Vince Gill in the Tennessean
From Tennessean Columnist Beverly Keel:
"Carrabba helps Vince show off his mussels
"If something smells funny in Amy Grant's house today, it's just Vince Gill trying to make her Mother's Day a special one.
"On Friday, chef Johnny Carrabba, the Houston-based co-founder of Carrabba's Italian Grill and cookbook author, taught Vince how to cook at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The event, a fundraiser for Campus for Human Development and Room In The Inn, was called "The Art of Expression."
"Johnny taught Vince how to make mussels in white wine sauce, fresh pasta and chicken Marsala.
"On Friday, I sat down with Johnny, Vince and Room In The Inn's Charles Strobel for lunch at Carrabba's Italian Grill in Green Hills.
'One of Amy's favorite dishes is our mussels, and mussels happen to be one of our easiest recipes,' Johnny said. 'I selected that because I think Vince can get through it and he can impress Amy.'
"'I ain't cooking no mussels. Those things smell! I love her, but she ain't getting no mussels,' Vince joked, adding, 'I'm kidding. If Amy wants mussels, she'll get mussels. A happy Amy makes a happy house. I'm no fool!'
"Johnny chose the chicken Marsala because it's a relatively easy dish to prepare. 'I'm doing another dish that I don't think Vince is going to get down, but I'm making homemade pasta from scratch. I think that's probably me just hoping I can show off, because I know he's going to show off with a guitar later.'
"Vince said his cooking skills are very minimal. 'I can grill and I can make breakfast.' However, he confessed that his first job was making pizzas at a pizza parlor. 'It made me a better guitar player,' he joked. 'I once made a pizza so thick that it wouldn't cook.'
"Vince didn't expect to carry away much from his cooking boot camp. 'The extent of my cooking experience tonight will be the take-out number for Carrabba's.'
"Johnny is frequently asked what he likes to order at one of the 240 Carrabba's restaurants. 'You would think I would say pasta, but I love our steak — a filet or sirloin — and the Marsala sauce is the best thing we do, so I would get the Marsala sauce on the side. Then I would get a side of pasta. I would start with chicken soup, which is my grandmother's recipe.'
"While Johnny benefits professionally when others eat out, he extolled the virtues of dining in. 'Americans have gotten away from a home-cooked meal,' he said. 'When I was growing up, we had home-cooked meals, and that's where you get to know who your children are.
"'That is really good, quality family time. That's enough motivation right there to start cooking.'
"Talk turned to the homeless, the population served by the Campus for Human Development and Room In the Inn since 1986. Some of the men who are in the organization's recovery program attended the event.
"Vince described his older brother as a hobo who spent a lot of time in missions and working on Salvation Army trucks. (Vince wrote 'Go Rest High on That Mountain' after his death.)
"After Vince visited the organization's Eighth Avenue facility, he was inspired to write a song with Leslie Satcher about homeless people. 'It was hard to squeak out some of the words, because it reminded me of my brother so much.'
"He unveiled 'Bread and Water' Friday night. 'It's basically the story of a homeless man who comes into a mission and says to the woman, "I'm not interested in salvation. What I really want is a little bread and water. Get me off these streets. Bread and water is all I need."'
"Johnny has a cousin who is homeless. 'This thing hits close to home. Going by and seeing the facility today, I don't need much motivation, but that really motivated me. It's a good program.
"'A lot of people think the homeless had a choice, but this hits every walk of life in all families. It's in my family.'"