It takes a special kind of family to work under the same roof, and it takes a really special family to pull off a Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant like Maria’s Comida.
Especially when that family, the Pronkos, is neither Mexican nor Asian.
Trust me, what they’re doing is great. I’m a big fan of Al’s (Dad’s) Asian barbecue ribs. I have yet to try his tres leches cake, black rice pudding and fried ice cream, but I’ve heard the raves. He also got quite a training from Master Pastry Chef Joe Decker at Schoolcraft College. However, I’ve had daughter Marie’s chocolate avocado cake. Outstanding, especially if you’re a fan of dense, moist chocolate cakes.
Marie has learned a lot from her dad, she tells me. So much that she’s ready to take him on in a Daddy-Daughter Bake-Off from 6-9 p.m. on Feb. 28.
It won’t be so much of a family feud, although there will be plenty of that. It’s also a fundraiser for Orchards Children’s Services, an agency where Marie was once a social worker that works to help families and children by providing shelter, sustenance and other services. Because grants only go so far in providing these services, donations help, and Maria’s Comida is making it fun to give.
For a $20 donation, guests get to sample Al and Marie’s masterpieces, and they don’t mind if people stuff the ballot boxes to give them an edge in the People’s Choice award. Al and Marie’s creations will also be judged by Al’s mentor, Chef Decker, as well as Chef Tom from Street Eatzz and Erin Rose of PickMyDate.com. After all, someone has to be the grand champion in the family.
Guests also get to sample sweets from other bakeries and confectionaries and creations from culinary students at Schoolcraft College. For those who want to round out their diet with a little more balance, there will be plenty of appetizers, too.
Regardless what kudos Al and Marie earn, they both want Orchards Children’s Family Services to be the winner.
“We’re a family business and they’re an agency we believe in,” Marie Pronko says. “Orchards is always looking for clothing for their kids and teens.”
Maria’s Comida is located at 11411 Jos. Campau in Hamtramck.