Payson Chefs Bring Scrumptious Tastes To The Payson Library

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Patrons can check out appetizers, desserts and even a cookbook, at the Payson Library on Feb. 23.

Saturday evening seven Rim Country chefs are donating skills, time and ingredients to make tasty appetizers and desserts for A Taste of Rim Country.

This is the first time the annual event will be in the building for which it raises money.

"We thought it would be a unique experience. It gives us a great opportunity to showcase the library and we are excited about it," Terry Morris, library director said.

"We are thrilled to have the participants back who do this every year for us," Bessie Tucker, reference librarian said.

Kevin DeWitt of the Zane Grey Steakhouse at Kohl's Ranch Lodge will return with the people's Taste of Rim Country trophy for the tasty steak skewers and bread pudding he made in 2007. The Payson Institute of Learning plans to offer a dessert at the tasting.

Also returning are Leoni Dobbins, owner-chef of the Red Elephant Bakery and Café, Rick DePhillipis of Cedar Ridge Restaurant at the Mazatzal Casino and Gerardo Moceri, owner of Gerardo's Italian Bistro.

New to the event is the cooking team from Chili's Bar and Grill, Tim Young, one of the chefs the Buffalo Bar and Grill and student chefs from the Payson High School Culinary Arts program.

"Chili's is the first chain restaurant we have ever had. Payson Culinary happened through Gerardo. The Buffalo Bar and Grill has become popular with the younger crowd," Tucker said.

Exactly what yummy food the chefs are whipping up is secret.

"I don't know and that keeps it interesting," Tucker said.

The chefs will be located throughout the main building, so patrons have only to follow their noses.

"The chefs put a lot of time and resources into this event and we can't thank them enough," Tucker said.

Vendors have donated an assortment of red and white wines for the event and there will be non-alcoholic beverages.

The $30 price of submission supports the library expansion project, as does the silent auction, which will be in the library's public meeting room.

So far, several artists have committed to donate paintings and we have a day use of kayaks for the auction.

"I would like to see some collectible books donated," Tucker said.

Fred Carpenter continues to be the man about town and will DJ the event.

"A Taste of Rim Country is always a fun, upbeat gathering. This year, people who might not have seen our incredible library can come in and see the need for expansion," library volunteer Vee Jeanne said.

Librarians issue an average of 110 library cards each month to new patrons, the internet is used 1,400 times each month, and both numbers are growing, Tucker said.

Between assisting library patrons Tucker is sleeping, eating and dreaming A Taste of Rim Country.

"If chefs want to participate but did not have a chance to respond to my letter, we'd love to have them come out and help support the community," Tucker said.

The event begins at 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23.

Tickets are $30 at the Payson Public Library.

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