Veteran’s crab soup highlights Cooking from the Heart


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Veteran John Graham invites you to taste his famous crab soup at the 23rd Brevard Cooking from the Heart on March 11.

SENIOR LIFE Photo

Come March 11, John Graham will don his natty red apron and ladle out lots of his signature crab soup, the dish he will showcase at the upcoming Brevard Cooking from the Heart at Melbourne Auditorium. 

For the past several years, the retired Navy man and Merchant Marine has been a regular, with his crab soup, of course, at the culinary fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida. The soup is always a big hit with guests at the event, which raises thousands of dollars for the nonprofit that pairs adult role models with at-risk youth in Brevard and throughout Central Florida.

“I’ve had people come back for thirds of the soup,” Graham said.

Graham admits he is no chef and he takes no responsibility for the recipe, but he does have a good heart for a good cause and his lady friend had a killer crab soup recipe, so the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s a long way from the kitchen at Graham’s Melbourne home to his former life as a Navy chief signalman, a job that took him around the world. 

“I used to be the favorite uncle, because I would bring stuff like jade from China and boomerangs from Australia for my nieces and nephews,” he said. 

An Air Force brat, Graham was used to life on the move.

“Before I moved to Brevard, I had not spent more than four years at any one place,” he said.

Graham enlisted in the Navy in 1974 at age 18, with the blessings of his Air Force dad and even though the Air Force should have been in Graham’s genes, since his grandfather was in the Army Air Force, the precursor of today’s Air Force.

“I wanted to see the world, and I thought the Navy would best provide me with that opportunity,” he said.

“My dad was super thrilled for me.”

After his retirement from the Navy in 1997, Graham joined the Merchant Marines for an 11-year stint. In 2007, he purchased his home in Melbourne to be closer to his father, who was living in Satellite Beach. In a way, his move to Central Florida was a return to his roots, for Graham was born in Orlando, although he didn’t spend much time there before his globetrotting family took off for other parts.

With the freedom of a retiree, Graham now likes to tool around in his Harley Davidson and participate in rides for charities such as Promise in Brevard. And he cooks a mean
crab soup.

John Graham invites you to taste his excellent crab soup at the 23rd Brevard Cooking from the Heart from 6 to 10 p.m., March 11 at the Melbourne Auditorium, 625 E. Hibiscus Blvd. 

The event features an all-you-can-graze tasting of specialties from around the world prepared by volunteer and professional chefs, plus beverages, live entertainment, dancing, silent auction and more. Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Grace Vasquez of 105.9 SUNNYFM will be emcees.

Tickets are $50. Purchase at bbbscfl.org/event/brevard-cooking-from-the-heart-2017.

Volunteers and volunteer chefs also are welcome; consider sharing your time and talent for this worthy cause.

For more information, call 407-478-2996 or see the BBBS website.