Educator and author Joyce Taylor passed away Saturday, Nov. 16, after an extended illness. She was 81.
Joyce grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina but called Carteret County, N.C., home for nearly 60 years. She began her career as a consumer seafood specialist in 1974 for North Carolina Sea Grant at the North Carolina State University Seafood Laboratory in Morehead City where she became known as the “Guru of Seafood.” Joyce received recognition and numerous awards for raising the public visibility of North Carolina seafood.
Under her leadership, a group of community volunteers developed kitchen-tested, seafood recipes using only the commercial species landed by North Carolina fishermen. The very best earned the approval of Joyce and her team, and were included in the group’s newsletters — and later in the resource manual Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas, for which this blog is named.
Friends are invited to gather to remember Joyce at the North Carolina State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, 303 College Circle, Room 205, Morehead City on Friday, Nov. 22, from noon to 2 p.m.
To learn more about Joyce, go to www.mundenfuneralhome.net/obituaries/obituaries.php.
Chef Gerry Fong
Photo by Kent Graham
Chef Gerry Fong learned how to eat from his parents, Henry and Mary Fong, which, as Gerry says is “the basis of how to be a great cook.” Gerry’s parents were successful restaurateurs for more than 20 years in Rockingham and Laurinburg, N.C. They taught him the importance of quality ingredients, in part, by taking him at a young age to many fine-dining restaurants in New York City.
As Gerry grew up, he explored other occupations but always found himself returning to the kitchen. After college he traveled to the Philippines and worked on a hog farm in Laurinburg. Eventually, he followed his mother’s advice and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. There, the culinary fundamentals his parents had instilled were honed and refined. He also met his wife, Mariah, while attending the Culinary Institute. After graduation, they traveled the country to explore regional cuisines while working. Their jobs included stints at the Ritz-Carlton, Willoughby Brewing Company in Ohio and at Ashten’s in Southern Pines, N.C.
Gerry’s culinary journey eventually took him back to New Bern. At Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant, Gerry serves food that reflects his life: playful, precise, tasty and of the highest quality. Gerry also is dedicated to supporting local fishermen and never forgets his Chinese-Carolinian roots, marrying the two ’til he achieves food nirvana!
Contributed by Barry Nash