The Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show grows more brilliant each year, guided by two visionaries who also excel in know-how: Show Manager Theresa Lloyd and Lexington Center Marketing Director Sheila Kenny. The 2012 show opens at 9 AM Saturday, October 27 at Rupp Arena and the Lexington Civic Center.
The event's signature ingredients include a celebrity chef (Food Network chef Tyler Florence this year), a Rupp-scale marketplace showcasing more than 100 Kentucky Proud food producers (yummy samples!), and a full roster of workshops and seminars.
This year the event adds new features that appeal.
At the new Quick Tips Booth, cooks and chefs will dish out useful information for home cooks. One Quick Tip presenter will be Kentucky's star innkeeper and chef Barbara Napier of Snug Hollow Farm Bed & Breakfast, who has promised to reveal the make-at-home secret of her tall, fluffy biscuits. Hint: two and only two ingredients.
At the new Restaurant Row, noted local restaurants will offer small plates of delicious food, filling a gap the IFS organizers recognized in past years when Show patrons could nibble at samples and taste wines but could not buy a decent lunch. The long list of restaurants in this year's Row includes Midway School Bakery, Marksbury Farm Market, Alfalfa Restaurant, and Jonathan at Gratz Park Inn.
In a new Traditional Foodcraft area, national championship sorghum makers Randal Rock and Curtis Congleton of Country Rock Sorghum will work their magic on freshly pressed, green sorghum cane juice, cooking it until it turns into an anti-oxidant rich, scrumptious, clear amber syrup. Skilled crafts people will demonstrate apple cider making and apple butter production as well.
Much more will happen, including mystery basket cooking contests, professional chef demonstrations, and whole hog butchery. My advice: go early. If you are among the first 300 arrivals, you receive Sullivan University's wonderful Kentucky Proud breakfast, free.
After breakfast, you will have time to find me at the IFS Bookstore hosted by Joseph Beth Booksellers. At 1o:00 AM, I will be signing my book, Sweet, Sweet Sorghum: Kentucky's Golden Wonder (complete with sorghum samples.) At 12:15 I will present a sorghum workshop and baking demonstration. Come for the sorghum tastes, the free sorghum crinkle cookies, and information about how sorghum is good for us, good for farmers, good for our land, and good for communities. I have promised a sorghum sermon, with pictures, but worry not: in and out in 30 minutes flat! (Or crinkly.)
Going to IFS early offers a lot of benefits this weekend. You may have time and energy left for other local food events later in the day. As central Kentucky's food capital status grows, we find multiple events happening on the same day and night. Good for us, and good for our farmers! Other food events today through this weekend:
International Eating & Reading Night, an intriguing new event from the fine, creative geniuses at the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning. A giant international potluck, complete with poetry readings in many languages. Thursday, October 25, 6 PM (food), 6:30 PM (open mic), 7 PM (featured readers.)
Sandwich Shop 2, a pop-up Restaurant at Institute 193 featuring pa-jeon kim chi belly (rice) pancakes: Friday, October 25 and 26, 12-2 PM
Peace Meal Gardens Harvest Festival: 12-4 PM Saturday, October 27: Many fine workshops, music, and food from this amazing garden off Leestown Road (directions included in the link.) A deep bow to Rebecca Claire Glasscock, PhD, Professor of Geography at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, who manages the Peace Meal Garden and many other inventive, community-building, world-healing activities each year.
Seedleaf's Fifth Birthday Party: Saturday, 4 - 7 PM, Loudoun House. Family-oriented, music, dancing, and free. Seedleaf has added richness and value to central Kentucky every day of the five years it has been working to nourish our community. Go sing Happy Birthday with our unparalleled community cultivators.
International Chef Showcase, Friday and Saturday evenings, at eight restaurant locations in central Kentucky. Eight international chefs will work with eight noted local chefs to prepare special meals using Lyons Farm products and other Kentucky ingredients. There's a contest, with prizes. I don't know quite how it all works, but I'm betting on spectacular renditions of Kentucky food on every plate.
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Note: Incredible Food Show, Alfalfa Restaurant, and Midway School Bakery sponsor Savoring Kentucky.