By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Hundreds of Payne County residents filed into the Wes Watkins Center for the annual Taste of Home Cooking School & Pre-Show Expo Thursday.
Culinary artist Jamie Dunn led those in attendance through 10 recipes on stage. Dunn, who has traveled with Taste of Home for several years, said the recipes are exclusive to the Taste of Home Cooking School and had not been published before. She said the audience, whether familiar with Taste of Home or not, enjoyed the show.
“They enjoy the great recipes,” she said. “They enjoy the magazine because they send those recipes into us and we use those in our magazine. And really, they enjoy the fun and interaction with cooks across the nation, home cooks just like themselves.”
Dunn said the show is for everyone.
“If you love to cook, if you’re a new cook, if you’re an experienced cook, if you just love food, this show is for you,” she said. “We’re going to have a great time.”
Prior to the cooking school, a pre-show expo took place in the lobby. Local businesses spent time talking to attendees about their products and services. Consumers IGA Owner Charlie Fowler said service is always important.
“(Taste of Home is) a very popular project,” Fowler said.
“Very popular with probably a couple thousand involved. And to have our name in front of a couple thousand people and a product that we do sell, it has a very good opportunity to increase sales.”
First-time attendee Linda Cullers, along with friend and experienced cooking school visitor Wilma Roark, said they were excited to be there.
They both agreed that visiting the business booths was informative and helpful.
“They’ve answered questions already that I’ve had,” Cullers said.
Cullers said Roark convinced her to come to the expo and show.
“I watch the cooking network show on TV and I love to cook,” Cullers said. “I’m kind of new at it and I heard about it from my good friend here, Wilma, and I want to come and get some new experiences and learn how to do a few new things.”
Roark said she has subscribed to the Taste of Home magazine for years and loves to come to the shows to get new ideas. While Cullers was hoping to learn more about hors d’oeuvres, Roark said she was ready for whatever Dunn prepared.
“She always fixes something good, so whatever it is, we’ll be excited for,” Roark said.