It’s not just breaking bread that brings people closer together. Cooking together helps create community, too.
“I can’t express what cooking together has done for our membership,” said Danny Dupre, a member of the Knights of Columbus. “We are a multinational organization, and we were the aging organization.”
Dupre was named by Kenny Stinson, who was mayor of Fenton for 13 years until Marcus Renfrew took the helm, as his all-time favorite chef.
It’s not him, Dupre said, but the collective effort of the Fenton Knights of Columbus makes the organization’s food a winner. When the group comes up with a successful recipe, they stick to it. No workout. Don’t add a little more of this and a little more because a member of the cooking crew might think it’s a good idea.
“Nobody even suggests anything like that,” Dupree said.
Fried catfish, preparing jambalaya and other signature dishes, brought retirees and young people together to work together, and the group grew and forged community bonds. For the past seven years, the Fenton Knights of Columbus have been the premiere catering and fundraising group.
“We don’t have a lot of business in town,” Dupree said. “We do a lot of fundraising for Fenton athletics and other youth programs. For the past five or six years we’ve cooked fundraising jambalaya for Our Lady’s Fall Fest and always cook it the same way. It’s not my recipe. It’s KC’s recipe.”
Dupree’s most recent project was a 70-gallon bowl of shrimp okra for a fundraising Fais do-do for St. Joseph.
“He served 388, and now I’m ready to lake,” he said.
The Knights of Columbus help in search of the well-being of the elderly, especially during the holidays. They worked with area churches as needed to provide food. They cooked for Sulfur City and they cook annually for the Louisiana Municipal Federation’s District G meeting.
“At the end of one of the district mayors’ meetings, Mayor Phil Platt stood near the end of the gathering and said the food was ‘Phil Platty good,’” Dupre said. “In my opinion, that’s like winning an Oscar.”
The family’s most requested meal is Duber’s crab soup. The recipe is from his late mother, Marie Ardoin.
Melanie, Dupree’s wife, said she doesn’t have to go into the kitchen much at all. One son is following in his father’s footsteps with a culinary love that started with showcasing the winning 4-H dish using a merchandise. Another son excels at outdoor cooking.
Dupree started cooking at a young age, having taken his first job as a firefighter at 19. Shifts were 24 hours. He recently retired as Head of the Sulfur City Fire.
“We learned from each other,” he said.