Culinary Specialist, Dana Elliot, gives us an inside look at the life of a Cooking School Culinary Specialist and the happenings backstage.
Many people will ask me, what do you do for a living, and I always reply, I’m a chef. But in reality, I’m also an entertainer, product spokesperson, a/v technician, cross country driver, and event planner.
My day begins early with help from local media who unload my van, which carries every piece of equipment that I will need to prepare all of the recipes that you see on stage. I even carry the kitchen sink! Volunteers arrive to help with the prep of all the dishes, and I set up the front of the stage with the audio/visual equipment that gives the audience a close up look at everything I’m doing during the show.
Once all of the prep is done, it’s show time! The Taste of Home Cooking School has national sponsors, and it’s my job to teach everyone about their products and their companies, while I’m preparing their recipe. I also have to keep people from falling asleep, so every now and again, I’ll throw a little food trivia or food history in, along with a few jokes. Once I accidently caught my coat sleeve on fire, and the entire audience began to applaud as if I had done it on purpose! I’m good, but not that good!
After the show is done, I load up the van with my kitchen and stage equipment, and then it’s off to my next destination. Whether it’s a 3 or 12 hour drive, I always have my constant travel partner, my IPod!
It’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s a perfect fit! I get to share with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of people, my passion; cooking! I get to meet interesting people on a daily basis, and travel to different cities with rich histories and great food! At the end of the day, it’s just me, my music, my pots and pans, and the open road!
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