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.
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.
Maria Cohen, Kristy River, Geraldine Vaccaro, Helen Young
What is your favorite dish to cook?
Cohen: Enchiladas and Italian food.
River: Almost anything.
Young: Simple ones.
What do you love to eat?
River: Mexican food and 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.