Crowds of interested guests gathered into Harper McNeely auditorium on the campus of Davis & Elkins College for Thursday night's Taste of Home Cooking School show.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of recipes they come up with this year. I was here last year," said Stacey Shahan of Belington before she and her mother went into the auditorium.
Cheryl Cohen, Taste of Home culinary specialist, prepared many tasty recipes in front of the attendees with the help of the students of Melanie "Chef Mel" Campbell, who works for D&E, a co-sponsor with The Inter-Mountain for the Taste of Home events. It was Cohen's second year cooking at the show for this event.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Blankenship
Culinary specialist Cheryl Cohen prepares Jalapeno Burgers for the attendees at Thursday’s Taste of Home Cooking School show held at Harper-McNeeley Auditorium on the campus of Davis &?Elkins College. Additional photos can be found online at cu.theintermountain.com.
"It should be fun," said Robin Wyatt, who plans to open Mom & Pops Grocery and Deli in Belington.
"I hope you're ready to have some fun at the hottest show in town," said Heather Goodwin Henline, The Inter-Mountain's publisher and general manager, in her introduction of the show.
While Cohen worked on the recipes, she paused to announce products and prizes from many sponsors and offered food trivia, all with a sense of humor. She had the audience hollering "yeeha" in enthusiasm of the cooking show.
Many prizes were given, but the grand prize of a $1,000 gift certificate to Ralph's Furniture went to Taylor Epperson of Elkins, by the end of the event.
"There's all kinds of ways to change recipes to make it suitable to you," Cohen said. She offered some different options and suggestions for recipes while she taught.
Some of the recipes she prepared for the show included, Breakfast Tortas, Hometown Pasty Pies, White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes, West Bend Beef Tenderloins, Philadelphia Italian Potato Salad, Spicy Beef Tenderloin, Jalapeno Burgers, Fun and Festive Cake Pops and Best Lime Tart.
All of the food prepared in the show was given out as prizes to lucky winners near the end of the event.
"One of my favorite recipes," Cohen said of the Best Lime Tart.
Attendees had other favorites. Melissa Wilfong, of Valley Head, enjoyed the White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes.
"Because it looked easy to make," she said.
Wilfong wasn't the only member in the audience who enjoyed the scalloped potatoes.
"It's a comfort food and we grow potatoes," Parsons resident Nancy Moore said.
It appeared children in the audience also had a favorite. More cake pops were prepared in the back to distribute to the young children in the audience.
"My daughter said they [cake pops] looked like meteors," Cohen said.
Another audience favorite was the steaks.
"That's my favorite one so far," said Lisa Wamsley of Elkins.
She wasn't the only one who favored the steaks.
"I like the steaks... they look easy to do," said Ginger Rao of Beverly.
The jalapeno burgers were another favorite.
"They all looked good, but that's what I'm going to go home and try," said Rosalie Stanton of Buckhannon.
The cooking show, however, was not the only attraction of the day. Many vendors set up tables in the McDonnell Center gym.
"Oh this is awesome, we've had a very enjoyable time just being able to talk with the people and it seems very well received," said Jay Kissel, owner of the Kissel Stop on 3rd Street in Elkins.
He and members of his staff served their famous chicken salad, tuna, various scones, and Kissel's grandmother's chocolate buttermilk cake.
"We spent quite a bit of time at the Tupperware and talking to the gentleman with the marine corps about Toys for Tots," said Sharon Howell of Elkins, who traveled to the event with her sister from Beverly. Howell enjoyed many other vendors as well.
Many cookbooks were awarded as prizes, but one vendor was selling cookbooks with a local flair.
"All these recipes are from faculty, staff and students at the college," said Ann Harris, academic secretary to the to the education department at D&E. She and Sharon White, administrative assistant to the provost, were selling the cookbooks which also included recipes from "Chef Mel".
Vendors sold food items, wooden crafts and utensils, books, fabrics, accessories, and more. Another guest talked about her favorite vendor.
"Probably my jewelry. What's not to like? I had to hurry down here today and I forgot my jewelry. Now my outfit's complete," said Candice Pudder of Dailey, while showing off a new bracelet.
Two registrar employees of the college were assisting at a booth for Graceland.
"We work for the college, so we're helping Chef Mel. It's been steady busy," said Glenda Stottlemyer, assistant in the registrar's office.
Stephanie Haynes, registrar and professor of math, also was helping with the vendor booth.
The cooking show concluded by 9 p.m. and many prizes were awarded to guests in the audience.
The recipes included in the show appeared to be simple and quick to make.
"I'm all for quick and easy," Cohen said.