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Taste of Home Cooking School a success, organizers say

Taste of Home Cooking School culinary specialist Eric Villegas poses with Nancy Finley of West Chazy, left, and her family. Finley was the winner of a Frigidaire range donated by Wilson’s Appliance Centers in Plattsburgh. The range was the grand prize given out at the event.

Taste of Home Cooking School culinary specialist Eric Villegas poses with Nancy Finley of West Chazy, left, and her family. Finley was the winner of a Frigidaire range donated by Wilson’s Appliance Centers in Plattsburgh. The range was the grand prize given out at the event. Photo by Daniel E. Alexander.

— The Crete Memorial Civic Center was “packed”as Denton Publications and other fine sponsors hosted the second annual Taste of Home  Cooking School Nov. 5.

Ed Coats, associate publisher of Denton Publications and New Market Press, who has been organizing Taste of Home locally since first offering it in Burlington, Vt., six years ago, said attendance for this year’s event exceeded his expectations.

“It was fantastic,” said Coats. “Though we don’t have the final numbers yet, we know we increased our attendance from last year ... It was a packed house.

Last year’s event saw more than 1,100 people turn out for cooking demonstrations from chef Michael Barna. This year, Eric Villegas was the featured culinary specialist. Villegas — who has owned two restaurants, written two cookbooks, and earned two regional Emmy awards for his popular television show, “Fork in the Road with Eric Villegas” — wowed the crowd, said Coats.

“Eric was great,” said Coats. “He really got the crowd going and showed off some really amazing recipes.”

Many people approached Coats and the rest of the Denton Publications staff who were on-hand for the event, telling them how they enjoyed Villegas’ show and the variety of vendors, said Coats.

“People loved the goodie bags, too,” said Coats, referring to the free gift bags given to attendees.

The whole event, noted Coats, could not have happened without the support of the vendors, attendees and sponsors Price Chopper, Wilson's Appliance Center, and Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry.

Coats also credited the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department for their hard work and department director Steve Peters.

“Steve and his staff are always a pleasure to work with,” said Coats.

The show went so well, said Coats, there’s already been talk of hosting another in the spring, rather than waiting until next fall.

“We’re not sure at this point if we will, but this event keeps getting bigger and bigger, so who knows,” said Coats.

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