Pirate Flags at Half-Mast

Mick Kipp (Mick the Pirate)

Mick Kipp (Mick the Pirate)

The food world in Baltimore (and way beyond) has suffered another great loss. Mick Kipp, a.k.a Mick the Pirate, owner of Whiskey Island Pirate Shop & Catering and the Swamp Shack (at Pickles Pub across from the stadium) has passed away of an apparent heart attack at the young age of 51. Mick started his specialty foods career in his kitchen in 1996, when he created a hot sauce to give as Christmas gifts to his friends and family. What started out as a one time, something fun-to-do idea, turned into a full time specialty foods business.

Mick worked in the foodservice industry from the age of 16. In 1983 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood stuntman (his specialty was setting himself on fire … which I saw him do … OY!) and got a job working at a Gourmet Wine Bar and Deli to support himself. He worked as a stuntman for over 18 years. In between movie gigs, he continued to work in the industry as a bartender and cook in LA, Cleveland and Baltimore. In 2000, he decided it was time to retire from stunts and devote all his time to the Whiskey Island Pirate Shop!
 With over 30 years in the foodservice industry, as a manager, menu consultant, cook, caterer and bartender, Mick took Whiskey Island from a one sauce kitchen dream and turned it into a complete specialty foods business, that included product development, production and distribution, offering an assortment of 10 different sauces and salsa (the corn and crab was my fave) along with 22 different dry rubs and specialty seasonings under the Whiskey Island Brand.

He received many awards including 2nd and 3rd Place Awards at the 2005 Fiery Foods Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Awards at the 2006 Scovie Awards in Sante Fe, New Mexico and seven “Best of Baltimore” Awards from Baltimore Magazine and Baltimore City Paper. Mick specialized in catering and creating themed events include pig roasts, crawfish boils, Cajun and creole dinners, Mardi Gras banquets and barbecues.

Mick is also the author of “Mick’s Beer Guide”, a review of the growing beer market in the late 1980’s, published in 1989, and Creator and Host of “Eat My Stuff with Mick the Pirate.” I admired him for many things but mostly his zest for life, unique spirit and big heart. Every year he would provide Thanksgiving meals for the homeless … but not just meals, Mick created an event complete with tablecloths, china and wait staff. A three-time Hodgkin’s survivor, Mick absolutely lived for his beautiful daughter Matoaka and would whip out photos of her as soon as he saw me coming. I remember that he taught her about the Lewis and Clark expedition-and painstakingly mapped out a vacation to follow their route. Safe journey home Mickpuppy boy. You’ll be truly missed by so many. Including me. Bone crushing hug. Oogy Wawa.

IT’S A HOME RUN! Ripken Gourmet Burgers are now available in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Distributed by Old Line Custom Meat Company, the integrity of both the Ripken name and Roseda Black Angus Beef carries significant weight and influence. “It’s no surprise,” says Ed Burchell, founder of Roseda Black Angus Farm. “Consumers are looking for all natural meat with that rich and satisfying beef flavor. In addition, and with concerns about food integrity at an all time high, consumers are demanding a brand like Roseda they know they can trust to feed their families.” Ripken Gourmet Burgers are made from 100% all-natural, dry-aged Black Angus beef. Flash frozen to preserve flavor, they have no additives or hormones and they’re produced locally in Monkton.

CONGRATS: Jimmy’s Famous Seafood was founded in 1974 by Demetrios “Jimmy” Minadakis, a Greek immigrant who, with friends and family, built a bar with their bare hands. Over the years he added a carryout, a dining room, outdoor dining and two catering halls. Today, Jimmy’s legacy is carried on by his three sons – John, Nik and Tony whose hard work just won them the title of Maryland’s Favorite Restaurant from the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Chips off the old block! Congratulations!

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced the appointment of Nelle Somerville as catering sales manager of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Baltimore and B&O American Brasserie. With more than 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Somerville will oversee the hotel and restaurant’s wedding and special events market. Prior to joining Kimpton, Somerville held the position of convention services and events manager for Visit Baltimore.

The Iron Bridge Wine Company is celebrating its 10th anniversary. IBWC carries over 300 different great bottles of wine and has continuously received the “Wine Spectator Award of Excellence” for their selections: small vineyard, small production wines that are hard to find and reasonably priced. Pair those wines with great steak, chicken, seafood and pasta dishes and … well, go check it out for yourself and join the celebration.




About the Author

RANDI ROM is a Baltimore special events planner, marketing and public relations maven, freelance writer and head of R.J. Rom & Associates. Have a hot scoop? Contact Randi via e-mail at or by phone at 443-691-9671.

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