700 attend Taste of Home Cooking School

Jennifer Bettis

Attendees visit local sponsors’ tables prior to the cooking class, including this one staffed by Jenny Bettis, right, prior to the cooking demonstrations.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 18:01 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Organizers of the city’s first Taste of Home Cooking School were pleased with the event’s attendance and promised Tuesday’s event would be the first of more to come. Sponsored by WAAZ/WJSB radio and the GFWC Woman’s Club of Crestview, the school and accompanying vendor showcase drew an estimated 700 attendees.

“The turnout is unbelievable,” the radio stations’ general sales manager, Cal Zethmayr, said.

Overflow required the city Parks and Recreation staff to dash over to Warriors Hall to fetch more chairs for the Crestview Community Center. The 60 VIP tickets, which included a private reception with Chef Michelle “Red” Roberts, sold out within a week of going on sale, Zethmayr said.

As Roberts visited with VIP ticket holders, other attendees formed a giant queue that snaked past exhibitors’ tables at the hall’s rear, signing up for door prizes that included cookbooks, airline tickets, day spa packages, body wraps and kitchen appliances. Vendors and organizations offered wine tastings as well as baked goods and jewelry for sale.

“We support our community and try to help any way we can,” Winn-Dixie floral department manager Jenny Bettis said as she displayed autumn-themed table arrangements.

However, Roberts, Taste of Home magazine’s celebrity chef and senior culinary specialist, and her recipes grabbed the spotlight. Many audience members had seen Roberts’ demonstrations during Taste of Home Cooking School programs in DeFuniak Springs, where the program has been presented for 18 years.

“Taste of Home is a well-known national brand,” Roberts said. “A lot of people here tonight have seen our show in DeFuniak Springs and came to see us again.”



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