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MEN Who COOK Chefs and their Recipes

Dan Barrett

Anthony Billittier

Dennis Black

Brian Brault

Jim Casion

Ryan Casullo

Steve Cichon

John Craig

Tim Herzog

Jeff Hirschfelt

Jim Hofmeister

Ben Johnson

Jon Karel

Jim Kuryak

Dave Mann

Jeff Pirrone

Aaron Podolefsky

Ted Schmidt

Paul Seil

John Simich & Paul Mazur

Chris Spicer


Dan Barrett

Buffalo Police Dept.


Dan Barrett is a 24 year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department and is currently Detective Sergeant in the East Side C District. He was an amateur chef at the very first Men Who Cook. This year he will be preparing the same dish of his very popular smoked barbecue ribs.

Dan has been active with Crisis Services since 1999 when he was a Detective in the Sex Offense Unit. He is also an Advisory Board Member of End Violence Against Women International.

Recipe: Smoked BBQ Ribs


  • fresh pork spare ribs
  • spice rub
  • Kansas City style barbecue sauce


smoke ribs over hickory chips

Anthony Billittier

D’Youville College, Founding Dean

School of Health Professions

Dr. Anthony J. Billittier IV is the Founding Dean of the D’Youville College, School of Health Professions.  Most recently, Dr. Billittier served as Commissioner of Health in Erie County, NY for 11½ years.  A board-certified Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Billittier is a graduate of the University at Buffalo, School of Medicine.  He completed his emergency medicine residency and emergency medical services fellowship training at Allegheny General Hospital, Medical College of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh.  He has authored or co-authored over sixty publications on emergency medicine and public health topics and is also an Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Health Professions.  Dr. Billittier has maintained his academic practice of emergency medicine with the UB emergency medicine residency at the Erie County Medical Center and continues to provide medical oversight to many EMS agencies including Mercy Flight and the Buffalo Fire Department.  In addition, Dr. Billittier participates in numerous community service activities including service on the HealtheLINK board and Chair of the Seneca Nation of Indians Health Commission.

Recipe: Guacamole


  • Avocados
  • Onion
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Garlic
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro
  • Seasoning


Combine. Serve with Tortilla Chips

Dennis Black

Vice President for University Life & Services

University of Buffalo

Dennis R. Black serves as Vice President for University Life and Services at the University at Buffalo (UB), the University’s senior student affairs, communications, diversity and sustainability officer.  He is also an Associate Professor (adjunct) in the Graduate School of Education (GSE), teaching undergraduate, graduate, and law students.

Mr. Black is the 2012 Campaign Chairperson for the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Within the community, Mr. Black serves as a trustee of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), Buffalo Prep, and the American Red Cross Life Share program.  He previously served as a trustee and board chair person at Hilbert College and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, and was a member of the Erie Community College president’s advisory board.

Among his UB responsibilities is Campus Dining and Shops, which offers over 20 dining locations, a catering service, and vending operations, and services approximately 834,607 meals a year.

Mr. Black did undergraduate studies at UB, where he received his Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the law school.  He is also a graduate of the Harvard University Institute on Educational Management (IEM).

Mr. Black resides in Buffalo with his wife, Leilani.

Recipe:  Buffaloed” Four Cheese Mac + Cheese

Yield: 12 – 6oz portions


  • 4 cups Elbow Macaroni
  • Salt, Pepper, and Oil (S,P & O)
  • 12 Tbsp. Whole Butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 each Bay leaf
  • 2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/3 Velveeta cheese
  • 1 1/3 cup Fontina Cheese
  • 1 1/3 cup Cheddar
  • 1Tbsp. Salt


1. Cook pasta al dente about 8 minutes w S&P&O.  Cool and set aside.

2. In a thick bottom stock pot, melt down butter, add flour and bay leaf to form your roux cook to break down the starch and you smell toasted nuts.

3. Blend in milk and cream, whisking till thickened.

4. Remove and discard bay leaf.

5. Fold in all other above cheeses, reserving `1/2 parm.

6. Re-introduce pasta to sauce.

7. Pan Garnish with parm and serve (with Buffalo Chicken Salad topping and Black and Blue Cheese Dressing drizzle).

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Yield: 6 ¾ lb.

  • 3 lb. Diced White Meat Chicken
  • ½ lb. Minced celery
  • 2 Cup Franks Hot sauce
  • 1 Cup Kens Blue Cheese
  • 1 Cup Good Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Paprika
  • ¾ lb. Cream Cheese
  • ½ lb. Bleu Cheese Crumbles


Quickly process all above ingredients in Buffalo Chopper and you’re done with the topping.

Black & Bleu Cheese Dressing

  • 1 ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 2 2/3 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Worchester
  • 1 tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • ¾ lb. Good Bleu Cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice


In kitchen mixer low speed, add all above ingredients mix just enough to blend try not to mash the cheese.  Drizzle on Buffalo Chicken Salad, which tops the Four Cheese Mac and Cheese.

Really Amateur Chef:

Dennis Black

Vice President

University at Buffalo


Support by:

Three Pillars Catering

UB Campus Dining and Shops




Brian Brault

CEO, Pure Solutions

Brian Brault has been a part of Men Who Cook every year since the very beginning. At the inception of this great program, Brian was in his 7th year as a member of the Board of Directors.

Brian says that he loves the opportunity to blend his passion for cooking with an opportunity to advance the great work that Crisis Services provides the people of Western, New York.

