This past weekend the Metro Cooking & Entertaining show was here in DC, and I was definitely not going to miss it! There were presentations and book signings by Paula Deen, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, and Jacques Pepin. There were also events and demos by TV stars like Mike Isabella and Mary Beth Albright; local chefs (and James Beard winners) like Michel Richard (Citronelle), Scott Drewno (The Source by Wolfgang Puck), Peter Smith (PS 7's), Bertrand Chemel (2941), Vikram Sunderam (Rasika), and Jeffrey Buben (Bistro Bis); and hundreds of vendor booths.
I tasted tons of olive oils, vinegars, dips, baked goods, pastas, and cheeses. But the real draw for me was the celebrity presentations.
I got to see a cooking demo by Mary Beth Albright - one of my favorite contestants from the most recent Food Network Star competition show, and local food writer. I got to talk with her for a little bit afterwards about the show and my hopes for my blog - it was incredible and I am so thankful that she took the time.
Guy Fieri brought his son out to help him with his presentation, which I loved. He talked a lot about cooking with kids, which I think is a fantastic learning and bonding experience. They made a bacon topped mac and cheese and a s'mores pizza, and were very cute and funny in general.
I actually ran into Giada in the restroom right before the presentation which was funny and awkward. There were some other women in there, too, and they asked for a picture with her. I was thinking, "This is a bathroom - leave the poor woman alone!", but to each their own. I felt even worse for her later, when I found out that she was sick. She had practically no voice left and had a hard time speaking during the presentation. But she was very good-natured about it and sweet in general. She made several dishes and had audience members come up to help her out. These were mostly men who hit on her the whole time - I didn't realize she had such a big male fanbase! She also has a lot of children as fans, and fielded questions from them throughout. One was an adorable little girl who asked for a hug - too cute!
The person I was most excited to see was, of course, PAULA DEEN! My goodness, do I love that woman! Her voice is just so warm and welcoming. I didn't realize before who NAUGHTY she is, though. She was just full of crass jokes and sexual innuendos - the whole audience was dying with laughter. She spent the whole time telling stories while her "drunk, gay assistant" cooked.
Paula was a little late coming out, so Mike Isabella came up and talked for a bit about Top Chef and his new restaurant here in DC that sounds fantastic!
Michel Richard also came out to talk about his cookbook. Michel is one of our favorite restaurants, so I was really excited to see him.
And that was it for the show! I had a really great time - I would love to go with some other foodies next year.