into one-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350F. Arrange bacon slices on baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 8 minutes. Cut in half. Cool. Wrap bacon around sides of each scallop. Secure with toothpicks. (Can be done several hours ahead.) Refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 400F. Place scallops on baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile boil cream in heavy large skillet until reduced to 3/ 4 cup. Add mustard and maple syrup and boil until thickened to sauce consistency, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove toothpicks and arrange scallops atop sauce. Garnish with chives.
Note: Msgr. Metzger says to use “real maple syrup, not imitation.”
Yield: 20 scallops.
Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit.