By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Feb. 28, 2019) Nearly 100 guests sampled culinary creations last Friday during the inaugural Art of the pARTy event, presented by the Worcester County Arts Council and the Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin.
Robert Gresehover, of Ocean Pines, was one of those in attendance and said he had trouble deciding on a favorite dish.
“There was a shrimp dish, which was delicious,” he said. “There was a pork dish that was delicious. There was a crab dish that was delicious.”
Gresehover, whose wife, Beverly, is on the board of the Worcester County Arts Council, said he enjoyed the festivities.
“It was outstanding,” he said.
Nine student chefs from high schools in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties participated. Representatives from Wor-Wic Community College also took part in the event.
Worcester Technical High School students, Shiloh Johnson, a junior, and Brandon Juarez, a senior, showed off their culinary skills during the event.
Johnson said she enjoys introducing people to different foods.
“I love that … they get to try something new,” she said.
Juarez has aspirations to work in the culinary industry and showcased a shrimp dish at his station.
“It’s special because [attendees] are able to see what I can do,” Juarez said. “[Cooking is] something that I would like to do.”
To promote food as a form of art, the Worcester County Arts Council and the Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association partnered to utilize cuisine as a medium for a new scholarship.
When asked what he loves most about cooking, Juarez simply said, “it makes people happy.”
“As chefs, we always think of food and pastry as art,” Phil Cropper, Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association chapter president and culinary instructor at Worcester Technical High School, said prior to the event. “We started talking to the Worcester County Arts Council about how we could feature food. They said, ‘Well, we’ve never thought of it as art but it makes sense.’ So, the Worcester County Arts Council decided to add it as a medium for their scholarship application.”
Sharon Sorrentino, president of the Worcester County Arts Council’s board, said the organization presents scholarships to graduating seniors of Worcester County high schools and college students studying fine arts, including visual arts, theater, arts, dance and writing. For the first time, culinary arts scholarships will be awarded in 2020.
Several American Culinary Federation-certified restaurants and organizations also participated in the event, including Coastal Cupcake of Berlin, Coastal Coffee Roasting in West Ocean City, Centerplate, Princess Royale, Marlin Moon and Nori Sushi, all of Ocean City, and Handy Seafood Company in Salisbury.
Cropper said he was happy with how the inaugural event turned out, and would like to continue the tradition.
“It fills a quiet Friday night in the offseason,” he said.
Sorrentino was also pleased with the event and enjoyed the array of food choices.
“Of course, the food was the big highlight. [There] was such a variety,” she said.