Area men look to prove their kitchen skills

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Believe it or not, there are men who cook. And if you can’t imagine anyone excluding Emeril and the Iron Chef, there will be more than 100 non-celebrity cooking men gathered in Tuscaloosa from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at the ninth annual “Men Who Cook” event.

Among the approximately 30 teams of male chefs will be a team of three West Alabama citizens who will represent the region.

Greene County residents Prince Hines, a Greenetrack racing commissioner, and Greenetrack CEO Luther Winn Jr. have teamed with Sen. Bobby Singleton to create team Greenetrackers.

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“I wanted to team up with people that have a relationship with the community and a connection with Greenetrack because it does a lot for community organizations,” Hines said about organizing his team for his fourth year participating in the event. “Events like this provide a great service to people in West Alabama including Greene County. And my cup of tea is community development.”

Although this is Singleton’s first time participating in “Men Who Cook,” this isn’t the first time he’s prepared food for a large crowd, he said, since being the chef for many tailgating events.

“I’m a cooker and I love to cook that’s why I agreed to do it,” Singleton, 24th district-D, said. “Plus I think this is truly a worthwhile project.”

The event features a wide array of foods ranging from BBQ and chili to banana pudding and cinnamon rolls, but the Greenetrackers will prepare potato salad from Hines’ family recipe.

“The people in Tuscaloosa love my potato salad, so that’ll be my dish for this year,” he said. “I guess it’s because it has that motherly touch to it. I used to look over my mom’s shoulder whenever she was cooking and one day when she was preparing her potato salad, she taught me.”

Hines said the opportunity to represent the region in the event is a great opportunity and he hopes to encourage more people from the area to participate, or begin a similar event in the area.

“Maybe one day some other group will decide to do it in West Alabama to bring people together and raise money for community agencies that do positive things in the area,” Hines said. “It’s a great way to network and shine light on West Alabama. I hope to encourage something related to fundraising as it benefits the community.”

Funds from the event will benefit the Alzheimer’s Family Support Group, the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

“The money pays for the newsletter for the Alzheimer’s Family Support Group and transportation for FGP and RSVP,” FOCUS on Senior Citizens executive director Amelia Heath said. “Last year we raised about $18,000 and we would like to do that well or better this year.”

Teams can enter to participate in the event until mid-April, Heath said. For more information about entering, call (205) 758-3393.

Tickets for the event at Shelton State Community College are $10 in advance and $15 at the door and can be purchased at Alabama Credit Union, DCH Credit Union, Tuscaloosa Teachers Credit Union, prime locations of the Bank of Tuscaloosa, River Oaks Antiques, and at the FOCUS Center on Sixth Street in downtown Tuscaloosa. Children under 6 get in free.

“I would advise people to go ahead and buy their tickets now if they are in the Tuscaloosa area. There will be a silent auction, door prizes, and live music, but the program is very relaxed. It’s kind of a come and go thing,” Heath said. “There’s a really interesting variety of food and you can come eat as much as you want.”