ELKINS - The wait is finally over - the day for the Taste of Home Cooking School is here and those who enjoy preparing foods will gather this afternoon and evening to learn new cooking techniques and recipes from Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Cheryl Cohen.
On Wednesday, volunteers from Clayton Homes of Elkins, a sponsor of the Taste of Home Cooking School, decorated the stage at the new National Guard Armory for today's show. Clayton Homes General Manager Judy Ritchie said they wanted to make the stage of the Taste of Home Cooking Show appear as if folks were looking into someone's house.
"We have a sofa, chair, plants, pictures and decorations," Ritchie said. "We want to give the stage the appearance of a real home."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean
Judy Ritchie, general manager of Clayton Homes in Elkins, prepares an on-stage table Wednesday for today’s 2014 Taste of Home Cooking School event at the National Guard Armory. The Taste of Home Cooking School will feature a vendor fair starting at 2 p.m. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are available at the door.
Ritchie said being a sponsor of the Taste of Home Cooking School was a natural fit.
"The Taste of Home Cooking School is a great community event, and will be wonderful for the community to attend," Ritchie said. "We are coming out of a long winter, and are still fighting with the weather conditions, and this is a great way to get out of the house while learning."
Ritchie said Clayton Homes of Elkins strives to be involved in the community.
"We are pleased to help bring this national event to Elkins," Ritchie said. "We are excited to work on the stage."
Ritchie said Clayton Homes donated items that will be given away during the event, including a Duck Commander iron skillet and items labeled by Miss Kay from the television show "Duck Dynasty," including rolling pins and cooking utensils.
The Taste of Home Cooking School is brought to you by The Inter-Mountain and Valentine Personal Care Home. Tickets for Thursday's event at the new National Guard Armory near Elkins are on sale now at The Inter-Mountain's Elkins office, 520 Railroad Ave., and its Buckhannon office, 3 Traders Alley. Tickets also may be purchased at The Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce office, 14 E. Main St. in Buckhannon. Ticket prices are $20 for VIP admission and $12 for general admission. Tickets are available today at the door.
In addition to The Inter-Mountain and Valentine, other event sponsors include the Railyard Restaurant, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad and Clayton Homes of Elkins.
The vendor fair is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m., with the live cooking show set for 6:30 p.m. Parking at the armory will be limited to VIP guests. All other ticket holders will have free shuttle service from the Junior Fire Department to the venue, which is located on U.S. Route 33 West about 10 miles from Elkins.
Signs will be placed at the turning point for both the Junior parking area and the armory itself. Parking at both locations is free.
In addition to prime parking, VIP ticket holders will be treated to an exclusive private tasting reception, sponsored by the 1863 Grill. The tasting will begin at 5 p.m. and will last about 60 minutes.
Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras for the meet-and-greet with Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Cheryl Cohen.
The 1863 Grill will be selling Sexton Kids' Lemonade, Chef Joe's famous cinnamon rolls, pork BBQ, smoked brisket and coleslaw.
The Sexton Kids' Lemonade is a recipe developed when the restaurant's owners' children were young, prompting its inclusion on the 1863 Grill menu. General Manager Karen Rhodes said everyone loves the cinnamon rolls, and they will be available for purchase by the dozen or as a single item.
Meggan Sexton, marketing and operations manager, said the restaurant is happy for the opportunity to feature some of the new menu offerings during the Taste of Home Cooking School private tasting and during the vendor fair.
"We are participating to help prime the area for our reopening, slated for May," Sexton said. "The 1863 Tavern went under new ownership in May, and in January, we closed the doors to remodel the kitchen and motel. We are moving the motel lobby from the restaurant to allow more room for dining."
Sexton said they will offer Kansas City style BBQ.
"We are super excited to get people geared up," Sexton said. "The Taste of Home Cooking School is a unique offering. Some of my very favorite recipes come from my Taste of Home cookbooks."
Sexton said the 1863 Grill is excited to help sponsor the Taste of Home Cooking School.
"It offers community residents the opportunity to learn something new from a national, reputable company," Sexton said.
All tickets include parking, admission to the vendor fair and show as well as a commemorative goodie bag filled with Taste of Home magazines, money-saving coupons and product give-aways, as well as information about local and national businesses.
Prior to the event, donations will be collected to benefit the Catholic Charities food bank, which serves the region. Nonperishable food items and canned foods will be accepted.