Food and Beverage Expo focuses on Iowa products
FORT?DODGE – Deb Rauhauser had an easy time picking out an outfit to wear to the annual Central Iowa Food and Beverage Expo in the Career Education Building was pretty easy.
The Iowa Central Community College student from Moorland wore her chef’s whites.
Picking out the proper headgear however, required a little searching.
She found what she was looking for in a local costume shop – a bright pink pig hat that was perfect for handing out samples of Iowa pork.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet and mingle,” she said.
Chef Michael Hirst, head of the Iowa Central Culinary Arts program, said the event is held to showcase the culinary program, its students and local businesses.
“We like to promote Iowa produce,” he said.
Many of the booths reflect topics covered in class. For example, one offered samples of student prepared beef – one fed on grass, the other fed on corn – so that visitors could taste the difference.
“We do this in the classroom,” Hirst said. “I like to share this with the wider audience of Fort Dodge.”
Hirst said that Iowa is one of the nation’s fastest-growing areas in the sale, consumption and production of organic foods. He said that it’s easy to understand.
“It’s simply growing produce in a pre-World War II style – before they had all the chemicals,” he said.
Kim Duszynski, of Stratford, came to the Food Expo with her granddaughter, Dru Morlan, 8, of Harcourt.
She said they’d enjoyed the event and had tasted just about everything offered.
Being able to taste two versions of the same food side by side also appealed to her.
“I like it when you can taste both,” she said. “The organic is so much better.”
A cooking contest among culinary classes from area high schools was added this year.
Mike Schmidt, a senior at Manson Northwest Webster, was working with three of his classmates to produce a chicken dish in an hour.
“It’s tight on time,” he said, while breading strips of meat and placing them on a baking tray.
He had a lot of confidence in their recipe.
“I think we got it,” he said.
The experience will serve him well. He’s planning on a career in the culinary arts.
“I’ve always liked making food,” he said.
For this year, the only pressure the students face is time.
Next year, they may be in for a surprise, a secret ingredient only revealed at the last minute.
“I’m being nice this year,” Hirst said.
Contact Hans Madsen at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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