Meet The Chefs: Fred & Mary Bondurant

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cooking With The Islands’ Stars is Sanibel Community Association’s newest and biggest event; a fun-filled evening of community-cooking, eating, competition, entertainment, and music!
It is also the chief fundraising event for SCA’s Renovation Campaign and the newly christened Culinary Education Center of Sanibel. For those that may not know, The Sanibel Community Association is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit, benefiting the communities of Sanibel and Captiva Island, FL. And now, with our Chef lineup for Cooking With The Islands’ Stars officially announced, we will be doing a series (Meet The Chefs) of biographical articles to help our audience better know each cook before the event.


Here is the final piece: Chefs Fred & Mary Bondurant...

Fred and Mary Bondurant are well-known on our islands for the charity work they do. Both have enjoyed cooking and entertaining with a wide variety of foods throughout their lives. Fred actually developed his bird nest recipe entry specifically as a whimsical way to encourage kids to “eat their veggies”.

Growing up, Fred enjoyed his German mother’s cooking, and as he left college Fred’s mom actually sent him off with a recipe box of 3×5 cards. He quickly took cooking to heart, even noting, “…I started cooking with another [guy] whose mom had done the same.  We soon discovered that cooking dinner for your date was a really good thing!  Especially with [something special, like] a flaming dessert!!”

His eventual military career made cooking at home even more important when his family was together. His son took that passion and grew it into a legacy, attending The French Culinary Institute, graduating to become an executive chef in New York!

Mary, born in Tipperary, Ireland grew up in Kearny, New Jersey.  She lived in the Irish section, but had friends in other neighborhoods, such as the Polish, Italian, and Spanish quarters.  This lead to her developing an eclectic taste and appreciation for a variety of foods. Growing up in the resort industry, she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen where the chefs inspired her to learn new techniques and grow her passion for cooking.

She single handedly prepares food for the couple’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party, serving 85 lbs. of corned beef plus potatoes and cabbage for over 100 people. Fred and Mary’s commitment to cooking has only been eclipsed by their commitment to community here on Sanibel. They both belong to local organizations that use the Community House for their meeting venues and they also used it for Mary’s 50th birthday celebration! They are extremely excited to be competing in this year’s Cooking with the Islands’ Stars.