Martha Stewart is Murdock’s mystery guest – In Kannapolis today

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó It’s Martha.
Martha Stewart was scheduled to arrive at David H. Murdock’s home this morning, ending a week of speculation about the identity of an important secret guest.
Numerous sources confirmed Stewart is Murdock’s guest and is staying at his home, Pity Sake Lodge. The reason for her visit was not immediately clear.
Stewart, a media mogul and television personality, is an acquaintance of Murdock, the mastermind behind the $1.5 billion N.C. Research Campus in downtown Kannapolis scheduled to open this fall.
Murdock’s chef, John Sedlak, said he is preparing dinner for Stewart and Murdock tonight. Sedlak is the executive chef at Murdock’s restaurant, 46, but said this morning he didn’t know if the couple will dine at the restaurant or Murdock’s nearby home.
Sedlak said he is not nervous to cook for Stewart, the domestic diva who runs a media empire and is known for making everything from scratch.
“I have cooked for a lot of big names,” he said.
Sedlak’s tentative menu for tonight included seafood prepared with a southern spin, probably incorporating grits, he said. The fresh produce he will serve tonight came from Murdock’s expansive gardens at Pity Sake Lodge, including tomatoes for fried green tomatoes.
He likely will offer Stewart and Murdock something made from fresh peaches and homemade sorbet, Sedlak said.
Last week’s preparations for the arrival of Murdock and his mystery guest angered NASCAR fans across the country when Research Campus developers asked the city of Kannapolis to remove the Dale Trail banners from Dale Earnhardt Boulevard. The city has since issued a letter to Earnhardt fans assuring them the city will continue to honor the memory of its native son in other ways.
The incident sparked a widespread debate about how Kannapolis should honor its past as a mill town and NASCAR cradle while preparing for its future as a biotechnology hub. The 350-acre Research Campus will focus on human health and nutrition.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. posted a second quarter profit sparked by strong growth in its merchandising revenue. The company had second-quarter income of $328 million, compared with a loss last year of $6.74 million. Revenue grew 5 percent to $77.1 from $73.1 million in the same period a year earlier.