It's a major yearly fundraiser for the Washington County Arts Council — and after a COVID-induced hiatus last year, The Art of Cooking is back.
But with another COVID-related twist.
This year, rather than gathering at the Fountain Head Country Club, patrons will pick up their meals drive-thru style at the country club, then watch online as four sets of chefs demonstrate how those meals were prepared.
Tickets for the event, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, are $150 per person and include the meal, accompanying wine and a link to the virtual presentation.
The arts council's board brought the event back virtually this year because COVID-19 numbers remain high.
"Not knowing what was going to happen with the virus, and certainly the event is just packed normally with people shoulder-to-shoulder and hugging and kissing, and we did not want to be an occasion for spreading COVID-19 and the variants," said Executive Director Mary Anne Burke.
Each year, patrons enjoy a meal prepared from favorite recipes of guest chefs from the community while watching the chefs demonstrate how the dishes are made.
Usually the chefs are cooking in the Fountain Head kitchen while the patrons are eating (their meals having been prepared by the country club's staff), with a live feed televising the demonstrations to the dining room.
But this year, the demonstrations have been pre-recorded for Saturday night's presentation and will be followed by a livestreamed panel discussion, Burke said.
So far, she said, "we've gotten some very positive feedback."
"So we're hoping that people will understand and support us in that way."
Sponsorships, in fact, have been up this year, she said, "so we're grateful for that because we did not have this event last year. "
This year marks the 12th Art of Cooking event, and the council invited a group of alumni guest chefs to demonstrate their recipes. They include B.J. and Sherri Goetz, Corey and Jessica Green, David and Robin Lyles, and Jason and Melinda Malott.
The presentation will include videos of each couple preparing a course of the dinner as well as a tour of the Fountain Head kitchen with Executive Chef Todd Reynolds, followed by the live panel discussion.
Patrons should pick up their meals — which will include four boxed courses and two bottles of wine (one red, one white) — from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Snow date is 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30.
For tickets, go to the arts council website at https://www.washingtoncountyarts.com/ or call the office at 301-791-3132.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Art of Cooking fundraiser returns virtually after COVID cancellation