Bootleggers on the Beach
Darkness along the Delaware coast provided good cover for Prohibition-era smugglers
By Michael Morgan
From the Holiday 2017 issue
The beach was cold, dark and deserted, and the bootleggers were pleased. Aboard the rumrunning boat that drifted a short distance from the Fenwick Island beach, men worked with military precision to ferry tins of illegal booze to shore. Within a short time, more than 200 cloth-covered containers had been stacked on the sands of coastal Delaware.
In 1919, the United States went officially “dry,” when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified to prohibit the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors; and throughout the Roaring ’20s, the Coast Guard played a cat-and-mouse game with bootleggers as they tried to sneak illicit booze into Delaware. The rumrunners began their voyage to the Delaware coast in Canada, where they loaded their vessels with a cargo of illegal whiskey, gin, and other alcoholic beverages. The illicit spirits were often packed in rectangular metal containers that could be easily stacked on a boat. Often the metal tins were covered with a cloth sack so that they could be handled quietly. The cloth covering also prevented the tins from reflecting light that would alert the revenue agents to the bootleggers’ presence.
Whetting Students’ Career Appetites
ProStart program grooms Cape participants for culinary roles and competition
From the Holiday 2017 issue
On a busy Friday, as the clock ticks toward noon, chefs wearing crisp white coats and blousy hats work intently on stainless-steel counters equipped with white KitchenAid mixers. The cooks and their assistants assemble pizza bubble rings — essentially pepperoni-filled refrigerator biscuits baked in a Bundt pan and served with pizza sauce. While the cooks work, dishwashers clean up behind them. The smell of garlic cuts through the air.
“You always need to be busy doing something,” orders Jennifer Cornell, who is clearly in charge of this kitchen. “Coats on. Aprons on. Hands washed. Tables clean and sanitized.”
The kitchen is not in a restaurant, however. It was built for a culinary class at Cape Henlopen High School that follows ProStart, a nationwide program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Founded in 2000 in response to a shortage of restaurant kitchen labor, ProStart helps students develop skills and build industry contacts. But there is a competitive element as well. Each year, participating schools can send two teams (culinary and management) to state competitions. Winners head to the National ProStart Invitational.
Recipe for Success
A chance meeting and great determination propelled Scott Kammerer’s rise in the restaurant business
Scott Kammerer and Matt Haley first met on the steps of Epworth United Methodist Church, which at the time was in Rehoboth Beach. Both men were heading to a meeting there of the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.
“Matt had just come to town,” Kammerer says. “I had never met him. But he looked at me and he said, ‘I’m going to start a restaurant empire. You want to join me?’”
Kammerer, then in his late 20s, told Haley he was already the general manager of a restaurant, Jake’s Seafood House in Rehoboth Beach. “OK,” Haley replied. “Then I’m going to come watch you.”
True to his word, Haley showed up soon after their conversation. “It was in the middle of July and we were really busy,”
Kammerer recalls. “We probably served 800 dinners that day. But he came and he hung out with me, and everywhere I went, he was there checking me out. He kept asking me questions and at the end of the day, he said that he thought that we should work together. ‘We could do really great things,’ he said.”