Taste of Home to show how it’s done

If this year’s Thanksgiving recipes are seeming a little outdated and bland, or if dinnertime around the house could use some sprucing up, Beaumont has an event to help with that.

Back from many years of hiatus, the Taste of Home Cooking School is partnering with local entities to give local audiences a front-row seat with master chef Jamie Dunn offering up culinary secrets to bring home for perfection in their own kitchens. Taste of Home, which reaches more than 4 million fans through cookbooks and magazines and online tips and recipes, is a leader in cookbook fare and is famous for mouth-watering delicacies even novice chefs can perfect if only able to follow simple instructions. The school’s nine culinary specialists conduct 300 shows a year, commanding an audience of 700 to 2,000 guests per show.

The Beaumont showcasing will be held in the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 29, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the ballroom of the MCM Eleganté in Beaumont. Doors open at 4 p.m. for those wanting to get good seats. Advance tickets are on sale now at MobilOil Federal Credit Unions for $10; tickets at the door will be $15. VIP tickets, which include a month membership to World Gym and a meet-and-greet with the culinary expert, are available at Clear Channel Radio off Interstate 10 next door to Channel 6 for $55 in advance and $65 at the door. There are a limited number of VIP tickets available, so organizers recommend scooping them up quick before they’re all gone.

Clear Channel staffer Elizabeth Blackstock is overseeing the event and said she decided to organize the cooking class after she attended a Taste of Home cooking school date with her sister in Lufkin.

“I get the Taste of Home magazine (a present from her mom) and I just love it,” she said of her affection for the brand. “A couple of us went to Lufkin to see the cooking school when it was there and I thought it would be great for Beaumont.

“It was a lot of fun.”

Blackstock said that seeing the chef create a flawless meal before her eyes helped her “really learn how to prepare the dishes. The chef makes it look so quick and easy, it’s hard not to get caught up in it.”

Culinary specialist Jamie Dunn from Stillwater, Okla., will be dishing up all her secrets for the class, and said she is looking forward to her Beaumont trip.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun at this event,” she said. “Trust me, you don’t want to miss it. I’m excited since it’s our first time to be in Beaumont in many, many years. It’ll be fun and I think we’ll have a great time.”

Dunn said she’ll be preparing 10 dishes in the two-hour class, with all the dishes to be given to audience members after the show. Just some of the items on the menu include a peanut butter and chocolate blast, Tuscan bread salad, barbecue chicken pizza, easy Thai chicken and rice, rich agave chocolate cake, raspberry mustard pork roast, pumpkin whoopee pie, huevos rancheros from Eggland’s Best and lots more. The Taste of Home Cooking School magazine, which will feature written recipes for all 10 dishes as well as 116 other recipes, is included for all audience members. A hard-back copy of the Taste of Home cookbook is given to all VIP ticket holders.

“We demonstrate how to cook different things not only for new cooks, but experienced cooks, too,” Dunn said. “There’s something at the show for chefs of all abilities.”

Blackstock added that a lesson in cooking is not all that comes with the ticket price. Gallo Wine, a national sponsor, will be giving samples, along with various vendors before the show and during intermission. Door prizes will given all through the night and a plethora of cookbooks will be available for purchase at the event.

“It’s a pretty fun-packed evening,” Blackstock summed up. “Everybody there gets a goodie bag. … It’s one of those things where you just have to see it to believe it. It really is a lot going on all through the night — and it’s a great deal for anyone who likes to eat cooked food.”

Guest goodie bags come filled with coupons and gifts from local and national sponsors, two free Taste of Home Magazines,  trial memberships to World Gym, and cooking utensils. For tickets or more information on the Taste of Home Cooking School, stop by any area Mobiloil Federal Credit Union or call (409) 896-5555.

Jennifer Johnson can be reached by email at jennifer [at] theexaminer [dot] com.