Find a taste to tempt every appetite this Saturday

Gator bites with fried pickles, Thai seafood medley, homemade shepherd pie. Such are the indulgences that will tempt taste buds at Saturday's Look Who's Cookin'.

The event, the 18th annual fundraiser to benefit the March of Dimes, will feature about 30 samples of specialty dishes prepared by local cooks, from amateurs to pros.

"My husband says is the best-kept secret in town, and it is," said event organizer Cindy Grimm, owner of Carl-Cin Restaurants. "Every year, we have new people who come and say, 'I had no idea.'"

The event, at the Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill, includes entertainment, dancing, an open bar and both silent and live actions that feature golf packages, vacations, Carolina Panthers tickets and more.

But food is the big attraction.

Sam Cantu, a first-year participant from Sammy's Sports Bar and Grill on Rock Hill's Cherry Road, said he plans to prepare a signature dish that is among his most popular -- Blackened Chicken Wrap with Jalapeno Cheese in a Tomato-Basil Tortilla Wrap.

"It's a nice, unique flavor," said Cantu, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, who invented the dish. "I just put things together."

Six Pence Pub, which serves both English and American fare in Fort Mill's Baxter Village, will offer its Homemade Shepherd Pie, said Amy Bovender.

"It's one of our best sellers," said Bovender, who said her chef will make the dish. "It's really cottage pie -- ground meat with peas and carrots in brown gravy sauce, with mashed potatoes on top and cheddar cheese."

Other dishes include Gourmet Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Mini Chicken Cordon Blue Bites, both by Leroy Springs Catering, Thai Seafood Medley, prepared by Brian Kilkenny from the Rock Hill Country Club, and Gator Bites with Fried Pickles from Dixie Tavern in Charlotte.

Grimm said the event also will include some cooks who are returning favorites, such as Arnold Carter, who will prepare his famous Bourbon Pecan Pie.

"He has cooked I can't tell you how many years, and this is a favorite," Grimm said. "It's very good."

Grimm said the event will feature about 20 cooks, some of whom will do several dishes. "There's more food than you could possibly want to eat," she said.


What: Look Who's Cookin', a benefit for the March of Dimes.

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Baxter Hood Center, 452 Anderson Road, Rock Hill.

Details: Entertainment, dancing, silent and live auction and more than 30 dishes to sample, prepared by local cooks.

Admission: $40 in advance, at Rock Hill and Fort Mill Burger King restaurants, Microtel Inn and Suites, the March of Dimes office and Hair by Stan and Co., and $50 at the door.

Details: Cindy Grimm, 329-5188.