A Half Shell Picnic

What’s more fun in the summer than a picnic? A picnic at a free Music on the Half Shell concert.

Whether you’re eating on the grass at Stewart Park, on the beach, or in the woods, food always tastes better outdoors in the summertime.

To help you plan and execute the perfect picnic, we were delighted to welcome to the June 2nd edition of Cooking for Charity, Chris Van Dyke, director of Culinary Arts at UCC. A graduate of Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Chris has been involved in the food service industry for more than 15 years and is in his second year heading the UCC program. He says, “My mantra is keep it simple, keep it fresh, and allow the flavor of the ingredients to really stand out.”

With his wife, Robin, Chris is a veteran of Half-Shell suppers, having contended (haven’t we all?) with limited space, inadequate or forgotten utensils, and heavy picnic baskets. Undaunted, he came up with an imaginative menu that cleverly incorporates an edible vehicle or skewer for each item, making spoons and forks unnecessary. Easy to prepare and and fun to serve: sort of “picnic meets hors d’oeuvres.” He’s excited to share his favorite finger food recipes — everything from appetizers and salad to main dish and dessert — demonstrating preparation techniques that he teaches his student chefs.

Our good friends at MarshAnne Landing Winery will be poured their excellent wines.