Volunteers honor the pros about to cook at upcoming CapitalChefs' Showcase

You know you’ve whipped up some mighty tasty dishes when professional chefs return for seconds.

That’s just what happened when volunteers prepared food for an Aug. 18 party at the Baton Rouge home of Rickey and Debbie Heroman to honor chefs, caterers, restaurateurs and sponsors participating in the upcoming Capital Chefs’ Showcase that benefits Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge.

“I think they are going to show up the chefs. Their presentations are amazing,” Susanne Duplantis, catering chef at Café Americain, commented. “The chefs will have to up” their efforts for the showcase.

“I’m going for seconds. I’ve liked pretty much everything,” Karl Will of Sweet Impressions said as he sampled the flavorful dishes made by the volunteers.

Stephanie Will, also of Sweet Impressions, was particularly fond of the Filet Gorgonzola Steak Roll-ups prepared by Jan LeBlanc Cox from a recipe she got from Clint Schexnayder. Cox had marinated filet mignon, cubed it and then wrapped the cubes with cream cheese and jalapeño slices in bacon.

Cox’s dish also drew comments for its Italian-themed presentation. She placed the rolls-up in won ton cups which she set on a dried pasta-filled tray and topped each with a tiny paper Italian flag.

Her dish combined two ingredients — bacon and jalapeño — that the volunteer cooks apparently believe are necessary to dazzle professional chefs and caterers since bacon and/or jalapeño were used in several dishes.

William Wells, of Culinary Productions, Catering & Event Planning, liked “the heat and the texture” of the Smoked Gouda-Chorizo Jalapeño Poppers prepared by Cathy Black from a recipe she found on FoodNetwork.com.

Darrell Harris, of Southern Fusion Catering, agreed. “I like the stuffed jalapeño. I enjoy spice.”

Connie Caldwell’s colorful French Fruit Tart quickly disappeared. She presses fresh fruit such as kiwi, raspberry, blueberries, strawberry and peach slices, into a cream cheese filling set on a thin crust.

Also getting raves were Belva Berlin Dewey’s festive, layered Caviar Supreme, Marcia Blacom’s Fresh Ginger Bread Pudding and the Creamy Lemon Nut Bars prepared by Ellen Gilmore.

The volunteers say they will leave the cooking for the Sept. 4 showcase to the professionals. This is the 32nd anniversary of the showcase, and some 40 chefs and caterers will be donating their time and talents to provide dishes for the gala, said Susan Henry Jones, who, along with Diane Bollinger, is co-chairwoman for the event’s planning committee.

The theme for the gala this year is “Savor the Night.” Bollinger said the evening also will include a remembrance of Mary Delle Gerald, who passed away Aug. 14. She, along with Mary Jane Howell and the late Judy Garland, was instrumental in getting the benefit started in 1982. She was the program and development director of what was then the Cancer Society of Greater Baton Rouge.

Among the other dishes, all garnished by host and florist Rickey Heroman, were Prosciutto and Mozzarella Skewers, Savory Cheese Roll With Amazing Party Crackers, Stuffed Mushrooms With Bacon and Olives, Black Bean and Mango Salsa, Tortellini Skewers With Pesto Sauce, Cheese-Bacon Flowerpots and Lemonade Cake.

Members of the committee who organized the chefs’ party were party chairwoman Ann Guercio, Blacom, Charles Bennett, Frances Bennett, Black, Joy Boudreaux, Elaine Burke, Caldwell, Michelle Cambias, Hal Canning, Cox, Belva Dewey, David Dewey, Mary Eddy, Gilmore, Debbie Heroman, Ellen Murphy, Adele Netterville, Manjari Patel and Bret Smith.

Capital Chefs’ Showcase 2014

What: A lavish, continuous buffet, live and silent auctions, open bar, live music by the V-Tones and raffle benefiting Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge

Where: Baton Rouge River Center, 275 S. River Road, St. Louis entrance

When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4

Tickets: $100 per person. For tickets or information, call (225) 927-2273 or cancerservices.org.