Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chefs, Moms Serve Up Family Favorite Recipes; Amelia Island Resort Makes Yearly Brunch Extra Special

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chefs, Moms Serve Up Family Favorite Recipes; Amelia Island Resort Makes Yearly Brunch Extra Special

Article excerpt


AMELIA ISLAND -- Moms were the speciality of the house Sunday during the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island's Mother's Day brunch.

Three moms, and one mother-in-law, came from near -- Yulee -- and far -- Taiwan -- to spend the day with their sons (and a son-in-law), all chefs at the world-class resort.

While the Mother's Day brunch is an annual tradition at the Ritz-Carlton, this is the first year the chefs' moms have been a part of the day.

Their proud sons not only introduced their moms to brunch guests, they also served them dishes inspired by their mothers' own recipes.

"It's a special Mother's Day," said Joan Pike, mother of chef Robert Pike.

It was just a short drive down Florida A1A for Yulee resident Brenda Wright to join her son, Chef Glen Wright, for Sunday's special Mother's Day brunch. They were serving his version of her Southern-style chicken pot pie.

Glen Wright, who graduated from Fernandina Beach High School in 1989, said he learned a simple lesson from his mother when it came to cooking.

"It's got to taste good -- and don't burn it," Wright said.

Chef Rory Dunaway and his mom, Becky Dunaway, were making his variation of her recipe for macaroni and cheese casserole.

Rory Dunaway said the most important thing he learned from his mother about cooking was a skill she learned from her father -- the ability to open the refrigerator and make something good to eat from whatever was found inside.

While she was visiting this weekend, Rory Dunaway gave his mother an insider's look at the Ritz-Carlton's kitchens and pantries, including some waist-high buckets of walnuts and pecans.

"Oh, I could make some pecan pies with that," Becky Dunaway said.

Pike and his mom, who came from New Port Richey for the brunch, were serving guests eggplant parmigiano, a dish she taught him to make, and fettuccine with clam sauce, a dish he taught her.

Joan Pike said her son didn't express an interest in cooking until he got his first job when he was 16, busing tables at a restaurant in Pittsburgh. Robert Pike said he used to watch cooking shows on PBS as he was learning to cook, and his mom would buy recipe cards from the shows and send them to him.

She also helped him learn to cook with garlic, which was a tricky ingredient in the Pike household because Lester Pike, Robert's father, doesn't like garlic. Robert Pike was going to make a special serving of fettuccine just for his dad Sunday.

"I'll be making a dish without any garlic just for him," he said.

Ritz-Carlton Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf was getting a hands-on lesson in Chinese cooking from his mother-in-law, Doris Wu. Wu, who is from Taiwan, has been visiting her daughter, Nathalie, and her son-in-law for about a month.

The three were making pot-stickers, which are small stuffed dumplings, not a dish Tolxdorf normally prepares. …

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