Brian is CEO and founder of Advanced Facilities Services and PURE Solutions NA, two companies based in Western, New York.

He lives in Clarence with his wife and two of their three children.

Recipe: Roasted Corn and Ricotta Ravioli


  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small summer squash
  • 2/3 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 med shallot
  • 2 cups of Vegetable stock
  • ¼ C of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 C of Ricotta cheese (part skim)
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • ½ C of Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


Bring Vegetable stock to a boil.

Place sauce pan on stove and bring lightly salted water to a low boil in prep for ravioli.

Cut the corn off of the 4 ears of corn.

Use 2 Tbsp of  the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter. Sauté the corn until soft and then divide into three piles. Half the corn should go into a container to puree with 1 Cup of the heated vegetable stock and 1 Tbsp of butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Set pureed mixture aside.

Take half of the remaining corn and mix it, in a bowl,  with the cheeses. Add a dash or two of salt, stir and refrigerate.

Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a sauté pan. Add half the chopped shallot to the pan and sauté until starting to become clear. Finely chop half a zucchini and summer squash and add to the shallot mixture. Add 1 Tbsp of butter to mixture and sauté until much of the liquid dissipates (10-15 min) stirring constantly. Add corn puree mixture to the vegetables, turn heat to lowest setting and stir occasionally.

Cut bacon into ½ inch strips. Sauté in pan until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set on paper towel. Drain bacon fat, replace pan on stove and add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add remaining chopped shallot to pan and sauté until starting to become clear. Cut grape tomatoes into quarters and add to shallot mixture. Sauté until tomatoes start to break down. Add Corn and bacon to mixture, stir and set aside.

Make homemade pasta and run through pasta roller to make thin sheets. Cut 2” round pieces of pasta (either by using a glass and a knife or a cookie cutter). Dampen edges of pasta rounds with water and fill with small dollop of the corn cheese mixture. Fold over pasta and press edges with a fork on both sides (top and bottom) to seal ravioli shut.

Place in boiling water and cook until floating at the top of the pan.

In large serving bowl or plate, place a ladle of the vegetable, corn puree mixture in the center. Place the desired amount of raviolis on top and garnish generously with the tomato, corn bacon mixture.

Serves 4-6 entrée size portions or 8-10 appetizer  portions.

James Casion

CEO, Baker Victory Services


Need Bio




Recipe: Chicken Marbella

Yield: 16 pieces, 10 or more portions


  • ½ C. olive oil
  • ½ C. red wine vinegar
  • 1 C. pitted prunes
  • ½ C. pitted Spanish green olives
  • ½ C. capers with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
  • ¼ C. dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 chickens, (2 ½ lbs. each), quartered
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 1 C. dry white rice
  • ¼ C. fresh Italian parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚.
  3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.
  4. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow, (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minuets to 1 hour.
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining juices in a sauceboat.


Ryan Casullo

AVP, Five Star Bank


Ryan Casullo is in his 4th year as a Board member at Crisis Services and this is his 3rd time as an amateur chef at MWC.  His previous dishes include a Wild Game Chili and Pulled Pork Sliders.  This year he has explored new boundaries with a Smoked 3 Cheese Mac N’ Cheese with a breadcrumb and bacon topping.  Ryan was born and raised in the restaurant business and has always enjoyed cooking and exploring new options for everyday foods.


Ryan is an Assistant Vice President at Five Star Bank in Amherst and most recently was a Small Business Lender with First Niagara.   Active in the community he also serves as the board chair for Music is Art, as well as coaching both of his kids soccer teams.  He resides in Tonawanda with his wife Jill and 2 children.


Recipe: Smoked 3 Cheese Mac N’ Cheese (w/ breadcrumb/bacon topping)


  • 1 lb Macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups Gouda
  • 2 cups Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 cup Parmesan


  • ½ lb bacon
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter

Salt, pepper to taste


  1. While doing step 2, prepare a roux by melting the butter and stirring in the flour mixing while heating on low for approximately 5 minutes.  Stir in milk and bring to a boil.  Stir in cream cheese until smooth.
  2. To smoke the Cheese(Gouda and Cheddar); pre-heat smoker to very low (100 degrees) and place cheese in cubes in a casserole dish.  Leave uncovered and smoke 1 hour.  Cheese may slightly melt so remove quickly once done and stir into your roux.
  3. Remove cheese from smoker and stir into the roux on a low temperature constantly stirring to keep from burning and sticking to the pan.
  4. Remove from heat and add cooked pasta and stir in cheesy mix.  Once done, place in casserole dish spreading evenly and sprinkling Parmesan cheese on top.
  5. To make topping: melt butter in a frying pan and add breadcrumbs stirring constantly over low-med heat.  Once bacon is cooked and cooled, break or cut bacon into small pieces and mix into the breadcrumbs.
  6. Add breadcrumb topping to casserole dish, place in oven uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, remove and enjoy!

***Alternate method***

Prepare the dish in the kitchen melting the cheese in the pan, THEN take the whole casserole dish and place that in the smoker at 225degrees for 1.5 hours or until golden brown.  No need to pre-smoke the cheese with this method.

Steve Cichon

News Director, WBEN Radio

STEVE CICHON is an author, journalist, historian, and most importantly in his mind, Buffalonian. Steve’s the News Director at WBEN Radio; the author and publisher of two Buffalo history books; and the Publisher and Editor at staffannouncer.com, a website dedicated to celebrating Buffalo’s pop culture history.

