event recap: 2014 Fabulous Food Show (AKA that time I met Tyler Florence)

Disclosure: In return for offering a giveaway for tickets to the 2014 Fabulous Food Show, I received  media passes to attend the show at the IX Center. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Every year when the Fabulous Food Show rolls around, I get giddy. After  attending three of the previous eight years of the event put on by the IX Center, my favorite parts of the show are the opportunities to learn more about various techniques in the kitchen.

But when this year’s celebrity chef line up was announced, my heart skipped a beat: my chef crush — Chef Tyler Florence — was coming back to Cleveland to present on the show’s main stage. I saved the date of Sunday, November 16th on my Google Calendar and waited patiently for this year’s event to arrive. Not only would my poor husband have to deal with me freaking out about meeting another man, it was on a Browns Sunday game day. God bless my redhead.

Hans and I started our visit to the show Sunday morning with the VIP Experience to meet Chef Florence. Go big or go home, right? He has a new cookbook out — Inside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes, Perfected — which is filled with new techniques for the kitchen to maximize efficiency and flavor.  Less time and energy for a better product? This is my kind of thinking.

Chef walked around to the tables filled with Fabulous Food Show attendees eager to meet him — snapping photos and signing cookbooks along the way. Before I knew it, he  walked over to our group — which included Melanie from Melanie Makes and her two daughters — to chat about  food, but also everyone’s favorite Disney movie, Frozen. 

tyler florence fab food show

Chef was super cool — exactly as he comes off in all of the Food Network shows he’s been a part of. He was super gracious to chat with us, as well as snap a few photos, which I am really grateful for. It’s always fun to meet someone that has taught you something from afar, so thanks Chef for your time.

Managing to still be standing post chat, we did our best to enjoy everything the Fabulous Food Show had to offer:

fab food show 2014

Top left clockwise: Chef Florence and his finished Eggs Benedict, my copy of Edible Cleveland with my media pass, hanging out with Melanie from Melanie Makes, Cincinnati’s favorite ice cream and a visit to see Pope’s Kitchen and Catering stand.

I could spend an entire weekend of the Food Show just sitting in the Main Kitchen Theater. I love hearing these food professionals share their techniques and tales.  Chef Michael Symon’s pasta cooking demo had superior tips and a lot of humor — and that Michael Symon laugh!  Chef Florence shared information on how to poach 12 eggs at one time (his secret: in a water bath in a hotel pan in the oven) and how to spatchcock your turkey this Thanksgiving holiday (link to how to do this method on the SF Chronicle site). Those two sessions alone were such an inspiration to get back in the kitchen — I wish we could have stayed for more.

LONG STORY SHORT: So I met my chef crush, and didn’t pass out. Overall a successful trip to the Fabulous Food Show, I’d say! Plus it didn’t hurt to go home with some of Pope’s Kitchen’s BBQ Sauce (which is delicious, BTW — pick it up at the Cleveland Flea this weekend).  Year nine of the Fabulous Food Show was a blast — let’s see what year ten brings in 2015!

Disclosure: In return for offering a giveaway for tickets to the 2014 Fabulous Food Show, I received  media passes to attend the show at the IX Center. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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PumpkinFest (or how I threw my first surprise party)

The winner of my Fabulous Food Show giveaway (℅ random Rafflecopter.com pull) is Rachel from itsahero.com! You can still purchase tickets at the Fabulous Food Show website.

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When I was sixteen, my parents threw a surprise birthday party for me. I still have the “happy birthday” banner that hung in our garage that afternoon — it’s displayed on my fridge even to this day. What a fun feeling it was to have a rush of gratitude overcome you so suddenly!

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to throw Hans a surprise party. In past years, I’ve remembered this only days before his birthday. But this year, I remembered in early October — giving me plenty of time to gather up the troops and make a plan.

This was also a little self indulgent, I’ll admit — I’ve NEVER planned a surprise party before. Out of ALL the events over ALL the years! It was time to make sure I held on to my event planning talents by having some fun with this one. Here’s what came in handy in the process…

A CREATIVE THEME

That came easily, all thanks to Hans’ favorite fall food: pumpkin. (He’s on pumpkin pie number seven for 2014, BTW.) With a lot of help from my friends, the menu came together with pumpkin items I didn’t even know existed:

pumpkin fest dessert

…plus a couple non-pumpkin items. Let’s just say we ate very well that night.

A GAME PLAN TO GET HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE

I have to give full credit to my brother here. Drew came over the Monday before (questioning my last minute event planning skills) with the idea to ask Hans to go see a three-hour space-themed movie mid-Saturday afternoon. #jackpot Drew and Hans were gone by 2:45PM, giving me plenty of time to clean, prep food, get dolled up and greet guests before they returned at 6:30.

 PUMPKIN FEST HANS

Sure, his eyes are closed, but look at that smile. And those jazz hands. #onlyagleekalwaysagleek

A GREAT GUEST LIST OF FAMILY & FRIENDS

These people — plus my unpictured brother, mom and Hans’ best friend — all pitched in, while managing to keep it all a secret for the past few weeks…

pumpkin fest group shot

 …all for one very happy redhead. Somehow, he had no clue — so all and all, I guess it was a huge success! Now if only I talked my mom into making two of those cheesecakes… there is a full holiday season ahead of us though. Keep the pumpkin coming!

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GIVEAWAY: 2014 Fabulous Food Show

Northeast Ohio food lovers: The 9th annual Fabulous Food Show is back again, this year taking place November 14 through 16 at the I-X Center. Referred to as ”The Premier Culinary Celebration”, there is something for all foodies to eat, drink and learn.

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I’ve gone to the show in 2008, in 2012 and last year – it’s always a good time!

Direct from the event website, the 2014 Fabulous Food Show is featuring this Culinary Celebrity Lineup, including:

  • Tyler Florence – you guys, my chef crush is coming to the Fabulous Food Show!
  • Carla Hall
  • Ingrid Hoffman
  • Nadia G.
  • and Cleveland’s own Michael Symon (welcome back, chef!)

…and Chef Jason Roberts returns for his 9th straight appearance to emcee the festivities. Check out the schedule of the celebrity chef appearances by visiting the show’s website.

New 2014 features include:

  • Local Roots Artisan Pavilion
  • Healthy Living Pavilion presented by Vitamix (schedule here)
  • Block Party hosted by Michael Symon: Includes an enhanced local restaurant and food truck sampling; beer pairings; live music; and special guest appearances
  • Salsa Fiesta! with live music and a salsa dancing competition hosted by Ingrid Hoffmann

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at fabulousfoodshow.com or in person at local Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle Market Districts and Discount Drug Marts.  General admission tickets include access to all celebrity chef demonstrations on a first come, first served basis. Reserved ticket upgrades are available to guarantee a prime floor seat up close to the action. (More info at the ticketing page here.)

…or you can win two general admission tickets here on the blog to the 2014 Fabulous Food Show at the IX Center! Enter via the Rafflecopter today…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until this Wednesday, November 13th at 12:00AM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later that morning. Since this event takes place in Cleveland, make sure you can attend before entering!

Keep up to date on other event happening over at the Fabulous Food Show Facebook page or its Twitter feed – @FabFoodShow.  Get ready: it’s time to eat, Cleveland!

Disclosure: In return for offering this giveaway for two general admission tickets to the event, I will receive two media passes to attend the Fabulous Food Show. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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