Celebrity Chefs, week four

The 8th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Silent Auction is Tuesday, March 1, at the Friends Community Center, with doors opening at 6 p.m. This exciting event, sponsored by The Counseling Center, is a fundraiser for the Summer Outreach Club, now in its 27th year. The Summer Outreach Club, a part of prevention and outreach services, is a 9-week summer day camp program that is free to children ages 5-12 in Scioto County and beyond. The camp offers free breakfast and lunch, motivational, educational and recreational activities in a hands-on learning environment, all while partnering with multiple community agencies and volunteers within the area who graciously teach classes, mentor and support the over 120 kids each day.

Every year the success of the event is due to the participants that partner with Celebrity Chef Committee planners to make this event a huge success for area kids who attend the program. From now until March 1, this year’s chefs will be featured discussing their love of cooking and the dish they will be preparing. This event would not be possible without these talented, philanthropic, community stars who often give of their time and talents to support positive community initiatives. This week’s feature chefs are Dr. John Lorentz and Muralist Robert Dafford.

Celebrity Chef Bio — Dr. John H. Lorentz

Job Title & Company: Emeritus Professor of History Shawnee State University.

What is your fondest cooking memory?

Catching, cleaning, cooking and eating trout on the many multiple night river rafting trips I undertook on rivers of the great American West.

How long have your lived/worked in the community?

26 years.

What is your favorite food?

Fesanjan(a Persian dish consisting of ground walnuts, pomegranate sauce, and duck or chicken).

What or who inspires you to do good, and why?

As one of the first Volunteers in the, at that time, newly established Peace Corps, John F. Kennedy was a key inspiration in my life. My two-year Peace Corps experience in Iran further inspired me to live a life of service which resulted in a 38- year career as a teacher.

Why did you want to be a part of the celebrity chef dinner?

I have subscribed my entire adult life to a belief in the power of community. We owe individually what we have become, and will be, to the support and contributions of others in the communities of which we are members. I wish to participate in giving back to the Portsmouth community that which was so generously granted to me. The cause of the Celebrity Chef Dinner is an important one for the good of the community. Why would I not participate?

Do You know what appetizer you will be making and if so, what is it?

Fruit salsa with cinnamon crisps.

Dr. John H. Lorentz is a Professor of History Emeritus and Associate Provost for International Education at Shawnee State University. Dr. Lorentz is the principle scholar, writer and producer who conceptualized these documentary films, River Voices and Beyond These Walls.

Dr. Lorentz first began his international studies and endeavors as a Peace Corps Volunteer to Iran in the early 1960’s, and has returned three times, on one trip researching a Ph.D. dissertation, then on a visit as a Senior Fulbright-Hays Research Fellow (1975-1976), and most recently, as the Tour Scholar for a Distant Horizons Cultural Tour in April-May of 2014. He has a Ph.D from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies (History) and earned his M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. From 1971 to 1984, he held teaching and administrative positions at Portland State University before becoming the Executive Director of the nongovernmental relief agency, American Aid for Afghans, and working as a consultant involving trade development and political risk analysis in the Middle East.

In 1990, he joined Shawnee State University where he became Founding Director of the Center for International Programs and Activities and taught Middle East history. For the past 6 years, he has been associate Provost for International Education. He is fluent in Farsi and is the author of various articles on Iran and the books, The Historical Dictionary of Iran (Scarecrow Press, 2006) and The A to Z of Iran (2010).

In addition to his academic and educational administrative work, Lorentz has produced two acclaimed documentary films in conjunction with his son, Nathan, ‘River Voices’, a look at the 1937 Ohio River Flood, and ‘Beyond These Walls: Building Community Through Public Art’, which is a film focusing on the large-scale art pieces documenting the history of the Portsmouth, OH area, created by Muralist Robert Dafford, both of which have aired multiple times on WOSU-TV (Ohio PBS) and nationally as well.

Celebrity Chef Bio — Robert Dafford

Job Title & Company: Artist

What is your fondest cooking memory?

Difficult to narrow down- love to cook for friends. But I guess Making jambalayas, gumbos, étouffées and sauce piquants for family and friends at Mardi Gras. I know this is not likely for your event, but I it is my favorite cooking.

How long have your lived/worked in the Community?

I have worked in the community for 23 years.

What is your favorite food?

All the food I love to cook that I mentioned above, and especially the old white bean soup they used to serve at Ye Olde Lantern on Second Street back in the old days.

What or who inspires you to do good, and why?

I have a need to be a part of efforts to uplift less fortunate. That comes from a childhood with some poverty in which we gained a permanent sense of joy from sharing; it was gained from helping to provide and care for little brothers and sisters and Mother.

Do you know what appetizer you will be making and if so, what is it?

Yes, fruit salsa with cinnamon chips.

Celebrity Chef Robert Dafford is a lifelong resident and permanent, artistic fixture of Lafayette, a Cajun city in South Louisiana. Dafford is an internationally known muralist with over 30 years of experience. In his 40 year career, he has created over 400 large-scale public works of art. These fascinating and amazingly life-like murals and outdoor paintings are permanently on exhibit in communities throughout the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, and England.

Mr. Dafford has always focused on working with people in each community to create imagery that depicts a unique, cultural heritage, native to their geography and traditions. He finds the most intimate visual points of view that are authentic and important to their home, their lives and goals. These fantastic murals become a source of community pride, as well as being a very popular draw to visitors and tourists.

Mr. Dafford’s installation of work in the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals was recently recognized as a Trip Advisor top attraction in the state of Ohio. The Portsmouth Floodwall Murals are featured in Dr. John Lorentz’s documentary, ‘Beyond These Walls’, along with a new book produced by the University of Louisiana Press, at Lafayette, LA, ‘The Public Art of Robert Dafford’, in which hundreds of Dafford’s other works are showcased. Robert Dafford’s mural work in Portsmouth is well known and beloved by residents and celebrated by thousands of visitors, students and tourists that come to see or study them each year.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Dr. John Lorentz, a Celebrity Chef for The Counseling Center’s Celebrity Chef Dinner, to be held March 1, at the Friends Community Center.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2016/03/web1_John-Lorentz-head-shot.jpgDr. John Lorentz, a Celebrity Chef for The Counseling Center’s Celebrity Chef Dinner, to be held March 1, at the Friends Community Center.

Robert Dafford, a Celebrity Chef for The Counseling Center’s Celebrity Chef Dinner to be held March 1, at the Friends Community Center.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2016/03/web1_Robert-Dafford-Apron-Shopped.jpgRobert Dafford, a Celebrity Chef for The Counseling Center’s Celebrity Chef Dinner to be held March 1, at the Friends Community Center.

Staff Report