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Posted on Tue. Nov. 13, 2012 - 12:08 am EDT

Taste of Home, vendors gather for food show

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More than 1,000 area residents are expected to get a head start on their holiday menus – and shopping – today at the Taste of Home Cooking School at the Grand Wayne Center downtown.

The event has been so popular that local planners now intend to bring it to the city annually, says Kathy Colclesser, retail advertising director for Fort Wayne Newspapers and event coordinator.

The cooking school will feature demonstrations of about 10 Taste of Home magazine recipes, such as upside-down apple pie and steak and cheese bruschetta with onion and roasted tomato jam.

Staffing the kitchen will be Taste of Home culinary specialist Dana Elliott. She does demonstrations throughout the Midwest.

Also, about 40 mostly restaurant, food, cooking and kitchen-related vendors will display and provide samples of their goods, Colclesser says.

Participating vendors include Tastefully Simple, Qdoba, Honey-Baked Ham, Nutcracker Sweet Shoppe, Pampered Chef, Graber Organic Farms, The Olive Twist, The Spinach Ball Co. and Sweet Tooth Chocolates.

This is the fourth time the event has taken place locally.

“It’s been really well attended. It’s been between 1,000 and 1,500 people,” Colclesser says. “It’s because of the magazine. People are just crazy about it.”

She adds: “A lot of people come with their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends for a girls’ night out.”

Advance tickets for the show are $15 at the Fort Wayne Newspapers lobby at 600 W. Main St. until 5 p.m. Tickets at the door are $20.

Admission includes a copy of the Fort Wayne Newspapers 2012 Reader Cookbook, a subscription to Taste of Home and a booklet of demonstrated recipes.

A limited number of VIP tickets, which include front-and-center seating and a Taste of Home “Best Loved Recipes” cookbook with 1,500 recipes, are available for $50.

Doors open at 4 p.m., with recipe contest winners announced at 6:30 p.m. Demonstrations begin at 7 and last until about 9 p.m., according to Colclesser.

The reader cookbook, with 150 recipes, will be for sale after the event at the Fort Wayne Newspapers office for $10, she says.

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