Essays on People's Platelist Finalists


Essays appear as submitted

RAYMOND ARPKE, Euphemia Haye, Longboat Key, Fla.

Chef Raymond Arpke grew up in a mental institution, the Sheboygan County Hospital in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He wasn't a patient, his parents ran the place. It's where he learned to cook and it provided fodder for his recently published cookbook, "You Don't Have To Be Crazy, But It Helps, Recipes and Rantings of a Madman."

As of 2010, Chef Ray and his wife, D'Arcy, have been proprietors of Euphemia Haye Restaurant on Longboat Key, Florida for 30 years. Chef Ray refers to his cuisine as global eclectic. Euphemia Haye and the upstairs Haye Loft Lounge and Dessert Room, which features live jazz nightly, is arguably one of the finest and most romantic restaurants on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Two signature dishes always on the menu are the Roasted Duckling with a succulent nightly sauce, and their Prime Peppered Steak, a memorable feast for any avid meat eater. In the dessert room it's the Apple Walnut Crumble Pie. Nightly specials are a joy.

Chef Ray is a very personable local "character" who can break out the lyrics to most any 60s hit (or Frank Zappa composition) in a finger snap, and keep a cooking class of 50 laughing and entertained for three hours, with the help of the wine pairings. He has a personal dedication to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and his generosity to community organizations is exemplary. I would like to formally nominate Chef Raymond Arpke as a People's Platelist member in good standing.

CLIVE BARNES, Sweet Fingers Restaurant, San Leandro, CA

Its seductive lore set my senses on fire and took me to another place. My eyes were immediately drawn to Jamaican flags, Bob Marley photos, tablecloths dawning rich Jamaican colors, people smiling, laughing, socializing while enjoying homemade ginger beer, rum punch and blue mountain coffee. Listen to Rasta music humming in the background, people speaking Patois, and the knocking of pots and pans amongst roaring flames in the kitchen. Smell fresh cut onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, pineapple, coconut, and lime. Taste crab cake hors d'oeurves, sizzling shrimp, mouth watering oxtails, and succulent chicken entrees seasoned to perfection. Feel the Ire vibe.

Chef Clive Barnes created this piece of Jamaica nestled away in San Leandro. This describes my first experience at Sweet Fingers Restaurant and the reason for nominating Chef Clive Barnes for the Nightline People's Platelist.

Born and raised in rural Jamaica (near Kingston) Clive Barnes' passion and gift for cooking was influenced by his grandmother's unique flair for making flavors dance. At age 20 Clive packed his bags to come to the United States to begin a new chapter in his life. One year later he was hired as a short order cook at a corporate café at the infamous World Trade Center in New York. It was there that many top executives took notice of his gift with food and encouraged him to open his own restaurant. Soon Clive began studying at the New York Food and Hotel Management School to become a professionally trained chef. He graduated at the top of his class. Fast forward 20 years, Clive opened his first restaurant in Sacramento then relocated to San Leandro in 2007, appropriately naming it Sweet Fingers.

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