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Posted April 16, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Taste of Home Cooking School tickets on sale

By Matthew Burdette - The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Journal's Spring into Spring Taste of Home Cooking School and Pre-show Expo is quickly approaching, and tickets are selling out fast.

The popular event is scheduled for Thursday at The Living Room, 50 Monroe St. in Berkeley Plaza. Tickets are $13, and the doors are set to open at 4 p.m. The show starts at 6:30 p.m.

This year's event, though, has a new twist as it heralds the first time a male culinary specialist will host the cooking extravaganza.

Michael Barna, of Wynnewood, Pa., will take over on-stage duties bringing his style and vast knowledge of cooking to the dais.

"I'm looking forward to coming to The Living Room in Martinsburg," Barna said. "We're going to have a lot of fun at this event. Trust me, you don't want to miss it."

Tickets only are available at the event's major sponsors: Parsons Kia in Winchester, Va.; Orsini's Appliances Sales and Services in Martinsburg and Ranson; and Martin's grocery stores in Martinsburg and Charles Town. Valley Health/Winchester Medical Center also is a major sponsor but is not distributing tickets.

"The sponsors always are so generous," said Journal Advertising Director Judy Gelestor. "P.J. Orsini and Orsini's Appliances Sales and Services have been with us every show. They will be donating a dishwasher that will be given away at the event. They are even going to deliver and completely install it for the winner."

Aside from the dishwasher, a plethora of doors prizes will be given away, in addition to the goody bag each ticket holder will receive on the way into the show.

The large, blue-canvas bags -- which are courtesy of Parsons Ford- Lincoln, James Rumsey Technical Institute, International Beauty School and West Virginia University Hospitals-East -- are packed with a variety of cooking-related items, including two Taste of Home cookbooks -- Taste of Home Simple & Delicious and Taste of Home Healthy
Cooking. Several coupons, novelties, recipes, informative material and a free subscription to Taste of Home or Healthy Cooking magazine also will be included. As a special gift, patrons will receive packets of Emeril Lagasse's "Original Essence" seasoning, which will be featured in one of the recipes during the show. The goody bags are being
prepared by Stars Day Recording Center of Martinsburg.

Prior to the start of the event, more than 25 local vendors will showcase their wares to cooking school attendees. Many local vendors will sell refreshments and demonstrating their unique products.

Among this year's vendors are: Orsini's Appliances Sales & Services, Parsons Kia of Winchester, Martin's, Valley Health/Winchester Medical Center, D&M DJ Service, G&J Cabinetry, Bath Fitters, Tupperware, Daily Grind, Melson Gem Crafs, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Advocare, Longaberger, Massage & Bodyworks by Aura LLC, Community Alternatives to Violence, Selah Cafe, Appalachian Supply & Spices, R&K Mobile Boutique, World Ventures, Pampered Chef, Shenandoah Community Health Center, Sweet Inspirations & Classic Chocolates, Slumber Parties by Kristi and G&G Grill. G&J Signature Cabinetry of Martinsburg is providing the kitchen cabinets, Flowers Unlimited is providing the stage decorations and Monte Conner of D&M DJ Service will serve as emcee.

Once the show kicks off, culinary students from James Rumsey Technical Institute will be on stage to assist Barna. The students also will do all of the prep work prior the event.

As for the food, Martin's grocery is supplying the on-stage fare, as well as donating 20 bags of groceries that will be given away at the event. The grocery store also will give away other door prizes at its vendor booth.

The show, though, isn't all about cooking. It's about community.

"I really like being a part of this and helping the community," said Dave Jones, general manager at Parsons Kia. "With the new presenter, this will be something special for people to attend. I always like the fall show. It gets into the spirit of the season -- Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The spring one is always nice because it's
about cooking out and trying to lose weight, instead of the fall one where it's about comfort food and gaining weight."

"I love doing this show and going to mingle with the people," said Susan Hobbs, sales manager at Parsons Kia. "It's a good way to get the community together for one purpose and to be able to share with them and interact with the vendors. It's nice to see some of the smaller businesses there and see them get their names out in the public."

And, even though food will be aplenty at the show, Valley Health/Winchester Medical Center will be on hand promoting and giving tips on living a healthy lifestyle. This year, Valley Health is promoting its Spirit of Women program that focuses on women and making them and their families more healthy.

"Judy and The Journal along with Pam (Fawley-Martin) and all the volunteers always do an excellent job with these shows," Jones said.

"And, the show's not just for the women. A lot of men attend these shows. I've sat through a few and really enjoyed them. They've all made me hungry.

-- City editor Matthew Burdette can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext.
218, or mburdette@journal-news.net.

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