Always willing to lend a hand to a great cause like Crisis Services, Steve learned to cook standing at the knees of his grandmothers, one of whom had 10 and the other 7 kids. There were always lots of people for dinner, and lots of dinner to be made. Chicken Paprikash was a staple in the home of Grandma Coyle, a Hungarian girl who married an Irishman.

Recipe: Chicken Paprikash “Sundae”

Four generations ago, my grandma’s family came from Hungary. My Chicken Paprikash is the latest evolution in a recipe that has been tweaked and adapted untold numbers of times by Wargos, Coyles, and Cichons since it was first served by my great-great Grandma Wargo in America in 1908.

Since I have Celiac Disease and have to eat gluten free, my version drops out dumplings, but makes up for it with two other starches. All of the ingredients used are naturally gluten free (unless you are using chicken broth in the express method, in which case you have to make sure the broth you buy is gluten free. Many are marked as such.)

I’ve included two preparation methods, with slightly varied ingredients. The long way tastes a little better, and certainly leaves you feeling more accomplished in the kitchen. There are a lot of steps, but this is actually a pretty easy recipe.


Express method:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large cans of chicken broth (make sure it’s Gluten free for GF prep)


Scratch method:

  • 4 whole chicken breasts
  • bunch of celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 onions, roughly chopped
  • salt, pepper
  • water.


  • Oil
  • paprika
  • 3   Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp  paprika
  • cold water
  • 2lbs potatoes
  • salt
  • milk
  • butter
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
  • salt


For scratch method, combine chicken, celery, onions and salt/pepper in a stock pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil, simmer at least an hour, but the longer, the more flavorful the stock. Drain and reserve the fluid and the chicken separately, discard the onions and celery. After allowing the chicken to cool, pull the meat off the breasts, being careful of skin and small bones. Pull the meat apart, shredding it. Coarsely cut the shredded meat.

For express method, bring chicken breasts to a boil in the two cans of broth, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth, allow it to cool. Pull the meat apart, shredding it. Coarsely cut the shredded meat.

Toss the chopped chicken with paprika to taste. Heat oil in a heavy skillet, and slowly add chicken, allowing it to brown slightly. The chicken will be dry, and will likely absorb the oil, so you’ll likely have to add more oil as you add more chicken.

Once chicken is browned, add some of the reserved broth to the pan to deglaze it. Try to get any chicken stuck to the skillet to come off, as you dump the chicken back into the broth in a stock pot.

In a separate bowl (or measuring cup), mix corn starch,  1/2 tsp paprika, and about half a cup of COLD water. Water must be cold or corn startch won’t dissolve. Mix throughly, add to chicken and broth.

Place the stock pot on simmer until throughly heated.

Cut and peel potatoes and boil with salt. Mash with milk and butter.

Boil 4 cups of water with salt, stirring, add 2 cups of rice. Reduce heat to low, simmer 20 minutes.

With chicken, mashed potatoes, and rice complete, assemble individual portions. For presentation, a clear drinking glass works best.

Put a half-inch layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom, a half-inch layer of rice next, and a half inch layer of chicken with a liberal amount of broth, and continue until full. Lightly sprinkle the top with paprika.

Serve warm.

John Craig, PhD.

Director of Education and Outreach, WNED

John D. Craig, Ph.D. is a native of WNY and has worked in our community for over 22 years at various educational institutions and is currently the Vice President for Education & Outreach at WNED.  A veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving from 1982-88, John earned degrees from Niagara County Community College (A.A.S.), a B.S. degree in Commerce and an M.S. degree in Business Education both from Niagara University. Dr. Craig completed his doctoral work at UB and received his Ph.D. in Education Administration in 1999, focusing on student transition theory from school to work.

Dr. Craig worked five years at Bryant & Stratton Colleges as well as spent 13 years at Niagara County Community College. He has spent the majority of his time working and teaching in WNY supporting students, families, and educators as well as community agencies and business and industry.  He has chaired numerous regional and state organizations, committees, and conferences in addition to starting a non-profit agency for the Lockport community through volunteerism, fundraising, and outreach.  Dr. Craig has taught in the graduate schools of education at Niagara University, Buffalo State and D’Youville College’s and also for 13 years in the Continuing Education Department at NCCC.

Dr. Craig was hired in September 2008 at WNED/ThinkBright as the Director of Education & Outreach serving our region, the state and the national level on many PBS educational programs.  His wife Martha is also a WNY native, and they have two daughters, Liza and Ella.

Dr. Craig enjoys cooking for family & friends and has cooked in local restaurants. .

Recipe: Guinness Irish Lamb Stew


  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder with a little fat, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into large dice
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 quarts lamb or beef stock, or as needed
  • 12 ounces Guinness stout
  • 1 cup pearl barley (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


For a real Irish country touch, include the barley — cook it for 20 minutes in 3 cups of lamb or beef stock, then add it when you return the meat to pot with the vegetables.

Cut off some of the parsley leaves and chop enough to make 2 tablespoons; reserve. Cut off some parsley stems, and tie them into a bundle with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme; reserve.

