Have you ever watched The Chew on TV? I have always wanted to go to the show and be one of the lucky few who get to sit at the “special” table and sample the chefs’ creations. Last week, I got to live that dream, even if it was on a slightly smaller scale.
My mother and I both have October birthdays and usually we celebrate together. This year my mother said she would get tickets for us to the SALT Market Place and Cook Show sponsored by SALT Magazine, a southern Ohio publication. It would be held at the Roberts Convention Centre near Wilmington, Ohio. I thought that would be a great way for us to celebrate so I took a few days off and went down to southern Ohio.
We got to the show early and entered the marketplace area a little before 4 pm when the doors opened.
The first display table held plates of spicy pumpkin pie and maple cream from Kroger Company (a grocery story chain). We viewed displays of art and craft items, jewelry and other tables sponsored by health services and home improvement companies. There was a beautiful table of cupcakes – I sampled one labeled “Hot Chocolate,” the hot provided by the chipotle peppers mixed with the dark chocolate cake. Creamy icing tempered the heat. We tasted hickory syrup, made by boiling hickory bark. It was interesting, very rich with a hint of hickory nut flavor. We spent about an hour strolling around the room and we signed up for a lot of chances to win door prizes.
With an hour and a half to go before the cooking show started, I was getting tired and suggested we head to Max and Erma’s, a restaurant attached to the hotel, for some real food ahead of the cooking show. My mother said we shouldn’t eat too much, we would be sampling at the show. I thought she just didn’t know that regular audience members did not get to sample the food. My mother got a small salad and I got their delicious tortilla soup. Fortified we headed back and got in line for the show.
I thought our timing was good, there weren’t too many people in front of us. There were around 500 attendees but I knew we would get seats close to the front. I asked my mother if I could look at our tickets but she refused. I just wanted to see if there was a list of chefs on the front. I let it go, thinking there must not be any info on the them.
The doors opened 15 minutes ahead of time and we filed in. I rushed to the front to try to get a couple of good seats. My mother was hanging back and even stopped to talk to someone she knew. I put my bag on the seat next to me to save it for her – I was in the third row near the center and thought I got us some really good seats. She motioned to me and said, “Come out of there, I don’t want to sit there.” Now I was really confused and a little annoyed. The seats were filling up fast. The woman my mother was talking to said you better go with your mother. Mom lead me to the front, the VIP tables, and said we are sitting here!
WOW! I was completely surprised and beyond delighted. I should have been suspicious from some of the hints – not wanting to eat too much at the restaurant and not showing me the tickets – but I was clueless. We got great, no, fantastic, seats, front and center. We got a goody bag when we arrived at the marketplace but being VIP’s, we got a second, special goody bag containing a SALT apron, a handmade pottery vase, lots of coupons from sponsoring vendors plus much more. The other guests at our table were a friendly group and we had a fun evening tasting and comparing the dishes made by the guest chefs.
It was such a great night. We laughed and talked so much I was hoarse the next day. The finale was a give away of many door prizes. We didn’t win any prizes but I felt like I was already a winner. My mom has always made every holiday and birthday special at our house but this time she really outdid herself. Thanks again, Mom, for a wonderful night!
Pam Stricker, editor of Salt Magazine, welcomes us to the show.
Here are the presenters and the dishes they prepared.
Molly Dullea of The General Denver Hotel and Restaurant and her assistant, Sally Miller, gave us a tasty recipe for Oven Roasted Pork with Carmelized Onions and Roasted Fall Vegetables.
Columnist Sheryl Sollars, The Kitchen Lady, and her assistant, Mary Driscoll, gave us a yummy Creamy Chocolate Cheesecake and Cranberry Fluff Salad. These two were my favorites.
Natalie Brunk of Shoelaces Catering showed us 5 ways to serve Spinach Artichoke Dip. Natalie’s presentation was on video but we sampled the real thing!
Sharon Testa, of The Mediterranean Restaurant in Wilmington, Ohio, and her assistant, Heather, showed us how to make a Greek Moussaka Casserole. I will definitely be stopping at her restaurant next time I go through Wilmington!
Andrea Chaffin, Food Editor of SALT, gave us an Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie. I liked this because the Apple Butter replaced some of the sugar in the pie. She tagged Pam to be her assistant.
Last but not least, Billy Kong and his sweet daughter, Mindy, from #1 China Buffet in Wilmington, showed us how easy it is to make Chinese Stir Fry at home. And made sure we knew that all the ingredients could be purchased at … Kroger! Billy and Mindy definitely stole the show.
You can read more about the SALT Cook Show in the Wilmington News Journal.