It's the first time Paula Deen will make a cooking demonstration/public appearance since early this summer, when those nasty racism allegations surfaced, but it's not the first time she has appeared in The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Houston Show. This weekend at Reliant Stadium, Deen will be joined by her two sons, Jamie and Bobby, as well as a multitude of celebrity chefs, like Food Network's Sunny Anderson, Cooking Channel's Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, as well as Next Food Network Star runner-up Martie Duncan along with good friend and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks.
Saturday and Sunday are both jam-packed with celebrity chef demonstrations, exhibits, workshops and a photo opportunity with Deen. Unfortunately, most VIP tickets and special off-site event tickets are sold out or close to being sold out, but general admission and one-day theater passes are still available. Jill Collins, MetroCooking Show spokesperson, says the marketplace general admission tickets will expose guests to a large range of specialty foods on the exhibitor floor.
"You can buy a general admission ticket and see more than 200 specialty food exhibitors, and these are typically small production food manufacturers with products you are not going to see at the grocery store," Collins says. "Then there are tastings and entertaining events -- watch knife skills, [see] cookbook authors and find all of the workshops on the schedule. It's a real foodie's dream come true."
While the general admission ticket, which can purchased for Saturday or Sunday at $24.50, is an exciting deal, the best ticket options are the 1-Day Theater Passes, which allow you to see cooking demonstrations in the Celebrity Theater on either Saturday or Sunday. Seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis, but for $63, MetroCooking CEO Denise Medved says it's an incredible deal.
Medved says with the 1-Day Theater Pass, guests can see six presentations on Saturday or five on Sunday. Saturday's lineup includes Paula Deen along with her sons, Extreme Chef Terry French and former NFL greats Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini. Sunday's lineup includes Paula Deen and her sons, as well as Sunny Anderson, Martie Duncan with her friend Taylor Hicks, and Debi Mazar with her husband, Gabriele Corcos.
Deen is not an unfamiliar face at MetroCooking Houston, but this year will be the first time the entire family is onstage for a cooking demonstration.
"It was something we decided to do to mix things up a bit," Medved says. "We just thought that with all that was going on with her, it would be nice to have the whole family come with her [onstage]."
Deen has planned to attend MetroCooking Houston since December last year, according to Medved.
"We have been with her for seven to eight years now and we already had that relationship in place," Medved says. "She is excited for coming; she is thrilled she has a fan base and is doing a show she is familiar with."
Aside from celebrity chef demonstrations, several chefs will be signing their cookbooks, including a few new ones. Sunny Anderson will sign her recently released cookbook, Sunny's Kitchen: Easy Food For Real Life, and Jamie Deen will be signing his recently released cookbook, Jamie Deen's Good Food. Several back issues from other celebrity chefs, including Deen, will be sold in the bookstore and on the showroom floor.
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For those who can snag the last few tickets for the Paula Deen Photo Op and Brunch, or for those who are lucky enough to have these tickets already, you're in for a treat. The event occurs on both Saturday and Sunday for $140 per ticket and includes a menu of Southern dishes from Deen. Guests will dine on shrimp and grits, a breakfast casserole made with maple pork sausage, white bread, eggs and cheese, and sweet potato biscuits, served with fresh fruit, juice, coffee and tea.
Deen will not be at the brunch, but guests will be able to meet her afterward and take a picture with her; she can even autograph the photo for you.
MetroCooking will head to Dallas the next weekend, followed by Washington D.C.