They may jokingly call her the 'Chef Ramsay' of St. George's Parish, but 90-year-old Taylor resident Mary Kofira is nothing like the television chef - especially when it comes to her personality and motivating her team of volunteers.
"Her dedication and faith are inspiring," said Karen Pehonich, a member of the parish. "She goes out of her way to help. She is one of the pillars of the church family. Her pancakes are phenomenal."
So phenomenal that Kofira has a following.
"One lady from Childs came to the sale," Kofira said. "She said she had driven up and down the valley looking for the perfect pancake. She left here that day with 20 dozen."
Twenty dozen is just a dent in the 3,000 potato pancakes parish volunteers anticipate preparing and selling on Friday, March 29.
The annual sale is one of the church's big fundraisers, thanks to Kofiria's secret recipe and dedication.
"I love doing this," she said. "Some people use just potatoes and flour. I'm always throwing something extra into the mix."
She's joined in the church's kitchen by her assistants TJ Worobey, Mike Shimko and Nick Worobey. The trio, under her guidance, help to mix up 10 to 15 pounds of the homemade batter at a time.
The pancakes are sold for $1 each and orders are not taken in advance.
In addition to the potato pancakes sold on Good Friday, the church's Altar Society also sells homemade clam chowder for $6 per quart. The chowder may be pre-ordered by calling 562-1170 or 562-2090.
Kofira, who laughs at the attention her potato pancakes get every time the church sponsors a sale, enjoys helping her parish.
"I've always been involved," she said. "Even when I was a little girl. The other kids would be off playing, riding their bikes. The church would be having a festival and I would be inside with the women in the kitchen, helping out, peeling potatoes. That's how the church survives."
St. George's Orthodox Church is located at 743 S. Keyser Ave. The annual sale runs from noon to 6 p.m.