As a kitchen helper in my teens, I worked with a seafood chef in a famous Philadelphia restaurant. He kept his recipes secret, but as a young cook, not knowing that I was watching him, I memorized how he made his crab cakes.

Years later, I became a foodservice director and remembered that recipe. It’s a combination of crab meat, butter, flour, peppers onions, black pepper and Old Bay seasoning—it’s no big secret now, but I still don’t want to reveal the exact amounts.

To create demand for the dish, I called it Catholic Meal Crab Cakes. They were such a hit that residents at both buildings begged me to put them on the menu twice a month, and we did—the cost is only 50 cents a serving. We serve the crab cakes with stewed tomatoes and homemade mac and cheese.