Cooking with "Chef H"

STORY BY Joe Stumpe | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Michelle Adams

As a cooking enthusiast, Harry Pape found himself entertained but ultimately frustrated by TV food shows featuring restaurant- style kitchens and exotic ingredients.

So Pape, a former business executive, decided to do something about it by putting together his own TV cooking segment for a local station.

I wanted to something helpful and realistic, with foods and ingredients that are readily available and relatively healthy, he said.

Pape's segments, called Star Cooks With Chef H, run the second and last Friday of each month on KAKE TV's 11 a.m. news. Pape also offers cooking demonstrations at Star Lumber, which sponsors his TV segments, along with in-home dinners and cooking lessons.

It's quite a change from Pape's former careers as a bank vice president, Newman University administrator and operations manager for Midwest Single Source. But Pape's interest in good cooking is long-standing, starting with lessons he learned from two German aunts and continuing during his years of business travel. Before he ever started cooking seriously on his own, he would ask chefs in restaurants where he ate for their recipes and get them 99 percent of the time.

He still collects recipes while traveling for pleasure with his wife, Nancy. For instance, from a recent trip to Italy he brought back recipes for clams with fresh-made linguini, seafood gratin baked in a scallop shell and espresso panacotta.

From Mexico, another favorite destination, comes the accompanying recipe for Banana-Wrapped Mahi Mahi.

For me, it's a great hobby, Pape said of cooking. It's a real passion.

Bannana-Wrapped Mahi Mahi

This is a dish that Pape enjoyed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Banana leaves can be found in the frozen section of Hispanic and Asian markets and cost under $1.50 per package. Rinse thoroughly before using. You can substitute kale leaves if desired.


4 to 6 Mahi Mahi filets, about 4 to 5 oz. each, or other meaty fish
Banana leaves (or kale leaves)
Cilantro Pesto:
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 cup unsalted walnuts
2/3 cup olive oil
1 small clove sliced garlic

 Put all ingredients for pesto in a blender and process. (The pesto can be made ahead of time and refrigerated).

 Wrap Mahi Mahi filet in a banana leaf after spreading a generous amount of the pesto on one side of the fish. You can use butchers string to help hold it together, if you prefer, as in wrapping a package. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

 To cook, place the wrapped fish on a hot grill for 5-minutes per side.The wrapped fish can also be sauted on the stove in a tablespoon of olive oil for about the same amount of time.

 Unwrap and serve with rice and slices of fresh mango.

For more info, call Harry Pape at 316-990-4666, email or see

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