Season the meat with salt and brown the meat in a little oil. Remove and reserve, and sprinkle with a little flour, shaking off excess. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté, tossing to coat with the fat. Add the Guinness and deglaze, scraping up any caramelized meat juices. Add the potatoes, return the meat to the pot (and the barley if you’re using it). Add enough stock to barely cover, cook over medium heat until just boiling, then reduce heat to very low and simmer 2 – 3 hours, until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.

Check seasonings, add salt and pepper to taste, and then remove from heat, stir in parsley and the cornstarch (mixed into 4 teaspoons water) and stir. Cook over low heat for a few more minutes to thicken. Serve with plenty of Irish brown or white soda bread, tea and more Guinness if you like.

This recipe feeds six-eight people depending on your portion sizes

Tim Herzog

President, Flying Bison Brewery

Graduated 1980 from Buffalo State College (B.S. Design/ Art Education)

Married in 1981

Began homebrewing in 1982

Father of two sons

Opened Flying Bison in 2000

Recipe: Harvest Stew


  • 5 lb. pork shoulder trimmed and cubed
  •     Vegetable oil (amount depends on type of pot)
  •     3 turnips
  •     3 lbs. potatoes
  •     1 lb. carrots
  •     2 large sweet onions
  •     4 large apples of your choice (I use Ginger Gold)
  •     6 pack Bisonfest (some for the pot, some for the cook)
  •     2-3 quarts Chicken Broth
  •     Seasonings; I use Grandma’s “add some and taste it” technique to arrive at a good taste, so amounts are up to you
  •     White Wine Worcestershire
  •     Sea Salt
  •     Cinnamon, Allspice, Paprika, Lemon Pepper, Ginger


Heat pot and add enough vegetable oil to coat bottom. Peel and mince 1 onion, 1 apple, and 1 turnip. Sweat in pot until softened, and set aside. Add a bit more oil, and brown the pork cubes. Add the broth, and turn up heat. Stir in 1 bottle beer and add 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. all other seasonings. Once liquid is boiling, reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Peel and dice remaining carrots and turnips and add to pot. Cook down for 15-20 min. Peel and dice potatoes. Add to pot and cook 20-25 min. more. Peel and dice apples and add to pot. Season more if you wish and cook until vegetables are desired texture and “gravy” is required density. You may thicken with a roux if you like, or use more Bisonfest to thin if necessary.



Jeff Hirschfelt

Director, National Statler Center 

Jeffrey Hirschfelt, CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator), is the Director of National Statler Center. He teaches Hospitality courses customer service topics for the Statler programs. He started working with the Statler Center as an externship partner with the first graduating class. After working as a consultant, Jeff came to Statler full time in April 2004. Jeff is also the Director of the Olmsted Institute of Business & Technology, a New York State proprietary business school.

His hotel experience includes General Manager of Red Roof Inn, Holiday Inn and Beaver Hollow Conference Center. His career spans most hotel positions and employment with Hyatt Hotels, Days Inns and other hotel chains. Jeff holds an AS degree in Hotel Technology from Erie Community College, Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Masters of in Higher Education from Buffalo State College and also attended Ealing College School of Catering in London, England.

His father, Jacob was a Chef at the Statler Hotel Buffalo in the 1960s

Recipe: Jambalaya New Orleans

  • ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken, any cut, cut into strips
  • ½ lb. Italian sausage, cut into ½ iin. slices
  • ½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined and cut in half
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 C. green pepper, julienned
  • 1 C. red pepper, julienned
  • 1 C. celery, julienned
  • 1 C. onion, julienned
  • 1 C. tomatoes, fresh diced or canned
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp.black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. red hot pepper seeds or sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Jays seasoning
  • ¼ C Sherry wine


Heat butter in a pan, sauté chicken, sausage, garlic and bay leaf for about 15 minutes.

Add green and red peppers, celery, onions, oregano, black, red pepper seeds, cumin and sauté until meat is cooked, about 15 minutes more.

Add tomatoes, sauté 10 more minutes.

Add shrimp, sauté until shrimp turns pink.

Adjust seasoning.

Serve over rice or add uncooked rice and simmer until tender.

Jim Hofmeister

After teaching high school art in Lackawanna I retired to the next phase of my life which was to create and manufacture high karat jewelry.My wife Suzanne and I have maintained a jewelry studio in the Tri-Main building since 1998.

I have always had a love of cooking and teaching as well. For 23 years my wife and I wrote the food artcle for Spree magazine, and during that time we taught many cooking workshops.

Our specialty was bread baking.We not only taught workshops but created many recipes, which we still bake, not only for our own use but for gifts as well. We feel that a gift of food and cooking is the sincerest form of giving because it is truly from your heart and soul.




  • 2  med-large onons, chopped
  • 1/2  c. butter melted
  • 1    clove garlic, mashed


  •  1/4 c. butter melted
  • 1    lb chicken liver  (with juices)
  • 1    tbsp flour
  • 1/4  tsp   salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar


  • 1/2  tsp pepper
  • 1  bay leaf
  • pinch (good size) thyme
  • pinch  (good size) oregano
  • pinch  (good size) tarragon


  •  3 tbsp Brandy


Place butter (A) in a large frying pan amd heat very slowly and add rest of (A) do not brown. Remove and place in processsor. Add (B) to skillet   and sautee until tender and still alittle pink. Stir in all of (C) still cooking very gently and slowly. Cover and simmer one minute over low heat, remove bay leaf. Place in food processor fitted with steel blade. Puree mixture add  (D) gradually as machine runs. Taste. Place in crockor bowl. Cover and chill. Best made day before.

