This past Tuesday I received a text asking – “Are you free on Tuesday?” Well, I have a Bible Study in the morning, what are you thinking? “We have a chance to volunteer from 8-12 in the morning for a “Taste if Home” thing and Younglife will get $1,000.00”. I’m In! I texted back. I assumed she meant Taste Of Home – so I googled what was up at the Casino and learned about a Cooking School road show that the company created.
The first step was to unpack a commercial kitchen’s worth of supplies. We set up several tables – one side for supplies and food – the other side to create 5 cooking stations with a dishwashing station at the end. Food and supply inventory sheets were gone through to make sure we had all of the ingredients and tools for the day.
Our job was to follow written instructions to prep 10 dishes that would be created on stage that evening. We prepared food in various cooked/prepared stages. Each item would have the meal number labeled and then sorted by that number in the fridge and on this holding station.
We were a group of 5 volunteers. Our youngest had never cooked a meal from scratch. Taste of Home boasts recipes for home cooks. I think having an inexperienced volunteer crew proves their point that anyone can create these great dishes!
We went home for an hour and a half in the afternoon, then returned to prep for the final tweeks of the evening. Setting each tool and food item in order to be able to hand to the Culinary Expert. We had a great day with Eric Villegas. He made each of us feel successful and gave us great support and encouragement. He was super high energy and full of laughter. It made the day feel like a party.
People started arriving around 3:30 for the 6:00 show. Crazy I say. Out town is so tiny, I wondered who would come or know about this event. The Casino pre-sold over 400 tickets, and by 6:00 this room was packed to capacity – I think around 600 folks. They drive an hour and a half or more over from the valley. Crazy!
There were screens all over, vendors in the back, goodie bags and a ton of free entry drawing prizes. The whole show was like a huge loud party. The five us us scurried around back stage and on stage getting each food item ready so Eric was free to be engaged with the audience as he showed the cooking steps with flair. Some of the timing got a bit hectic, but as a whole, I think we did great for a group of volunteers!
I would do this again next year, I hear they come to Lincoln City each fall. It was a delightful time. I’m surprised I had never heard of the Taste of Home Cooking School. Some of the volunteers had never heard of their magazines, books, or cookbooks. At least I already loved their products!
Thankful to the Chinook Winds Casino for allowing us to volunteer and donating $1,000 to Younglife Camperships. I’ll have two kids going this year, time to start saving now!
I used to go to the Taste of Home cooking shows when they came to my town, back about 10 years ago. Then, they quit coming, and one of my friends who would help backstage and on stage told me that there just wasn’t as much of a demand for this kind of program anymore since the Food Network had taken off. I find that hard to believe, based on your sharing about your day and how many people were in attendance. In our town, it would be a sold-out audience of 1000 people, and yes, they would start showing up around 3:00 p.m. for the 6 p.m. show. It was crazy fun, and we loved it! I hope they start coming to our town again, soon! 🙂