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Fabulous Food Show returns to I-X Center
November 11, 2011 - Andy Gray
Oddball groceries, coupons, recipes, business cards and assorted paraphernalia are strewn atop the dining room table. It must be Fabulous Food Show time again.
The annual foodie extravaganza returned to the I-X Center in Cleveland Friday and runs through Sunday. I’ve gone nearly every year, usually with my now-16-year-old daughter Ali, since the event started as a Food Network-branded attraction. It’s been known as the Fabulous Food Show since that first year, but the Food Network stars remain the centerpiece of the event.
It’s fun to see the chefs who cook on the food channel in action, and it’s just as fun to graze the different exhibitors and sample assorted hot sauces, spice rubs, sweet treats, cheeses and other delicacies. Sometimes you can find products you already like at a bargain price (Brianna’s salad dressings for $2.50 a bottle!) or take a chance on something never seen before.
This year’s haul included a maple crème coffee from Red Cedar in Berea, a loose-leaf citron jasmine green tea from Storehouse Tea Company in Chagrin Falls, a couple boxes of Twinings’ teas, spicy Scruffy Man’s Mustard from Weikel Foods in Kentucky and Crazy Uncle Jester’s Afterburner Sauce, a fiery hot fudge sauce with a habanero afterburn.
Over the years, Ali has photos with and autographed cookbooks from Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Michael Symon (all of whom are back this year) along with Paula Deen (and son Bobby), Giada De Laurentiis and Cat Cora. This year the lure was Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, the focus of the Food Network reality series “Ace of Cakes.”
Duff was a charmer in the autograph line, winning over a Cleveland crowd even while wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey. However, his cooking demo was a bit of a train wreck. It’s impossible to recreate one of his intricately decorated, architectural cakes in a half-hour/45-minute cooking demo, so instead Goldman answered a few frequently asked questions in the guise of sketch about trying to cheer up one his co-workers, Mary Smith, on her birthday.
Goldman had several of his Charm City co-workers with him – including Geof, Mary Alice and Mary Smith – but their microphones only worked sporadically, which essentially destroyed their attempts at humor in the 2,200-seat main theater.
Symon, Fieri and Robert Irvine – the celebrity chefs featured Saturday and Sunday – can be counted on for more traditional cooking demos. And local and regional chefs do more intimate presentations in several other performance spaces set up at the venue.
Tickets start at $25. And fans won’t have to wait a year for another Fabulous Food Show. Signs advertised a spring event that will feature Flay, Emeril Lagasse and grilling guru Steven Raichlen.
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"Ace of Cakes" star Duff Goldman signs autographs at the Fabulous Food Show. (Photo by Andy Gray)