NOTE   Don’t be shy with pinches of herbs or onion. These really spark this recipe.

Ben Johnson

Parkside Community Association

I was born and raised in Greenwich Village in NYC.  I received a bachelors of Architecture from the University of Virginia followed by a Masters of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.  After 10 years of living and working in Boston developing affordable housing, moved to Buffalo when wife received a teaching position with the University at Buffalo.  Spent 2 months working the factory floor at ChocoLogo in downtown Buffalo before joining the Parkside Community Association as Executive Director.  I’ve been making hand crafted chocolates in my spare time ever since.

Proud husband of Dr. Corrie Stone-Johnson, and father of two, Mia (6) and Nate (4), both of whom don’t much care for chocolates.

Recipe(s): Assorted Chocolates

Salted Caramel:

  •  126g white chocolate 35g granulated sugar14g water91g heavy cream7g light corn syrup4g sea salt21g salted butter7g cocoa butter
  1. Combine cream corn syrup and salt in small saucepan and keep at a low simmer.
  2. Mix  sugar and water into a ‘wet sand’ consistency.  Cook over high heat      until dark amber and smoking.  Slowly pour cream mixture into caramel, stirring to break up any hard caramel bits.  Immediately  pour over the white chocolate in a separate bowl.
  3. Let  sit for 2 minutes, then stir to incorporate.  Once ganache reaches 95      degrees F, add soft butter and melted cocoa butter, mixing to combine.
  4. Pipe  ganache into shells made of dark chocolate.

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Ganache:

Hazelnut Puree:

  • 98g whole hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 98g whole hazelnuts, skin on
  1. Toast hazelnuts in oven at 350 until fully toasted and aromatic.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  Process nuts in food processor into a paste-like consistency.

Cinnamon Ganache:

  • 154g milk chocolate
  • 84g heavy cream
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 14g hazelnut puree
  • 21g salted butter
  • 7g ground cinnamon
  1. Place  chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat cream in a small saucepan and add cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a gentle      simmer, remove from heat and cover.  Let the cream steep for 30 minutes,      before straining into a clean bowl.  Return cream to a simmer again.
  3. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate, stirring to incorporate.
  4. When the ganache reaches 95F, add the hazelnut puree, butter and ground      cinnamon, mixing to combine.
  5. Pipe   ganache into shells made of milk chocolate.

St. Germain Ganache:

  • 75g sugar
  • 120g heavy cream
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 30g Elderflower liqueur
  • 75g butter
  1. Make a caramel with the sugar and cream, and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour caramel over the chopped chocolate and stir to incorporate
  3. Allow the ganache to cool to 81F then stir in the liqueur and softened butter.
  4. Pipe ganache into shells made of dark chocolate.

Coffee-Cardamom Ganache:

  • 36g ground decaffeinated coffee
  • 4 dried green cardamom pods
  • 300g heavy cream (+ more as needed)
  • 45g corn syrup
  • 9g instant coffee powder
  • 90g invert sugar
  • 210g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g milk chocolate chopped
  • 30g unsalted butter
  1. Combine cream, ground coffee and cardamom in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes
  2. Strain the cream into a clean bowl, adding enough fresh cream to bring the mixture back to 300g.  Add corn syrup and instant coffee powder and return to a boil.
  3. Combine the invert sugar and chocolates in a large bowl, then pour the hot cream mixture over it.  Stir to incorporate.
  4. When the ganache reaches 95F, stir in the softened butter.
  5. Pipe ganache into molds made of dark chocolate.

Orange-Raspberry Ganache:

For orange ganache:

  • 200g orange juice
  • 100g heavy cream
  • 2g grated orange zest
  • 27g corn syrup
  • 40g invert sugar
  • 175g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30g unsalted butter
  1. Reduce the orange juice in a small pot by half, until you have 165g remaining
  2. Add cream, orange zest, and corn syrup and return to a boil.
  3. Combine the invert sugar and chopped chocolate in a large bowl.  Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate, then stir to incorporate.
  4. When the chocolate has cooled to 95F, stir in the softened butter.

For Raspberry Puree:

  • 50ml water
  • 50g 10x sugar
  • 500g frozen and thawed raspberries
  • 10ml lemon juice
  1. Combine water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil to make a simple syrup.
  2. Blend raspberries in a food processor, adding the cooled syrup and lemon juice.
  3. Blend to a smooth puree then pass through a fine mesh strainer.

For Raspberry Ganache:

  • 360g raspberry puree
  • 70g invert sugar
  • 600g dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter
  1. Combine the raspberry puree and invert sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then allow it to cool.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler slowly until it reaches 113F.  Gradually add the raspberry puree, mixing continuously.
  3. Add the softened butter and stir to incorporate.
  4. Pipe a small dot of raspberry ganache into each milk chocolate shell, then cover with Orange ganache.


Jon Karel

Bartender, Vera Pizzeria


Jon Karel moved to Buffalo from Rockland County, NY in April of 2010 after retiring from the music business. He and the Vera team have set out to reform Buffalo’s standard for cocktail culture, and restore it to its former glory. Channeling, hopefully, the spirit of great bar men like Johnny from the Rendezvous.

Recipe: Fitgerald & Negroni Cocktails

Fitzgerald: dry gin. Fresh squeezed lemon juice. Simple syrup. Angostura bitters.


