DULUTH — Seasoned chefs and cooking newcomers alike learned useful kitchen tips and a number of fun seasonal recipes Thursday night at the 11th annual Taste of Home Cooking School.

Presented by the Gwinnett Daily Post, Taste of Home kicked off at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth at 4 p.m. with a vendor show before a series of live cooking demonstrations by Michelle “Red” Roberts at 7 p.m.

“Cooking brings two things together that I dearly love — food and family,” Roberts said.

A number of families attended the event, including sisters Jan Chronic and Carolyn Ledford of Bethlehem. Thursday’s cooking school was their ninth, even though Chronic isn’t a big fan of cooking.

“It’s our day together,” she said. “I do love the free gifts.”

Ledford won a television and Nintendo Wii gaming system last year and hoped her sister would win big this year. The sisters arrived early to ensure they would get seats in the front row.

“We love it,” Ledford said. “We love the sponsors and we love to watch her cook.”

Rebecca Brown-Harris of Auburn brought her daughter Layla, 2, to the cooking school after winning tickets through Simon Rewards. She wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but she enjoyed the experience.

“I figure there’s always something to learn and I’m cooking more now with the baby,” she said.

Roberts showed the crowd how to make 10 recipes from the Taste of Home Fall 2015 magazine with tips and tricks to make cooking easier and more fun.

Roberts shared personal anecdotes as well as tips while preparing food in front of the crowd, a top-down camera displaying her every move on two large screens.

While making a sausage brunch braid, she used a pastry roller to flatten the dough but advised that just about anything could be used, as long as it was cylindrical.

“My mother would roll out pasta with a green glass bottle filled with water,” she said.

She also joked about cooking with her boyfriend, who is a food scientist.

“Always spray your measuring spoon or cup with nonstick spray when measuring honey,” she said. “My boyfriend teased me and told me that I’d spend forever trying to get honey out of the cup and was shocked when I just poured it out.”

The magazine containing the recipes for Robert’s demonstrations was included in a gift bag with items from the event’s sponsors, including a colander, sandwich container and loads of coupons.

In addition to the goodies in the gift bag, attendees could also sign up to win one of more than 50 door prizes, including a Keurig, luggage, a KitchenAid Mixer, gift cards, a trip to Daytona Beach, Fla. and more.

In order to claim their prizes, winners were required to jump out of their seats and shout “I love food!”

Attendees who liked Gwinnett Daily Post on Facebook were eligible for additional prizes, including Atlanta Falcons tickets and tickets to NCG Cinemas.

Even for those who didn’t win door prizes and have a hard time making a cup of noodles, the promoters at Taste of Home had one bit of advice:

“Keep calm and put your apron on.”

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