PLATTSBURGH - The people of the North Country have spoken.
The first-ever Taste of Home Cooking School held in Plattsburgh was a "huge success" according to comments Denton Publications associate publisher Ed Coats said he received from the event last Saturday at the Crete Civic Center.
"I couldn't believe how great the turnout was," said Coats, who estimated more than 1,100 attended what turned out to be a sold out show. "I knew we'd have a really good crowd, but selling out the show was just amazing.
Taste of Home was something Coats, who organized the event, had brought to the other side of Lake Champlain for the past five years through New Market Press, a sister corporation of Denton Publications based in Vermont. However, countless requests to bring it to New York finally prompted him to try it in Plattsburgh. And, he's glad he did.
"There's a need for something like this here," said Coats. "I've heard it over and over. People want events like this. And, this just proves that Plattsburgh and places like the Crete Civic Center can handle big events."
The show featured more than two hours of cooking instruction from culinary specialist Michael Barna, who has conducted Taste of Home shows throughout New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey. Barna's playful banter with the crowd and his ability to walk attendees through easy-to-make recipes was huge for the show's draw, said Coats.
"Michael did a great job," said Coats. "It was nice having a chef with such an extensive background be here to give people such great demonstrations. He really wowed them."
Having many giveaways and great support from local vendors - many of whom contributed items as raffle prizes - also lent to the success of the show, said Coats.
"We had so many great vendors with lots of different things for people to see, try and especially buy," said Coats. "There really was something for everyone."
Given the reaction to this year's event, Coats said he's looking forward to bringing it back to Plattsburgh next year.
"We've had a lot of great feedback and a lot of people asking us to bring it back next year," said Coats. "We want to expand it even more and bring in more great local vendors like we had this year, maybe do some more giveaways. We're going to work to make it even bigger and better."
"I really want to thank the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department for doing such a great job helping us host this event and all our fine sponsors," said Coats. "But, most of all, I want to thank everyone who came out to Taste of Home. They made this a true success."
The Taste of Home Cooking School was sponsored locally by Denton Publications, specifically the 'burgh, North Countryman and Valley News; Price Chopper, Wilson's Appliance Center, Kool 105, WOKO 98.9, and WJOY AM1230. The event was sponsored nationally by Chex, Campbell's, Gallo Family Vineyards, King Arthur, Kitchen Basics, Morton Salt and Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.