More than 30 pounds of cheese and eight quarts of heavy whipping cream go into Hugh Wood and Alex Collins' au gratin potatoes.
The pair, known in the kitchen of Pontchatoula's during their college years as the Kitchen Ninjas, have been cooking for the Minden St. Jude Auction for more than 12 years.
"We love this," Wood said. "It's one of our favorite things to do. We get to hang out with our friends and cook for St. Jude."
Since they were asked to cook, they have always prepared pork chops, dirty rice and au gratin potatoes.
"We know it's double starches, but we did corn one year and everybody got mad," Wood said. "They said 'We don't want a healthy meal.'"
Their first year, they cooked enough to serve 200; now it's up to 350. Last year's 320 sold out in 23 minutes.
"I don't know just how much we could serve, but here we're at the capacity our cooker will hold," Wood said.
And every dollar goes to St. Jude. Wood's supplier, Scott McAllister funds the meat while MBL Bank and A.J. Price Inc. pick up the rest of the tab.
The process gets faster every year for the duo. They start Wednesday night with cutting the meat into one-inch thick chops and marinating them nearly 24 hours before putting them on the grill Thursday afternoon.
"We put love in our food," Wood said, "and as you can tell, we try everything before we give it to the public."
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