Dave Whitney, Sunbury native will appear on The Cooking Channel Jan. 1

By LENNY C. LEPOLA News Assistant Managing Editor

December 25, 2013

Dave Whitney, 77, was raised in Sunbury, Ohio. He’s lived around the country, served his country and eventually became Writer, Photographer, Editor and Weekly Outdoor Columnist for the Associated Press in Des Moines, Iowa.

For the past 30 years Whitney has been living in Florida where fishing is always nearby. He has been the owner and editor of several newspapers and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize seven times.

Always civic-minded, Whitney spent 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Matecumbe Historical Trust in Islamorada, Florida, and is an active member of Masons, Rotary, American Legion, AmVets, National Rifle Association, and the Florida Keys Land & Sea Trust.

Through his adult life Whitney has been a writer. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times; The Economist; Sun-Times of Canada; Outdoors America; Outdoor Life; Sports Afield; Field & Stream; Financial World; Florida Trend; Triangle Publications; Trailer Life; Motorhome and many other publications. He also has written many ebooks available thru Amazon for Kindle. So What … We’re Getting Older (2012); Growing Up Sunbury (2011); Kickers, Carbines & Cookpots (2011) as well as other books, including one on pipe smoking on a budget and a book about the relationship between Japan and the USA following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

But all of that pales in comparison to what’s next for Dave Whitney, said Myers Inn Curator Polly Horn, a Whitney by birth herself and Dave’s cousin.

Dave Whitney will be featured with Mo Rocco on My Grandmother’s Ravioli when it’s aired on The Cooking Channel beginning Wednesday, January 1.

“Dave has fished all his life and he introduces Mo Rocca to the pastime on a lake in Lakeland, Florida,” Horn said. “And, of course, Fish will be on the menu — bass fillets coated in potato chips. Since it’s southern cooking, there’s certainly going to be fried foods — hushpuppies and biscuits.”

The Food Channel crew was in Lakeland July 16 and 17 to tape Dave’s segment at a rented house. The producers of the show filled the refrigerator and kitchen with everything except fish, and Horn said Dave didn’t know what he had to work with until he got there. Starting with a day of fishing, Dave got striped bass and taught Mo how to filet the fish and bake them in potato chips on the show. Using whatever local fruits, veggies and other ingredients that were furnished, Dave prepared a family dinner for himself, his wife, his daughter, four grandchildren and Mo, all done using recipes from Dave’s cookbook.

“Like everything Dave does, this will be a hoot,” said Dave’s brother Jim, who also lives in Florida. “For the past 77 years we have never known where Dave will show up or what he will be up to when next seen. The only thing for certain is whenever, wherever, or whatever … it won’t be dull.”

Dave said during taping they talked quite a bit about Sunbury, so there’s a chance that our humble eastern Delaware County village will soon be on The Cooking Channel map – maybe.

“I don’t know how much of what we talked about they’ll use on the show,” Dave told cousin Polly. “We shot for two days to get 22 minutes of program for the half-hour show. That’s TV today. There’s nothing really real about reality shows.”

Horn said like most Whitney boys, while growing up Dave spent plenty of time in The Sunbury News office; and outdoor sports, including fishing and hunting, was a big part of his childhood. His uncle and father were charter members of the Big Walnut Conservation Club.

Dave graduated from the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri. He was an Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Army Security Agency in the Far East from 1955-1958, and a member of the team that found and recorded Sputnik I in 1957.

Following military service Whitney sold insurance in Florida where he graduated from the Florida School of Banking, University of Florida at Gainesville.

However, being a Whitney, printer’s ink was in his veins. Dave Whitney began a career in journalism, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mo Rocco’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli segment featuring Dave Whitney will air on The Cooking Channel at 12 noon and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 1; at 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 5; and at 10 a.m., Saturday, January 11.