Link to the Fox41 video is here.
By Valerie Chinn
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) Bacon peppercorn crusted pork loin, slow roasted with a house made buffalo wing sauce. Hungry yet? A barber shop owner turned in his scissors for a knife, to change careers and get a culinary degree.
Charlie Shunnarah now plans each meal meticulously. “Today we’re having Lemon Pepper Roasted Chicken Piccata with a Lemon Caper sauce, fresh sauteed spinach, with fresh cherry tomatoes, bacon, peppers and onions,” Shunnarah explained. It takes a lot of preparation to feed up to 150 people each day for lunch.
“My heart and soul is in that dish. I have a vision for the dish. I know how I want it to look, how I want it to taste,” Shunnarah said.
Except he’s not making these meals for a fine restaurant. Instead, he’s serving the homeless, hungry, and working poor one plate at a time at St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen. They eat for free and no one is turned away. It opened in 1983 in the old St. Paul Church. With stained glass windows, people go down the line for a gourmet meal. The need is up, but the word is spreading about his food serving up to 14-thousand dinner and lunches a month.
Shunnarah said, “Donated food does not have to taste bad, that’s part of my mission, that’s part of my motto as a chef.” “He really puts nice meals together for the people who come here,” John Jones said as he ate his. Shunnarah’s menus are based on cash donations, along with fresh food donations from local farmers and others in the community. He’s always looking for more donations. He tries to make his dishes, farm to table and Kentucky Proud, using as many local products that he can get. He makes things like Lamb Ragu over Polenta, Oyster Po’ boy Tacos, and his version of the Hot Brown.
He said, “I took some canadian bacon and ham and used that instead of turkey and instead of bread on the bottom, we took a corn relish that we made from fresh corn, peppers onions and bacon.” Bacon Peppercorn Crusted Pork Loin, Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes in a Tomato Gravy and Roasted Cornish Hen are some of the other big hits from his kitchen. He says everybody deserves the right to eat a good wholesome meal. “That’s my goal is to feed people whether it’s a soup kitchen or a five star restaurant,” he said. “That’s the priority.” Watch the Fox 41 Video here.