Chicken Marsala lasagna, Santa Fe spinach dip and gingerbread cheesecake were the stars of the show Thursday night (Oct. 16) at the Springdale Civic Center during the Taste of Home Cooking School, a part of Taste of Home magazine.
Taste of Home magazine offers approximately 250 cooking schools across the country each year, which are attended by up to 150,000 home chefs. At each show, a professional culinary specialist demonstrates recipes, cooking methods, practical kitchen tips and plating techniques.
“We do these live shows all over the country and it really is about taking what’s on the page of our magazine and bringing it to the stage and making it live. That is absolutely the funnest thing,” said Jamie Dunn, Taste of Home culinary specialist for Thursday’s school.
During the two-hour show, Dunn demonstrated step-by-step instructions to create 10 different recipes including maple toast and eggs, sausage balls, shepherd’s casserole, grilled cheese and bacon stuff acorn squash, chicken Marsala lasagna, Santa Fe spinach dip, chicken & mushroom spanakopitas, honey five-spiced thighs, soft beer pretzels and gingerbread cheesecake. The recipes were chosen because they use seasonal ingredients that are easily found in the local grocery store, are tasty and are easy to prepare at home.
“People expect great recipes that they know are going to be right and they can find ingredients very easily. They expect to walk away with something they can make tomorrow,” Dunn said.
Dunn hosts 44 shows a year in states as far apart as Arkansas and Alaska, and has been a culinary specialist for almost nine years. She has cooked in front of audiences in all sorts of venues, ranging from a pig barn to an airplane hangar, she said.
Cooking school attendees received a goodie bag filled with money-saving coupons, product samples and a Taste of Home Cooking School magazine. They sampled all the dishes that were featured during the show and were automatically entered in a drawing to win door prizes and a chance to take home a dish that Dunn prepared during the show.
The Mullikin Advertising Agency and “96.7 The Coyote & Classic Hits 101.5” brought the Taste of Home Cooking School to Northwest Arkansas.
Johnsonville Sausage, Eggland’s Best, Physician Mutual Insurance, Texas Pete, Cha! by Texas Pete, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Mrs. Dash, National Honey Board and Pop & Cook are the national sponsors of the Taste of Home Cooking School.