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
Chef Hallock Cooper Howard
Photo by: Jared Bell
In the fall of 1998, Hallock Cooper Howard, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, decided to open a restaurant with the help of her parents, Pam and Buddy Cooper, and a few long-time family friends. In April 1999, Amos Mosquito’s Swampside Café opened for business, serving lunch and dinner on the Morehead City waterfront.
Four years later, Hallock and her husband Sandy moved the restaurant from Morehead City to Atlantic Beach, renaming it Amos Mosquito’s Restaurant and Bar. In 2006, Hallock and Sandy hired an executive chef in anticipation of the birth of their first child. After the arrival of their second child in 2009, Hallock began working less and parenting more.
Hallock and Sandy brought on Luke Maguire as their executive chef when their first chef left in spring 2012. Luke comes to Amos Mosquito’s from the Wilson Country Club and has spent the past 14 years working in some of the finest restaurants in eastern North Carolina. He specializes in modern American cuisine with a southern flair, and enjoys cooking with local, sustainable ingredients.
Amos Mosquito’s is a member of Carteret Catch (http://carteretcatch.org/), a local-seafood educational organization dedicated to enhancing the public’s awareness of the Carteret County commercial fishing industry. The Carteret Catch brand is assurance that consumers are getting seafood direct from local fishermen. You will find fresh, local seafood at retailers and restaurants that proudly display the Carteret Catch logo in their windows and on their menus.
Contributed by Barry Nash