I know – Wednesdays are either Wordless Wednesday or One Word Wednesday here but today I have a new category – Wordy Wednesday – because I have so much to share about the Housewares Show in Chicago. In fact, I have so much to share I am breaking it down into two posts.
The International Housewares Show is hosted at the McCormick Place in Chicago every March. There were over 2100 companies showcasing their products – all having to do with housewares. So imagine three humongous and I mean humongous rooms filled with various sized booths full of beautiful pots, pans, glassware, specialty foods, books, lights, bakeware, etc. The list can go on and on. It’s a lot to take in because you don’t want to miss any of it. Even though I spent 1 ½ days there, I still didn’t see every booth. My dogs were a barkin’ by the end of each day.
Normally you’d leave all the fun stuff until last to highlight. But not me. Not today. Today we start with the funnest (I know, not a real word) part of the show for me. Then tomorrow, I’ll share about the cool products and companies I was introduced to.
So let me introduce you to my Dream Kitchen i.e. the Cooking Theater, where demonstrations were going on almost all day long throughout the show. The demonstrators would come out, do their thang and then this awesome cleanup crew would come in, clean up everything plus get the next demonstration site ready all within 5 – 10 minutes. I want them in my kitchen!!!
I’m doing some name dropping here! Duff, Bakerella, Paula, Cat, Guy, just to name a few. Are you ready? Here we go.
Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes, star of Ace of Cakes on The Food Network Channel and co-author of Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes demonstrated in the Cooking Theater how to do a basic fondant cake. When this guy makes an entrance, he makes an entrance. It was all quiet in the Cooking Theater and then the music started. Some loud, hip hop music to set the tone of his presentation. Then he starts by using a blow torch. That’ll get anyone’s attention!
I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation because it was basic information that he could easily do while answering questions from the audience and telling stories as he worked. He is a great entertainer! As a bonus, he was giving away and signing his DVD to anyone who wanted one. So I stood in line for my chance to get one and the one thing I noticed that I absolutely loved about him was that with each person, he looked them in the eye and was interested in what you were saying to him. The photo below is of a lady who was behind me in line. She had his book and wanted him to sign that but she also brought along photos of some of her cakes that she made and you can tell he is truly interested in her work. How great is that?!
Now look at the photo below of Duff and I. I have a pondering look on my face. I posted this photo to Facebook on Monday and asked if anyone could guess why I have this pondering look. The guesses were good and some very funny but none were correct. No – he did not ask me for my autograph. He did not ask me to be on his show. He did not ask to take a class of mine and he did not ask for my hotel room number!
So the correct answer is – he signed a DVD for one lucky Stop Lookin’ Get Cookin’ reader that I will be giving away in the next couple of weeks, and he had just asked me what I wanted him to write on it. It took me by surprise so I was deep in thought, pondering what words of wisdom I wanted him to put on the case and I came up with this – Rock On! I know, I know. Not the most creative thing but hey, I was smitten by his cute smile and charm. How’s a girl supposed to react so quickly when her heart is beating so fast? Psst – don’t tell my husband. Anyway – stay tuned because in the next couple of weeks someone is going to win that DVD plus another little gift.
Now onto Bakerella! If you don’t follow her blog or if you don’t know what Cake Pops are then you probably don’t know Angie Dudley. So let me introduce you to her. She is this sweet lady who I just happened to see at the show. She was not a presenter in the Cooking Theater. I recognized her as I was eating a very delicious chocolate chip cookie that the lady at Bissel gave me. It hit the spot. So while I was chowing down chocolate, I saw Angie and with half a mouth full introduced myself and told her I loved her blog. We had the Bissel lady take our photo together, chatted for a little bit and went on our way. But guess what – I saw her again on Sunday when she came into a booth I was just leaving and she said “Hi again Kendra” or something like that. The important thing is that she remembered me and my name. She’s leaving a great lasting impression on me.
Next up that I thoroughly enjoyed in the Cooking Theater were Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. They are not married but act more like brother and sister and don’t you just love their shirts? It has a cupcake, cookie and pie on the front and on the back it says “oh my”. The name of their new book.
Since my first love is baking and I love the cute creations that everyone comes up with, these two just made me smile for the half hour they were on stage. You probably don’t know their names but you may know their work. Their books include – Hello, Cupcake! What’s New, Cupcake! and their latest cupcakes, cookies, and pie, oh my! Their books include fun ideas to make with store bought items and no special tools other than normal items you probably already have in your kitchen. They encourage you to use your own recipes but make it easy for you to use the store bought stuff if you are short on time.
They gave everyone in the audience this cute little chef cookie. His clothes are made out of candy clay – one of my favorite recipes that I’ll share with you some day. Besides this little chef, they also gave away and signed their newest book, cupcake, cookies, and pie, oh my! to the first 100 people and I was a lucky recipient. So much fun stuff in there I can hardly decide what to try first.
See – I told you this one would be wordy! If you are still with me – Thank You! I promise the next star sightings will go quickly.
Can you say “Hi y’all!”? Miss Paula Deen was there. She’s is so pretty and has lost so much weight. She said she’s lost 20 some pounds and has about 15 more to go. And man, can she work a crowd. I was a little disappointed because she didn’t cook. Rather, she entertained the crowd while she had others do a little bit of cooking in the kitchen. She answered questions, told stories and promoted her son’s new family cooking show that will be airing this summer sometime. I would love to have her over for a dinner party – you’d never have to worry about having a lull in the conversation.
Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef, decided to make a presence on stage with Paula to tell her to hurry it up. Paula had 5 minutes left and Cat was up next. I watched part of her demonstration and have to say, the food smelled so good!
Then there is Guy Fieri who has two shows on The Food Network Channel. I just happened to walk by his booth and there he was – talking/entertaining the crowd. He’s generous as well. The short time I stood there he gave away a few products to buyers that carry some of his products in their stores. Where there is Guy, there is a crowd!
And Chef Michelle Bernstein was there. I had never heard of her before but I could certainly eat at one of her Miami restaurants. She made steak and homemade mac and cheese. The crowd went wild when she let them taste it after her demonstration.
And last but not least Chris Cosentino, a chef from San Francisco who also has some shows on The Food Network. He made Foie Gras. I can’t pronounce it but it smelled so good that if you weren’t hungry before his segment started, you certainly would have been by the time he was done. Duff and Chris know each other so he made a special appearance in the kitchen with him.
One more thing. This group was AWESOME!!! The Hot Sardines, a jazz band from New York City performed in the Robinson Home Products booth three times on Sunday.
I watched one of their performances and it was AWESOME!!! They used some kitchen items to make some pretty darn good music. Why is it that when my kids pulled out the pots, pans and spoons and started “playing” it didn’t sound anything like real music?
If I didn’t bore you today with all of the fun stuff, stop back tomorrow because I will introduce you to some cool companies and products I saw and hope to use in the future.