BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It was an evening of great food and wine, some music, along with fellowship and fundraising.
The Fort Madison Main Street district held one of their two annual Sensational Chefs events on Saturday at the ever-popular Elliott Test Kitchen at 827 Avenue G.
Around 35 local supporters of Main Street dined on a five-course meal complete with service and select wines and beverages, all sponsored by Hall Towing Inc. of Fort Madison.
As a new flare to the annual event, Fred Knoch, who is one of the main volunteer chefs at the Test Kitchen worked with students from local schools to prepare and serve those coming to hear about the Main Street program and see how the students learn to prepare food as part of the Test Kitchen experience.
Knoch spends every Tuesday cooking with Test Kitchen students and polishing his culinary talents by working alongside Kumar Wickramasingha, who is an award-winning chef and former restaurateur.
“Elliott Test Kitchen students love to work with Fred, and they learn how to cook because of his friendly, patient manner,” Wickramasingha said.
The first course appetizers included Gulf Shrimp on a baguette, homemade guacamole and chips and cheesy quesadillas. Then as a warm up to the main courses, the students, including Alexis Rehm & Ellie Schulte from Fort Madison Middle School, Jayden Fedler from Fort Madison High School and Brett Azinger from Central Lee Middle School, helped prepare and dish chicken curry on basmati rice and mint chutney.
Then attendees were treated to a baked tilapia on Asian coleslaw with a mango salsa before the main dish of lemon glazed pork loin and a brandy mushroom sauce, rosemary red potatoes and a braised cabbage.
The whole meal was topped off with apple cobbler and cinnamon ice cream.
Main Street director Cassie Gilbert, who worked the room while refilling wines and talking with guests, said there were 35 patrons to the event at $75 per person.
The funds will go directly to help Main Street programming throughout the year.