At Mount Airy Wesleyan Church there is a group of ladies who call themselves The Circle of Compassion who meet at the church the first Thursday of every month. This month they assembled for their regular meeting where one participant comically said they meet to solve all the world’s problems.
The Circle of Compassion often hears the call to serve and has been known to aid with food and fellowship for shut-in members of their own congregation, folks in nursing homes, and even local first responders.
They said their mission is to extend the hand of the minister in reaching out to the church community including those who are homebound, sick, immobile, or those who are poor in spirit.
Last year the group lost one of its own when Anne Gore passed away. She was a longtime employee at local schools having worked in the lunchroom at Flat Rock Elementary, Rockford Street School, Mount Airy High, and was hired as the first nutritional supervisor for Surry County Schools in 1998.
To honor her memory and continue a tradition of excellence in food service they created the Anne Gore Scholarship and Noah Troutman was honored Thursday as its first recipient.
Troutman is a man with a plan, or more accurately plans, which start with his trek to Guilford Technical Community College to attend the hospitality and food service program.
After school he first wants to get in on the food truck craze before that time passes and he sees bar food and southern favorites concept as the way to go.
In this area he would have a lot of potential business with the various street fairs in Mount Airy and a growing list of those now regularly occurring in all parts of the county from the rivers of Elkin to historic Dobson, and on to Pilot Mountain which itself is a must visit for out-of-town visitors.
New events there such as their Outdoor Expo will create more chances for Troutman to serve the community he came from. To rehash a term from a classic western though, “Have food truck, will travel,” meaning he can take his show on the road to maximize his reach and audience.
Growing that audience will be easy for Troutman who boasts his own recipes and a made from scratch way of doing things. “Everything I cook is from scratch and my own recipe.”
He will show off his palate and his technique after the food truck’s run with a fine dining experience.
“I want fine dining without the fine dining rules,” he said. “I tried to go to a Michelin Star restaurant, and they wouldn’t serve me because of how I was dressed.”
That experience was illuminating to him, and he understood then there needs to be an entry point into fine dining that can accommodate anyone. “I want the Michelin Star experience without the Michelin Star rules.”
In discussing the preparation of his favorite cut of meat, his eyes lit up. He named the New York Strip as his favorite and mouths watered as he described why. “I can sear the fat cap on it easier and use those juices to make steak sauce and butter, I call it my cowboy butter.”
Keeping his intellectual property under lock and key between his ears, he brushed off a question about seasoning and kept moving. “I can’t tell you my spices. I score it real quick, scoring the fat cap because that has so much juice in it. Then I sear both sides and turn the temperature down low and let it cook slowly so you’ve got a perfect crust and get it to a good medium rare or rare, my favorite,” he said.
“Some people want a tire, but I can even eat a blue rare steak,” he added.
Troutman will spread his wings and said he may return to this area to ply his trade but that he has always held a fascination with both Virginia and Montana. Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing as the latter would put him in close proximity to the beef he sees as key to his future.
The ladies of the Circle of Compassion were thrilled to select Troutman to receive the scholarship and said he is a good young man who has God in his heart.
Anne Gore was a cherished friend and a valued member of the Circle who they called an anchor of the group, and a go-to expert for feeding a crowd of any size. She would have a plan, schedule, and assignment for everyone in her kitchen. One circle member chimed in, “She had helpers, but she was the genius.”
Her colleagues and friends described her as, “An exceptional leader, trainer, and employee…and was hand-on in leading and training others by example.”
“Among other important initiatives, she helped create quality recipes and built a solid foundation for the SCS School Nutrition Program,” they wrote in honoring Gore.
“Anne was instrumental in forming the local School Nutrition Assistance Chapter and chaired many committees on the local and state level. She served as district director and state treasurer of the American School Nutrition Association.”
After she semi-retired in 2005, Gore still carried on helping in school nutrition for another dozen years in both Stokes and Yadkin Counties as a part time School Nutrition Supervisor.
AT Guilford Technical Community College Troutman is going to start to learn some of the other elements he is going to need for success that Gore mastered in years of food service like managing time, resources, and people — factors which can prove as difficult to some as nailing a perfect mid-rare.