Marco Island Woman’s Club ‘Lunch Bunch’

A celebration of summer with Chef Laura

The star of the meeting, Chicken Divan.

The Marco Island Woman’s Club (MIWC) recently kicked off the summer months with a hands-on cooking demonstration presented by Marco Island’s very own Chef Laura Owen, general manager of CJ’s on the Bay.

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Owen, a graduate of the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, created and served her own version of Chicken Divan. The dish, often served in American households as a “quick” casserole, would sometimes use ingredients of jarred mayonnaise, canned soup and even potato chips.

Chef Laura instructs her techniques to MIWC.

Chef Laura’s version offered far more sophistication that would be savored by even the most discerning of palates. Based on the original early 20th century recipe of Chef Anthony Lagasi of the elegant Divan Parisien Restaurant in New York City, Chef Laura’s recipe includes boneless skinless chicken breasts enhanced with fresh cremini mushrooms, broccoli florets, a splash of sherry amidst the tang of sour cream and a panko breadcrumb topping. Salad with orange poppy seed dressing and a fresh blueberry compote completed the meal.

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Those in attendance were anxious to create the delectable dish in their home kitchens, but they may choose to hold off on that shopping trip for ingredients until July. Winn-Dixie of Marco Island has selected MIWC as their July non-profit in the Community Bag Program. The Marco Island Woman’s Club will receive a $1 donation for each reusable community bag purchased for $2.99 in July at the 625 N. Collier Blvd. store. MIWC is grateful to Winn-Dixie for their generous donation that the club will pay forward to the community with scholarships and other projects of local support.

Members of the local Girl Up club and the volunteers plan to meet four times over the summer to read and discuss “The Pearl,” by John Steinbeck.

In the meantime, volunteers from MIWC have partnered with volunteers from the Marco Island Writer’s Guild to support the Girl Up of Manatee Middle School Summer Book and Writing Club. Girl Up is an international organization developed by the United Nations to advance and develop leadership skills of girls. Members of the local Girl Up club and the volunteers plan to meet four times over the summer to read and discuss “The Pearl,” by John Steinbeck.

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The Marco Island Woman’s Club is dedicated to improving and supporting the local community. Members stay busy all year long with fun, friendship, and volunteerism, all in the spirit of giving. Membership is available to all women who live on Marco Island. For more information, visit .