Local chefs share the spotlight

Published 7:24 am Monday, August 2, 2010

Jack Erwin, executive chef for The Cedars of Austin, prepares samples of a salad to pass around during the first Cooking Tips and Trends class at the Hormel Historic Home Saturday morning. --Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

A dash of this, a hint of that, and some laughter on the side and the Cooking Tips and Trends class at the Hormel Historic Home is off to a good start.

Saturday’s class, which hosted over 75 people and 14 venders, is the first of four classes offered by the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in conjunction with the HHH.

The program offers exactly what it implies: tips and trends, brought to those in attendance by some of the finest chefs in Austin.

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“We really wanted to promote famous chefs in Austin,” HHH executive director Laura Helle said. “There are some rockin’ chefs and they have followings.”

Janelle Weis, of Austin, watches The Cedars of Austin executive chef Jack Erwin make a dessert during the first Cooking Tips and Trends class Saturday morning at the Hormel Historic Home.

The Cedars of Austin executive chef Jack Erwin ran the first of four classes, themed, “Too Hot to Cook,” and featured recipes that didn’t require that much in the way of heating.

They included recipes like chicken salad, summer fruit cup, strawberry banana smoothie, a trifle and chocolate mug cake.

Erwin gives two similar classes a year at the Cedars. But being the first one up for a series of classes still put Erwin on notice.

“I felt very excited; a little bit nervous,” Erwin confessed. “But it was really relaxed, like I hoped it would be. I felt like people were really responding.”

Janelle Weis, of Austin, was one of four people sitting front row, allowing her to take in everything close up.

“It was really fun,” she said. “Jack was very humorous and the recipes were simple and easy.”

In many ways, the HHH expansion was completed for events like the cooking event, and in Helle’s eyes, Saturday’s class only reinforced that.

“When we were building the kitchen we wanted to make it multi-purposed to host events like this,” she said. “Not just catering events. We knew as soon as it was done we wanted to bring chefs in.”

For Cheryl Corey, executive director of the CVB, after seeing the success of this first show, there’s no place to go but up.

“I think it’s an outstanding start to the event,” Corey said. “It was a great turnout.”

It’s enough to keep people coming back.

“Oh definitely,” Weis said.

It’s even enough to bring back Erwin.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I’ll come to every one. I like getting ideas from other chefs.”

Tickets are still available for upcoming seminars, the next being Saturday, Oct. 30. Those interested should call the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 437-4563 or the Hormel Historic Home at 433-4243.

Remaining Cooking Tips and Trends classes

— Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010

— Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011

— Saturday, April 23, 2011

For tickets, call:

Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau: 507-437-4563

Hormel Historic Home: 507-433-4243