Negroni: dry gin. Sweet vermouth. Campari. Orange oil.

Jim Kuryak


Insurance Group


Jim Kuryak is returning to Men Who cook after participating in the inaugural event.  Jim travels frequently, and food-related destinations are typically a priority.   Jim is happy to be back to volunteer at this great event which benefits such an important organization in Crisis Services.  Brian Brault, a regular chef at the event commented, “I’m glad Jim is participating in this year’s event. Jim is one of my favorite home-cooks.  His food is always memorable.”

Jim is a partner with Niagara National Insurance Agency, here in Buffalo, NY.  He lives in Pendleton with his wife Kathy.


Recipe: Smoked Trout, Apple-Horseradish Cream Crostini


  • ½ pound of smoked trout, skinned and flaked
  • 2 tart apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
  • Handful of fresh chives
  • 2 celery stalks, finely cut
  • ¼ cup of horseradish
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Kosher salt & Fresh ground pepper
  • Pumpernickel Bread – cut into small, bite-size pieces
  • Olive Oil


In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, chives, celery, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Mix together.

Add the smoked trout.  Gently fold together, being careful not to break up the trout.  Taste and re-season.

Heat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place bread on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle bread pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place in oven until toasted, approx. 5 minutes.

Portion trout mixture onto bread pieces and garnish with extra chives.

 David Mann

 Buffalo Police Department


Lt. David Mann has been a member of the Buffalo Police Department for 26 years, and the Lieutenant in charge of the Buffalo Police Department’s Sex Offense Section since 1995. The squad investigates sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, missing persons, juvenile delinquency, and administers the registration and management of over 1000 registered sex offenders in the City of Buffalo. David is a past Coordinator of Crisis Services’ Police/Mental Health Coordination Project. In 1997, Lt. Mann participated in the DOJ’s National Summit on Sex Offender Management, which led to the formation of the Center for Sex Offender Management. He is a former Chair of the Multidisciplinary Coordinating Council and the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence. In addition, he is a founding member of Erie County’s Child Fatality Review Team, and of the Family Justice Center, and a member of the Boards of the Parkside Community Association and the It Happened to Alexa Foundation.

Recipe unavailable (trade secret)

Jeff Pirrone

The John Oishei Foundation

Basic Human Needs Initiative

This is Jeff’s second year attempting not to poison the wonderful people that support Crisis Services at the annual Men Who Cook Event.  Though reviews were good, last year’s pumpkin ravioli was messy and executed poorly.  Jeff hopes to have a neater plate tonight with his fresh chicken enchiladas and yellow rice.  Beware, this dish is a little spicy!

Jeff is the Supervisor of the Mobile Safety-Net Team, a basic human needs initiative created by The John R. Oishei Foundation, along with a Basic Human Needs Oversight Committee of which Crisis Services is a member.  The initiative was created in response to the economic downturn and the growing need for human services across the region. For many residents in need, this was their first time accessing services, and this new demand for human services began to reveal service gaps, access barriers and lack of knowledge among residents about resources that exist to assist them.  This initiative seeks to strengthen the region’s safety net through an assessment of what human services are available in communities and by identifying access barriers and areas of unmet need. The Foundation also seeks strategies and recommendations for overcoming existing barriers, for providing additional services where these are lacking and for increasing collaboration among service providers so that more clients can be served more comprehensively.

Jeff is grateful to be a part of this event and looks forward to a great night!

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

To come….


Dr. Aaron Podolefsky

President, Buffalo State College

Dr. Aaron M. Podolefsky was appointed president of Buffalo State College in July of 2010. Before that, he

served as President and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Central Missouri, a position he held since 2005. In close collaboration with his campus, he successfully led the development of a new Strategic Plan and a new Campus Master Plan, and also led the University through the transition to adopt a new vision, a new name and new crest.

Prior to his tenure at the University of Central Missouri, Dr. Podolefsky served for seven years as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Before that, he served for eight years as Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UNI. From 1986 to 1990, he was Professor of Anthropology and head of Western Kentucky University’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. Prior to this position, he served as Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at West Virginia University, and was a Research Associate for the Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research at Northwestern University.

Dr. Podolefsky earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from San Jose State University and received two Master of Arts degrees (liberal studies and anthropology) and a Ph.D. with Distinction from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He has authored numerous scholarly books, textbooks and articles, and he is a fellow of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Dr. Podolefsky is married to Ronnie Podolefsky (Shapiro), an attorney practicing in the areas of civil rights, employment law and mediation. They have two adult sons and are city residents who enjoy traveling with their two dogs. Dr. Podolefsky was raised in Brooklyn, where he often enjoyed cheese blintzes, which he has recreated for you tonight.

 Recipe: Ronnie Podolefsky’s Homemade Blintzes


For the filling:

  • 1 lb. Farmer Cheese  
  • 1 lb. Pot Cheese or dry curd curd cottage cheese
  • ½ lb. Cream Cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 heaping tbsp sugar
  • 1 C. golden raisins (dark raisins are too strong flavored)

For the berries:

For the blintzes:


For the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made up to 1 day ahead.)

