Prmc Chefs Work As A Team

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The Rim Country's top culinary notables will share their talents for a benefit to raise money for the Payson Public Library expansion project.

The Library Friends of Payson and the Payson Roundup, will co-host this savory event, A Taste of Rim Country, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Tonto Apache Community Center.

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Members of Payson Regional Medical Center's culinary staff, (back row, clockwise) Maria Cohen, Geraldine Vaccaro, Helen Young, Kristy River will participate in the Taste of Rim Country event Feb. 17 at the Tonto Apache Community Center.

General admission tickets are now available.

Fifty percent of the ticket cost is tax-deductible. Funds raised will go toward the $1.4 million library expansion project, designed to fit the growing needs of Payson.

The plan calls for a 5,500-square-foot wing stocked with wireless Internet access, 20 computer terminals and extra space.

Chef Profiles:

Maria Cohen, Kristy River, Geraldine Vaccaro, Helen Young

What is your favorite dish to cook?

Cohen: Enchiladas and Italian food.

River: Almost anything.

Vaccaro: Pizza.

Young: Simple ones.

What do you love to eat?

Cohen: Everything.

River: Mexican food and seafood.

Vaccaro: Seafood.

Young: Anything that someone else plans.

What is the most complicated dish that you've ever made?

Cohen: Chicken-fried chicken -- it's very time consuming.

River: None, yet.

Young: I try not to cook too many complicated meals.

What inspired your love of food and cooking?

Cohen: I have an internal passion for cooking.

River: Watching my mom and dad cook.

Vaccaro: My family would get together every Sunday -- the food preparation and cooking was an integral part of the day -- I loved it.

Young: I like to eat.

What was your worst cooking disaster?

Cohen: Burning rice.

River: Just minutes before serving a catered meal I dropped the whole pan of chicken on the floor.

Vaccaro: When making lemon meringue pie, the filling wound up on top. I don't know why!

Young: Sugarless brownies.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Cohen: Cleaning up.

River: Trying to figure out how much to cook so I don't run out.

Vaccaro: The cleanup and having time to do everything.

Young: Standing on my feet all day.

What do you love most about what you do?

Cohen: Making my own recipes.

River: The people I work with and working with the public.

Vaccaro: Patient satisfaction.

Young: Meeting new people and serving my friends.

Do you have advice for someone who wants to start cooking?

Cohen: Ask questions and have a passion. Teamwork.

River: If it's what you really want to do -- go for it!

Vaccaro: Start young and go to school.

Young: Have fun.

Is there a trade secret that every person who cooks should know?

Cohen: Be organized.

River: Remember to cook by temperature, not by time.

Vaccaro: Use your intuition and visual presentation is a must.

Young: Cook by temperature and not by time or looks.

What is in your refrigerator at home?

Cohen: Vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, cheese and eggs.

River: Water, milk, cheese and leftovers.

Vaccaro: Hot sauce, eggs and homemade soup and stew.

Young: Not much.

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