Culinary Specialist Michelle “Red” Roberts, prepares several new recipes in front of about 1,000 people who attended the 9th annual Taste of Home Cooking School at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Thursday. The event included food vendors, product samples and a two-hour cooking demonstration. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
DULUTH — Dawn Stoner is no stranger to the kitchen. She has been cooking as long as she can remember.
But she had never been to Duluth’s Taste of Home.
“It’s just a night out with the ladies,” she said. “I’ve been to cooking shows before, but not this one. I’m from South Dakota.”
Stoner came to visit her friend Marie Shcram of Woodstock to see the show Thursday night at the Convention Center at Gwinnett Center.
“I loved learning about the Dorot spices,” she said about the frozen spice and herb product. “I’d love to use them.”
For the event, Gwinnett Daily Post columnist and author Carole Townsend 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 approximately 1,000. With her overhead camera, the audience could watch everything she was doing with the food on two large projector screens in the auditorium.
The first rule of the night was “have fun.” So, she began the evening with pumpkin pie cupcakes, then went into mini cheeseburger pie.
“I love little food,” Roberts said to the crowd. “Little food has less calories. Eat more little food.”
Next on the list was “Chiliville” chili and onion Yorkshire pudding. Besides preparing the meals, she also gave helpful tips to use in any recipe and clever substitutions when cooks are in a bind.
While teaching the crowd how to poach an egg for eggs Benedict, Roberts had a new tip. The easy way to separate the egg yolks from the whites is to vacuum the yolk out of the white with an empty water bottle.
“Let’s just say I’ve never poached an egg before,” Janice Alman of Dacula said. “I want to go home and try the bottle tip tonight.”
She and her daughter Carly have been to the event for the past four years.
“Why wouldn’t we come?” Janice said. “It’s so much fun.”
New this year, texting polls were added for additional audience participation. According to the counts, most of the audience puts beans in their chili and have never poached an egg.
The cooking demonstration wasn’t the only highlight of the show. There were a number of local businesses with booths giving out samples and selling their fares. Some of the vendors were Blue Ribbon Foods, Sugarloaf Mills Mall, Stars & Strikes and Costco.
Holtkamp Heating and Air was also very busy with people donating canned goods and other nonperishable items to their CAN Challenge.
At the end of the night, winners were selected to take home all of the dishes that were made throughout the evening — plus the serving platter or dish that accompanied the meal.
“You’d better make friends with your neighbors,” Roberts said to the crowd. “Maybe they’ll share with you if they win.”
Taste of Home Cooking School - 2013
Culinary Specialist Michelle "Red" Roberts, prepares several new recipes for nearly 1,000 people who attended the 9th annual Taste of Home Cooking Show at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth Thursday.