PLATTSBURGH - The people of the North Country will soon have an opportunity to get a first-rate education in the world of the culinary arts.
Denton Publications and other fine sponsors will bring the Taste of Home Cooking School to the Crete Civic Center Saturday, Nov. 6, giving people an opportunity to learn helpful tips and techniques through informative cooking demonstrations.
The event is one New Market Press, a sister corporation of Denton Publications based in Vermont, has been doing for the past five years, said associate publisher Ed Coats. This year, Coats said he was interested in bringing it to this side of Lake Champlain.
"We've always had such a strong interest in Taste of Home from people in the North Country," said Coats. "So, we decided we'd bring it to the Crete this year to give the folks here a little less of a drive."
The event will center around demonstrations from Taste of Home culinary specialist Michael Barna, who has conducted Taste of Home shows throughout New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey. According to the Taste of Home Web site, Barna has an extensive background in the culinary world.
When only 13 years old, Barna obtained a position washing dishes at a local retirement facility, learning the value of hard work and developing his enthusiasm for food and entertaining. His passion for food and entertaining continued as he earned an associate's degree in occupational studies from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Upon graduation from the institute, Barna headed to Atlantic City were he was a member of various kitchen brigades, opening three gourmet casino restaurants at Resorts International, Trump Plaza and Trump Marina properties.
Barna eventually moved to the Philadelphia area where he accepted the position of executive sous chef at the prestigious 5 Diamond 4 Star Rittenhouse Hotel. He later became executive chef for Dean & Deluca's Caf Bistro division, managing their three Philadelphia locations.
In addition to being a culinary special for Taste of Home Cooking Schools, Barna's background also includes facilitating private and Web site cooking classes, conducting local and national television commercials, and competing in national recipe contests.
"We're excited to have Michael as our featured chef this year," said Coats. "I'm very impressed with what I've read about him and if he's as good as last year's chef, people are in for a treat."
Taste of Home will also feature booths hosted by more than 30 local vendors, featuring everything from cooking utensils, home furnishings, candy makers and more, said Coats.
"We've got a lot of great local businesses and representatives from national companies, too, who are on board with this event," said Coats. "We've had people jumping at the chance to be a part of this and I'm positive that's because they know how big this is going to be. It's unbelievable."
The enthusiasm hasn't stopped with just the vendors, added Coats.
"We've been selling tickets left and right for this," he said. "I knew it would be a hit, but I didn't know it would be such a hit so fast."
With only days left until the event, tickets are selling fast, said Coats. The cost of admission is $13, with VIP passes available for $40. VIP passes give attendees an autographed Taste of Home cookbook, meet and greet with Barna and guaranteed front-row seating.
"There may be some tickets available at the door, but I wouldn't wait until then," noted Coats. "Last year's show sold out."
Doors will open for the event at 11 a.m., with the show to begin at 2 p.m. Attendees get free goodie bags. Door prizes will be awarded.
Tickets may be purchased at Price Chopper in Plattsburgh, Champlain and Lake Placid. Tickets are also available at Wilson's Appliance Center in Plattsburgh and the Plattsburgh office of Denton Publications. VIP passes are available only at Denton Publications.
Taste of Home Cooking School is sponsored locally by Denton Publications, specifically the 'burgh, North Countryman and Times of Ti; Price Chopper, Wilson's Appliance Center, Kool 105, WOKO 98.9, and WJOY AM1230. The event is sponsored nationally by Chex, Campbell's, Gallo Family Vineyards, King Arthur, Kitchen Basics, Morton Salt and Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.
"Working with the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department to bring Taste of Home here has been lots of fun," said Coats. "Having a national event of this magnitude here yet again proves Plattsburgh can attract all kinds of events that will draw people by the hundreds, if not, thousands."
For more information about the Taste of Home Cooking School, contact the Plattsburgh office of Denton Publications at 561-9680.