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Taste of Home returns to Duluth

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Culinary Specialist, Michelle "Red" Roberts of Calera, Ala., prepares veggie lasagna during the 9th annual Taste of Home Cooking Show at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth Thursday. More than 900 people attended the Taste of Home Cooking School which included food vendors, product samples and a two-hour cooking demonstration.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Culinary Specialist, Michelle "Red" Roberts of Calera, Ala., prepares veggie lasagna during the 9th annual Taste of Home Cooking Show at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth Thursday. More than 900 people attended the Taste of Home Cooking School which included food vendors, product samples and a two-hour cooking demonstration.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The finished dish entitled upside-down apple pie prepared by Culinary Specialist, Michelle "Red" Roberts of Calera, Ala., at the 9th annual Taste of Home Cooking Show at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth Thursday. More than 900 people attended the Taste of Home Cooking School which included food vendors, product samples and a two-hour cooking demonstration.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan More than 900 people stand up and shout "I love food" while attending the Taste of Home Cooking School which included food vendors, product samples and a two-hour cooking demonstration. Culinary Specialist, Michelle "Red" Roberts of Calera, Ala., prepared several new recipes from start to finish during the 9th annual Taste of Home Cooking Show at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth Thursday.

DULUTH -- Kim Herman of Snellville had never been to the Taste of Home Cooking School until her friend Laurie Benken of Lilburn invited her to the event Thursday night at Gwinnett Center.

"I cook a lot," Herman said. "I'll try the baby quiches."

Benken has been coming to the show for six years in a row looking for new recipe ideas.

"I just like the creative way that they showcase the different foods," she said. "I always try new recipes for the next several weeks. I will try the (pork) tostadas. I thought that looked really good."

There were several repeat attendees in the crowd, including Kim Benjamin of Lawrenceville.

"This is my fourth year. I like it, it's fun and interesting," she said. "I love the show and there are great vendors. I get (the Taste of Home) magazine and everything. I'm a fan. No matter what I try from the show, it comes out perfect."

As the show returns each year, more and more people come to the show with the desire to learn new meals to make for the holidays or on a regular weeknight.

"It is our first time. It's a great time," said Kim Owens of Suwanee who was sitting with Barbara Bradshaw of Dacula. "We've already talked about coming back next year."

Gwinnett Daily Post columnist and author Dick Yarbrough emceed the show, giving out prizes to audience members and making sure all of them remembered to scream "I love food" before receiving the prize.

During the cooking demonstration, Chef Michelle "Red" Roberts presented several recipes from start to finish for the crowd of more than 900. With her overhead camera, the audience could watch everything she was doing with the food on two large projector screens in the auditorium.

She began with chocolate chunk coffee cake, then went into a steak and bleu cheese bruschetta with onion and roasted tomato jam and on to a mini maple cinnamon rolls. Besides preparing the meals, she also gave helpful tips to use in any recipe and clever substitutions when cooks are in a bind.

"Hopefully the audience has fun. It's a joint effort," Roberts said about the easy cooking tricks. "There are nine of us that do shows and when we think of stuff, we share ideas. The shredded pork idea came from a girlfriend who found it on Pinterest for the shredded chicken."

Once you cook your meat, throw it in your mixer and mix until shredded.

"It's easier to shred when it's hot," Roberts told the crowd. "And you won't burn your fingers."