Yes -- This Food Show Is Incredible.

Images from Incredible Food Show 2010, Day 1, Kentucky

Images from Incredible Food Show 2010, Day 1, Kentucky

I didn't know how to imagine the Kentucky Proud-presented Incredible Food Show before I got there this morning. I had never been to a food show, and we Kentuckians are still new at gathering around food tastings and demonstrations.

This is just a short post, so I'll recap quickly: Organization: excellent. Crowd: happy and ample. Exhibits: enticing. Exhibitors: cheerful. Demonstrations: impressive.

I had a bit of a sense I've had in dreams, when I suddenly discover a new room in a house I'm inhabiting, a place I thought I knew that suddenly unfolds into a larger dimension. The Incredible Food Show seems like a new kind of space opening up for all who inhabit the familiar world of Kentucky food.

I noted that the crowd and lines for samples inside the exhibit area dwarfed the handful of people in the Lexington Convention Center Food Court, suggesting, at the very least, that free foods with Kentucky ties have drawing power, compared to fast food. If Kentucky eaters learn new habits of supporting Kentucky growers and producers, the future will shine for Kentucky's local food and agriculture economies.

My fun for the day came from watching Giada De Laurentiis engage a happy Kentucky crowd as she demonstrated three pasta dishes and answered a slew of audience questions, and then writing about the experience. I wrote as a guest blogger for Rupp Arena Blog. Read the first of my two stories here. I'm told the second, longer story will appear sometime tomorrow. One particular audience member-turned-sous chef may surprise you.

The wealth of cooking demonstrations continues tomorrow, featuring, among many other tasting and learning opportunities, a progressive series of five 30-minute demonstrations by celebrated local chefs, building through the courses required for a complete Sunday Supper. I predict people will love this, and, in contrast to today's main show with our glamorous guest who flew in from LA, admission to the five Sunday Supper demos is included with all basic entry tickets.

I may miss many of the demos as I join other judges in carrying out the hard duty of choosing the best foods from the many tasty exhibits. I expect more fun, along with  some hard decisions. I also expect to finish the day Kentucky Proud.