For the berries: Combine sugar, water, and 1/2 cup of the berries in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the berries break down, sugar is dissolved, and mixture has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the remaining berries to a small bowl and pour in the syrup. Stir in the lemon juice and let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. (Can be made up to 1 day ahead.) Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the blintzes: Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until evenly combined, about 30 strokes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat that has been coated with salted butter. “My family’s shtetl version panfries these in generous amounts of butter. Maybe that’s why my grandmother outlived three husbands.” Add 1/4 cup batter, tilting the pan to evenly cover or spread out in a circle using the back of a spoon. Cook until just set and browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and place some filling on the cooked side of the crepe, then roll it up like a burrito and fry it in salted butter until both sides are golden and the filling is hot. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the berries and a dollop of apple sauce.

Important Note: Do NOT use cinnamon in the Blintzes.If you do, the ghosts of one nundred Jewish grandmothers will kill you in your sleep!




Ted Schmidt

Buffalo State College 


I am an associate professor of Economics & Finance at Buffalo State.  While I have worked there and lived in Buffalo for the past twenty-two years, I was born and raised in Southern California.  Shortly after graduating from high school I moved to Hawaii, which is where I received my culinary experience cooking at Hyatt Hotels for about six years.  Toiling in a hot kitchen made me re-think my career path, so I returned to California to pursue a college degree, which eventually ended with a Ph.D and job offer at Buffalo State.

Recipe: Chile Colorado with Corn Salsa Recipe

Chili Ingredients:

  • Chuck Roast cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Seeded Dried Ancho Chiles rehydrated and blended into a paste
  • Lard (or olive oil to make it a little healthier)
  • Cumin, Oregano, and Salt
  • Garlic  (lots)
  • Chicken Stock


To rehydrate dried chiles, bring a pot of water to boil place chiles in and turn off heat (make sure seeds are taken out).  Let stand for 20-30 minutes.  Place Chiles and some of the water in a blender and puree (note: if water tastes too bitter from the chiles, use tap water).  Brown beef with lard and garlic, add seasonings at the end then dump into large pot (note: go easy on the salt as you will simmer meat in stock).  Add enough stock to cover the meat, then add chile paste to taste.  Bring to boil, then simmer until meat can be shredded (may take a couple hours).  Shred beef then place into serving dish.

Corn Salsa Ingredients:

  • Fresh corn
  • Chiles (I prefer Serranos and I like to make a hot batch with Habaneros and a shot of Tequila—in the salsa, not the cook)
  • Onion
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Beer (preferably Mexican)
  • Salt


Boil corn for 1-2 minutes then cool and cut kernels from cob.  Dice chiles and onion and chop cilantro.  Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Open beer and taste for freshness.  Add a splash into salsa then consume remainder.  Again, lightly salt, as you will serve on a salted tortilla chips.

Tortilla Crisps Ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Corn oil
  • Salt

Cut tortillas into chip slices then fry in oil, lightly salt when done.


To serve: place some shredded beef Colorado on a chip and place some salsa over top.  Enjoy!

Father Paul Seil

Our Daily Bread

Fr. Paul D. Seil is a Roman Catholic pastor assigned to St. Bernadette Church in Orchard Park, NY. In addtion to his pastoral duties, Fr. Paul hosts a half-hour cooking show called “Our Daily Bread”.

Our Daily Bread brings a Catholic presence to the secular TV markets in the eight counties of Western New York, and Southern Ontario, Boston, MA and Fresno, CA.. It is also carried on a variety of cable systems by the Catholic TV Network.

Much more than an ordinary secular cooking show, Our Daily Bread seeks to fulfill a significant part of the Church’s mission to evangelize by drawing people together over simple recipes to discuss significant matters in human experience. While fostering gospel values in our society Daybreak TV Productions, which produces Our Daily Bread, promotes the dignity of the human person, and a respect for the gift of life, which is found in the simply profound and the profoundly simple.


Fr. Paul is assisted by Christopher Alongi, an engineer at MOOG and formerly a chef at BRODO where he created their stuffed pepper recipe and “Stuffed Pepper Soup”. He and his wife Erin are committted to local organic ingredients. Chris has appeared twice of Our Daily Bread.


Fr. Paul believe in the mission of Crisis Services and has seen the good they do in his ministry with troubled persons. He is proud to have been at the inaugural event and all Men Who Cook events but one ..

Recipe:  Gazpacho

VEGAN.  Some people use some bread to thicken the Soup. I did not, so that it is Vegan and Gluten Free.


  • 1 large cucumber,  seeded and peeled
  • 2  bell peppers, red, green orange whatever you prefer cored and seeded
  • 1 quart (32 oz) Sam Marzano Tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small can — about 4-6 oz —  smoked chipotle peppers  in sauce
  • 1 tteaspoon smoked paprika (or to taste)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Process each vegetable separately until it is coarsely chopped. After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic,, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and smoked paprika. Mix well and chill before serving.

Recipe: Arancini

Vegeterian with Eggs and Cheese

These “Rice Balls”  are a traditional Sicilian dish which have spread to Italy –through Roma– and are now frequently found in America.

You can use left over rice “risotto” style or others. But do not use “converted” rice.

ARANCINI is the Italian word for “Orange”. When these deep fried rice balls are cooked, they resemble oranges in color and but the little bumps.


  • 3 cups leftover cooked risotto or any white rice except “converted”. (I prepare the rice in a chicken stock with a few threads of steeped saffron. For the MEN WHO COOK event I used a saffron vegetable stock.)
  • 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or another hard italian cheese
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano,  or basil
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Small cubes of Mazarella, Or Mozarella pearls.
  • Peas in a small amount of tomato sauce
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg whisked with 2 Tbsp cold milk or water
  • 1 Italian style  bread crumbs
  • Canola  oil for deep-frying
  • 2 cups Tomato Sauce


In a large bowl, combine the rice with about 1/2 cup tomato sauce to turn the rice pink in color, the Grana Padano, herbs, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.

