Dolena “Dolly” Bell
Photo by Scott Taylor
The youngest of five Gillikins, Bell grew up on a farm eight miles east of Beaufort in a little community called “Bettie.” Back then, everybody worked. Her father and brothers worked the farm by day, then often her father fished at night to support the family. They raised hogs and chickens, butchering and curing them themselves as there were no refrigerators or freezers then, she recalls. On Saturdays, her mother took fresh vegetables to the Morehead City market. “Sunday was a free day. Sunday we went to church.”
Find out more about Dolly Bell and her fellow Nutrition Leaders in Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas. It is available from North Carolina Sea Grant by calling 919/515-9101 or 252/222-6307, from your local bookstore, or from UNC Press.
From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas
Contributed by Joyce Taylor
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