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Chef demonstrations are happening all over the place.
If you're an aficionado, you may have been to one of the regular ones, featuring celebrities and local culinary types, at Giant Eagle Market District stores. Upcoming appearances include PBS Chef Christy Rost, who will mark Julia Child's 100th birthday at 5 p.m. Aug. 23 at Pine, 4 p.m. Aug. 24 at Robinson, 11 a.m. Aug. 25 at Bethel Park and 4 p.m. Aug. 25 at Shadyside.
Nearly 60 such celebrities have appeared at Market District stores, starting with Sara Moulton in 2006. Matt Lachut, Giant Eagle director of marketing, new formats, can tell you how keeping such company helps his company in its goal to be North America's best food store, but a better story is how one fan had Martin Yan autograph her rice cooker.
Mr. Lachut says, "The biggest thing is seeing how happy it's made customers," who do want to see chefs actually cook.
Other retailers offer demos by famous and in-store chefs. And demos are the heart of food shows that are happening everywhere from Seven Springs Mountain Resort to the Senator John Heinz History Center.
You can also watch chefs do their thing at even more unlikely places. On June 27, three -- Ryle David of Cura Hospitality, Mark Clink of Family Hospice and Kevin Klingensmith of Six Penn Kitchen -- competed in a "Cooking from the Garden" competition hosted by Longwood at Oakmont retirement community in Plum. They cooked in the auditorium. (Chef David won).
Earlier in June, restaurateur and celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich performed a demo and more for a show called "Lidia LIVE!" at Downtown's Byham Theater.
One of the more unusual demos recently was by David Eisel, executive development chef for Bob Evans. Last Thursday he demo'd some of that company's new Mad About Mashtini recipes -- fancy dishes using refrigerated mashed potatoes -- at Olive or Twist lounge, Downtown, organized by the Brunner advertising agency.
In the Kitchen, the Strip District kitchen store, this summer has been offering Saturday "Kitchen Theatre" shows, which have included demos by WQED's Chris Fennimore. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, Chef Olga Wakins will cook and sing.
Store owner KC Lapiana says she organized 10 weeks of such demos to celebrate the store's 10th anniversary, but they've proven so popular she hired someone to organize more and keep them going. "When there's a free demo and free food, everybody loves it."
If you love chef demonstrations, we publicize them in The Food Column, which already noted some interesting upcoming ones, including a "Taste of Macy's." From noon to 2 p.m. today, Executive Chef Norman Domek of the Tic Toc Restaurant in Macy's, Downtown, will prepare signature dishes and hand out samples on the main floor of the store on Fifth Avenue, Downtown.
If you're doing or hosting a newsworthy demo, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Published July 26, 2012 12:00 am