Scoop up about 3 Tbsp of the rice mixture and pack it around a piece of mozarella cheese And a few peas in tomato sauce to make  a ball the size of a golf ball. Repeat until rice is used.

Put the flour, egg wash, and bread crumbs in 3 separate low-sided bowls or plates. Dredge the arancini in the flour, dip in the egg wash, and roll in the Italian  bread crumbs. Chill for a couple of hours  Heat the canola oil over to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Deep-fry  without crowding, until they are evenly browned, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Serve on a pool of warmed tomato sauce.

For the warmed tomato sauce, I used San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, simply pulverized and heated. Garnished with basil





John Simich & Paul Mazur

Erie County Central Police Services

John Simich, Ph.D. currently serves as the Director of the Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory.  He first joined the Laboratory in 1985.

Paul Mazur currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory.  He first joined the Laboratory in 2001.

Recipe: Beef, Bean and Cheese Burritos with Tomato/Peach Salsa Topping



  • 1.5 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 Can of Refried Beans
  • 1- 24 ounce Jar of Salsa (mild or medium)
  • 12-16 ounces shredded cheese (Monterey Jack blend or Cheddar)
  • 3-4 jalapeno pepper rings, finely chopped (Optional-adds a kick!)
  • 10 burritos


  • 2 medium-large Tomatoes (Heirloom if available)
  • 2-3 Fresh Peaches (depending upon the size)
  • ¼ cup finely diced purple onion
  • 1 Fresh Ear of Corn
  • 4-6 Tablespoons of Lime-Fused Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste


Prepare the salsa first to allow time for the flavors to blend.  Begin by dicing the tomatoes and peaches into small ¼-inch pieces.  Put in a bowl with the onion.  Remove the corn kernels from the cob by running a knife between the kernels and the cob.  Add to the tomato and peaches.  Add 4-6 Tablespoons of lime fused olive oil and mix to lightly coat the mixture.  More olive oil might be needed if using large tomatoes and peaches.  Salt to taste if desired.  Set aside in refrigerator.

Prepare the burrito mixture by first browning the ground beef.  Drain to remove the grease.  Over low heat, add the refried beans, ½ Jar of Salsa, chopped jalapenos and about 12 ounces of the cheese.  Continue stirring (3-5 minutes) over low heat until the cheese is melted and the mixture is blended.  Remove from heat.  Prepare the burritos according to the package.  Add an equal portion of the meat mixture to each burrito and roll.  Put each completed burrito into a baking pan that is lightly coated with a small sprinkling of about ½ of the remaining jar of salsa.  Spoon and spread the remaining jar of salsa on top of the completed burritos and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cook for 25-30 minutes in a 325o oven, until heated through.

Serve the burritos over shredded Romaine lettuce and top with the Tomato/Peach Salsa.  Sour cream is optional.  Serves 5.

You can turn the Tomato/Peach Salsa into a summer salad by slicing the tomatoes and peaches into wedges.

Chris Spicer

Coordinator of the Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program

Planned Parenthood


Chris is the author of Planned Parenthood’s “Responsible Males” Program and has been involved locally and nationally in bringing men’s attention to important issues like domestic and dating violence and sexual assault for over 15 years.  He is committed to educating youth in age-appropriate, medically accurate, sexuality education as well as helping parents, families, and professional build more competence and confidence in teaching young people about sex and sexuality.  He is father to a 3 year old son and expecting a daughter in January!

Mr. Spicer is part of Men Who Cook because, in his words, “First of all, Crisis Services is an excellent organization that chooses to be there for people at critical moments from which many others would run scared.  Second, the advocacy they provide strengthens our community and feeds my own vision for my children to grow up in a world with less ignorance and more heart.  So of course I am delighted to be part of Men Who Cook.  Oh, and the fact that it is an incredibly enjoyable event doesn’t hurt either!”

Recipe:Utica Italian Greens Recipe (a la Spicer)


  • 1 large escarole (or 2 small heads)  - 2 Bags escarole at Wegman’s (very convenient)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto or genoa salami, thick slices, chopped / Vegetarian substitute 1 pack Smart Sausage, chopped
  • 1 white onion, halved and cut
  • 1 -2 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow pepper, seeded & julienned
  • 1 large sweet orange pepper, seeded & julienned
  • 2 Poblano peppers, seeded & julienned
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated / Vegetarian substitute vegan “Romano”
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded / vegan substitute, vegan mozzarella cheese substitute
  • salt and pepper, to taste (at the very end)


1. Clean and rinse escarole twice; chop in large pieces.

2. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes until tender.

3. Place olive oil in a sauté’ pan and heat. (I like to use a wok for making easy blending later)

4. Add chopped garlic, onion and genoa salami and render for 2 or 3 minutes.

5. Add all seeded peppers and cook another minute or so.

6. Add the escarole and all the other ingredients in the pan.

7. Add the bread crumbs and grated cheese and mozzarella, tossing gently until blended.

8. Taste for final salt and pepper seasoning.

9. Place in a casserole dish; sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese, and place under a broiler for up to 3 minutes to make a crunchy (not burned) top.

Serve warm.

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