After wowing attendees in Houston last weekend, Paula Deen will be in Dallas Saturday and Sunday as a Celebrity Chef at the first Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show to be held in this city. Fellow Food Network Star Bobby Flay headlines with the rambunctious Paula on the kitchen stage of the 3,000 seat Smithfield Celebrity Theater for the two-day event at the Dallas Convention Center. In Houston, she shared celebrity billing with Giada De Laurentiis and Jacques Pepin. Crowds were estimated to be about 13,000 over the two days.
Deen, in her trademark irreverent style, put her husband Michael Groover to work on stage in Houston, while she entertained the audience telling stories and commanding her dog to perform tricks. And, reportedly, the crowd loved it all.
Flay, on the other hand, offers a tamer presentation style, but says he encourages audience interaction at his demonstrations. The grilling guru, based in New York, will present at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday to the barbecue-loving Dallas crowd, while Deen takes the stage at 1:30 Saturday and again at noon Sunday to share her Southern cooking secrets and down-home stories. Both are expected to attract sell-out crowds.
Tickets for the headliner presentations are available from $65. Meet and greet opportunities and book signing tickets are also offered at additional charge.
Beginning Saturday, the show in Dallas will feature exhibitors at the downtown convention hall, as well as 30-minute hands-on demonstrations and food tastings in two locations on the floor, and daily small-group presentations by local chefs and culinary experts on the Weir’s Theater Stage. All is free to show visitors for the $24.50 price of admission except the Deen and Flay celebrity presentations. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
In cooperation with the James Beard Foundation, a group of noted local chefs and personalities will present a varied “menu” of topics throughout the two days of the show. Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House will take the podium four times in the 125-seat theater. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.
Other presenters on the schedule include Katherine Clapner, Stephen Pyles, Bruno Davaillon and Tre Wilcox. Also offering 45-minute presentations will be Adam West, Abraham Salum and Anastacia Quinones. Full information on these local personalities and a daily time schedule are available here.
At least two of the planned exhibition workshops will deal with urban gardening, healthy food choices and vegetarian diets, while others focus on knife skills, tabletop design, florals, and (yum!) chocolates. Sessions last approximately 30-minutes, with seating again on an as-available basis for up to 48 people. Many encourage audience participation and will feature tastings.
The approximately 150 vendors who will exhibit their wares run the gamut from informational booths on travel, entertainment and cooking equipment to sellers of Italian linens, cookbooks, cookware and food items, and crafters of such varied offerings as custom furniture, wooden one-of-a-kind pepper mills and cutting boards, jams, jellies, oils and seasonings. While many exhibitors are national or international companies, a large number are headquartered in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and are eager to attract a local following for their products. Visitors will have an opportunity to not only view, sample, examine and buy the products, but to interact informally with the principals.
The Metropolitan Cooking Show was inaugurated in Washington, D.C., in 2006 and has grown in scope and numbers each year. Houston joined the itinerary last year, and Dallas was added for the 2012 season. The Washington show is scheduled in early November and will feature seven celebrity chefs on stage during the two-day food extravaganza.