"I like cooking because I enjoy taking the raw ingredients and putting them together--like an artist starts out with a black canvas and comes out with a picture--then presenting it to someone.
I've got to credit my dad for my knowledge of good food. Dad was a good cook, and he was a waiter on a railroad dining car. He also worked at the restaurant in Chicago Union Stockyards called the Sirloin Room, in the Stockyard Inn Restaurant, one of the finest steak houses in the country. I went to work sometimes with my dad, and he'd show me how to set the table, fold the napkins and bus the tables. By the time I was sixteen, following in my dad's footsteps, I was waiting tables part-time at the same restaurant. He insisted that all of us, my sisters and my brothers, learn to cook.
"I passed that requirement down to my sons. They would come up with the menu idea, and then not only would we go about preparing it, but we'd go to the grocery store, where they learned how to go shopping. Dad also taught us how to shop: he showed us how to pick out meats, check for the date and check the prices, and spot a good deal or back one. From the planning to the preparation to the finished product, I've taught my kids just like my dad taught me.
"What I like most about Real Men Cook is that it gives to the little guy--the smaller not-for-profit agencies that don't have the big pocketbook. These organizations have to struggle to get dollars on a regular basis, and this benefit was, and continues to be, a shot in the arm and a positive reflection on the African American community. This is a pitch in,not a handout--it's giving someone a helping hand. If you have to question why people participate, then you're not even the right person to participate. In fact, you're not event the right person to attend, but I encourage you to. This changes you; its a year-round good feeling that starts on Father's Day and continues until the end of the year.
- Rick Mays, his signature dish at Real Men Cook is Monsieur Rick's Blackened Salmon
"I enjoy Real Men Cook because of the camraderie. There's a great group of men and women supporters that are always there to help to influence as well as to give you ideas and recipes, etc., and it's nice to know that somebody else if cooking beside you. So the money, the time, it's all well worth it, and we know that we are doing it for a charitable organization as well."
From the Author, "Chaga Walton is my right and my left hand. There isn't anything he wouldn't do; he's just that sort of guy. He and his son, Kahari, are a pair; they truly go hand in hand. Like many of the brothers, Chaga will do whatever it takes to make the Real Men Cook event successful. He's my stand-in if need be. Chaga embodies the spirit of Real Men Cook and passes the word and power all year long."
- Chaga Walton, his signature dish at Real Men Cook is Chaga's Stompin' Salsa
Chaga's family has had four generations of men participating in Real Men Cook in 15 years
"My brother Shedrick, who works with me, my dad and I enjoy cooking red beans and rice. We each add our own spin to this dish, injecting a little culinary license.
- Alderman Roderick Sawyer, The Alderman hosted Real Men Cook Chicago in 2011
Participating with Real Men Cook celebrates the achievements of African American men--who we are, what we do. It is incumbent upon us to pave the way for the next generation."
- President Barack Obama (Senator, when this quote was made), he participated in or attended several Real Men Cook Chicago events