Now Playing: Me on stage
Topic: food writing biz
This past week I did two cooking demos at the Dutchess County (NY) fair and appeared as a tomato judge at a local farmers market. It was all lots of fun, although the demos were lots of work recipe developing and testing, planning, paperwork and washing dishes. My demos seemed fairly well-received, I was nervous as usual (that old public speaking bugaboo) but planned better this time, I think. I got some nice feedback from the audience on how good the food was and one couple said, "You're our favorite presenter," which tickled me pink.
Although I forgot to put the corn in the Grits Casserole with Corn in the first demo (Southern Sides with Fresh Corn), and the basil in the tomato sauce in the second one (Italian Ways with Zucchini), they seemed to go fairly well, not perfectly but okay with good and bad points. The second had a little too much dead air and "well, let's just pretend this is done," so I could move on--I'm hoping that better timing will come with practice.
My recipes are not for everyone, not innovative, wow 'em, cheffy nor wild. They're classic dishes with a twist, none of them terribly complicated, most yummy, and I think there is a certain audience for that.
Well, they have asked me back for the Sheep and Wool Fest, and maybe I'll do two recipes instead of three so I can focus and time them better--I have a couple months to figure it out.
And I may be doing some little farmer's market demos on hot plates, which should be a gas.
It is great fun though, and I think a good thing for a food writer to do. I'm seeking help and advice from experts on the nuances of food demos, on timing, recipe development, etc., so I can streamline and make them better, more entertaining. Lisa Ekus does a one-day media training for food pros that sounds wonderful but at $1800 for one day, $3000 for two, that will have to wait until I find a sponsor!
Oh, and a scrumptious heirloom "Mennonite" won the tomato contest, but I had to talk the other judges into it...