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Cooking school puts on tasteful show

September 25, 1998

Southern Living Cooking SchoolBy LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




Take some bright lights, mix in a couple of professional cooks and serve on the backdrop of a homey kitchen.

But don't forget one important ingredient - culinary arts students from the Career Studies Center.

The Southern Living Cooking School returned to Hagerstown on Thursday.

More than 2,000 people, mostly women, came to watch the live cooking show at the Maryland Theatre.

The professional cooks on stage made it look easy to prepare 15 dishes in about two hours.

Behind the kitchen stage, student volunteers were busy measuring, chopping, cooking and cleaning up.

Ten Career Studies Center students and seven volunteers from the community started cooking on Wednesday using detailed instructions from the Birmingham, Ala.-based show.

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The cooking school presented two scripted shows at the theater.

But when it's live, there are bound to be surprises.

During the morning show, the cook tossed some vegetables with olive oil in a plastic bag that wasn't completely sealed.

But she was able to laugh about it with the audience.

Some audience members got door prizes and others got to come on stage to try the recipes.

"It's a nice thing for the moms that stay home, that don't work. It's like a day out," said Mary Fries, 44, of Hagerstown.

Cindy Thurber, 34, of Hagerstown, said she got to try avocado for the first time on a bacon-and-tomato grilled cheese sandwich.

"It was good. I love bean soup and that was excellent," she said.

There was no shortage of cooking tips.

For instance: When oven roasting, leave space between the food to prevent the food from steaming instead of searing.

Also, remember that herbs come from a plant's leaves and spices are made from the plant's seeds.

The cook demonstrated how to prepare foods such as appetizer chicken roulades, coconut shrimp with mustard sauce and creamy mocha latte.

Some leftovers such as marinades and garnishes were thrown away almost immediately after they were taken from the stage.

Some food was saved for the evening show.

The volunteers and the show's producers ate the rest.

Audience members donated canned goods to the local food bank.

Local businesses donated the use of appliances, flowers, herbs and other props. Weis Markets gave more than $1,000 worth of groceries, said Dee Stevenson of The Herald-Mail, which sponsored the biannual event.

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