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Personality: Vanessa Myers Mason

Spotlight on co-chair of Sauté & Sizzle: Richmond Men Are Cooking

10/22/2016, 2:31 p.m.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, recipes for holiday staples are passed between family chefs like love letters.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, recipes for holiday staples are passed between family chefs like love letters.

Cooking skills are heavily scrutinized.

And this year, thanks to Vanessa D. Myers Mason of the Rho Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Richmond men are submitting their best recipes and putting their skills to the test just in time for the holidays.

Mrs. Myers Mason is co-chair, along with Tamara Johnson, of “Sauté & Sizzle: Richmond Men Are Cooking,” an annual scholarship and community outreach program that brings Richmond area men together to play chef for a day by cooking — and sharing — their favorite recipes.

Thirty area “chefs” are expected to converge at the Richmond International Raceway’s Old Dominion Building from 7:08 to 11:08 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, with their recipes, black bib aprons and white chef hats in hand, says Mrs. Myers Mason, a past president of the sorority’s Rho Eta Omega Chapter.

The “chefs” will prepare their signature dishes and guests will have the opportunity to taste each dish and vote on the winners.

The sorority hopes the event, now in its 10th year, will raise more than $14,000 for student scholarships and community outreach programs, says Mrs. Myers Mason, who works as a trainer at the Virginia Employment Commission.

A few of this year’s “chef” participants include general contractor Walter Johnson, Richmond Public Schools teacher Celvin Richardson, neurologist Dr. Stacey Epps and systems analyst Clifford Potter.

They and 26 other Richmond men will be serving dishes such as she crab soup, meatballs, pulled pork sliders, jerk chicken with pineapple and coconut rice, linguine with shrimp and white wine sauce and several others.

“Former [Rho Eta Omega] president Sadá Hill and Karen Hicks attended the Philly Men Are Cooking event” more than a decade ago and were so impressed, they presented the idea to chapter members as a fundraiser in 1996, Mrs. Myers Mason recalls.

The program has been their signature fundraiser every year since. This year’s event, which is emceed by comedian Micah “Bamm Bamm” White, will feature special highlights, including a silent auction, dance floor with Twin Towers Pro DJ and Sound and line dancing with Kemel Patton. All these events are in addition to the chef tasting.

Some of Mrs. Myers Mason’s most notable past winners of the chef tasting include Marcel Wilson’s “Grabbage” recipe of London broil and cabbage and Donnie Oliver’s white chicken chili.

Meet this week’s Personality Vanessa D. Myers Mason: Community involvement: Co-chair, Sauté & Sizzle: Richmond Men Are Cooking, fundraiser for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Rho Eta Omega Chapter, and chapter past president; member, Commonwealth Chapter of The Links Inc.

Date and place of birth: Nov. 8 in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

Current residence: Henrico County.

Alma maters: Bachelor’s of science, business education, Bluefield State College; master’s, business education, Marshall University; advanced studies, Virginia Commonwealth University

Family: James “Oliver” Mason, husband.

What dishes will be served: BBQ, she crab soup, meatballs, pulled pork sliders, jerk chicken with pineapple coconut rice, linguine with shrimp and white wine sauce, sweet potato pie, potato salad, ribs, just to name a few.