Real Men Cook Festival 2010
Taking inspiration from the “Men Who Cook” event being done in New York by Lana Turner, around 1990s, the “Real Men Cook” festival creators, Yvette Moyo Gillard and Kofi Moyo have made it a family staple today.
Speaking about his experience as the event creator, Moyo said, “When Yvette and I got married, she didn’t know that I cooked. After a while, we kept ticking that idea around and decided we would do the event patterned after what was taking place in New York. Lana Turner’s event wasn’t geared to men on Father’s Day. That was our notion to celebrate the involvement of men with families.”
At its first year, in 1990, the “Real Men Cook” festival in Chicago invited names like current President Barack Obama, ABC News’ Bill Campbell, former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, etc.
For most of the participants and guests at this event, food is the main attractions and not without reason. Every recipe that men try on this event has a story behind it.
For instance, Moyo’s Captain Kofi’s Candelight Catfish was named thus after he was trying to cook smoked catfish. After a thunderstorm led to a power failure inside the house, Moyo had to cook the rest of the fish with candle light under the porch.
However, most of the cooks, who started as novices at the event, have now become experienced cooks. Just like one Walter Cannon, who has been attending the “Real Men Cook” festival now for 16 years. His specialty is “felony” wings, which he insists are “so hot they make you catch a case.” On the other hand, there is Chaga Walton, a 61-years-old enthusiast, who has participated in this even along with his uncle, father-in-law and son.
Most of the participants agree that the event has given them the chance to celebrate Father’s Day in a non-convnetional way, where they are able to do something concrete for their families.
Although, over the past two decades, many among us have wondered as to why would some man give up his entire day of relaxation to serve other people, that too, with cooking! Well Moyo has tried to reply to these doubts in his book “Real Men Cook: More than 100 Easy Recipes Celebrating Tradition and Family.”
He explains, “After a number of years, I asked that question ‘What is it that makes you spend your own money, give up your time, which requires shopping and then cooking for that one day on Sunday?’ It takes an awful lot of effort to cook samples for 300 people, which is what we ask for them to do. I put all of those interviews together and wrapped my own story around it.”
The ‘Real Men Cook’ has been endorsed by its past celebrity cooks, like President Obama himself, who wrote in the foreword to the book, “My wife, Michelle, and I have enjoyed many of these events throughout the 15 years they’ve been hosted in Chicago.”
Now with so many good reasons to attend the festival, if you are anywhere near Chicago, do make it a point to drop in on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at the “Real Men Cook” festival and enjoy your Father’s Day out!!!