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What’s cookin’ at the college?

Expo showcases Iowa’s food and beverage industry

October 23, 2011
Messenger News

The Iowa Central Community College Culinary Arts' students, along with Chef Michael Hirst, Chef Cory Dawson and Master Baker Tom Pritchard will host the third annual Central Iowa Holiday Food and Beverage Expo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Career Education Building Gymnasium on the Fort Dodge campus.

This year, a culinary competition among local area high schools is planned with scholarships available for the winning team or teams. In addition, each year vendor are set up and varied activities take place.

The Central Iowa Food and Beverage Expo started is a way to showcase Iowa's food and beverage industry and has been attended by more than 2,000 people since its inception. The idea was to allow food and beverage establishments to set up a booth at no cost to the vendor and allow attendees to sample some of their products. The time of year was chosen so that the businesses could take orders for the holiday season.

Students in the Culinary program sell tickets to earn their way to Chicago to attend one of the largest culinary extravaganzas in the country. All net proceeds from the ticket sales go directly back into the program for that trip.

The culinary arts program opened its doors in 2007 when Hirst relocated to Iowa with 25 years of experience in the culinary and restaurant business. He brings an international flair and expertise to the students, Iowa Central started with eight students in the first year of the program and has grown to 80 students at the start of its fifth year this fall.

Because of the exponential growth, Dawson, who graduated from the Des Moines Area Community College culinary arts and hospitality management program in 2000, was hired in 2010 to teach and assist with the program at Iowa Central. He brings 17 years of culinary experience to the table.

Fact Box

If you go:

What: Central Iowa Holiday Food and Beverage Expo

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Iowa Central Community College Career Education Building

Cost: Tickets are $10 per person with those 12 and under admitted free.

Pritchard started sharing his passion for baking with Iowa Central students in the spring of 2008. He has more than 40 years of baking experience in the industry, acquiring his Master Baker status in 1992. Pritchard worked at two of Fort Dodge's largest grocery stores, Randalls for 30 years and Hy-Vee for 11 years. He was honored by the Upper Midwest Bakery Association by being inducted into the Baker's Hall of Fame.

Ticket are available for $10 per person, and children 12 and under can attend for free. To be a vendor or to purchase tickets, contact Sue Heistand, 574-1292.



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