Taste of Home Cooking School features top culinary specialist

Since Dana Elliott was 3-years-old, she knew her calling. While the other children were playing “house,” she would play “restaurant.” Her passion for food and cooking has never wavered.

Rachel Kytonen
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Since Dana Elliott was 3-years-old, she knew her calling.

While the other children were playing “house,” she would play “restaurant.” Her passion for food and cooking has never wavered.

Elliott will be the featured culinary expert at the Taste of Home Cooking School show, held at the Cambridge-Isanti High School, on Saturday, March 5. The Expo begins at 10:30 a.m. and features over 20 booths and concessions.

The interactive, two-hour Cooking School event begins at 1 p.m. Attendees will watch Elliott demonstrate new recipes that they can easily recreate in their home.

“There was nothing else for me to do, but pursue my passion for cooking,” Elliott said. “I followed my dream and it has given me the biggest joy of my life. I like the satisfaction in knowing everything there is to know about food, and how to experiment and create an original recipe.”

The Taste of Home Cooking School event serves as the Isanti County Historical Society’s largest fundraiser of the year.

“In this slow economy, the bottom line is very, very important to providing replacement funds for our yearly budget,” said Kathy McCully, Director of the Isanti County Historical Society. “Taste of Home also provides us exposure to many people that we normally would not meet. Also, the Expo is important to local entrepreneurs in that it gives them the opportunity to promote their businesses and gain additional business contacts.”

McCully said everyone that attends the Cooking School has a great time.

“The Taste of Home Cooking School & Expo event can only be described as ‘electric and high energy,’” McCully said. “We have 700 aspiring cooks traveling throughout the PAC and visiting the Expo, sampling food and wares, sharing stories, visiting with friends, laughing and having fun. And this is all before the show. Once the show starts, Emcee David Braddock and Culinary Specialist Dana Elliott take over and there is more fun, food to prepare and then give away, door prizes delivered by Cambridge Ambassadors, and guest bags to check out.”

McCully also noted that everyone that attends the Cooking School also gets a one-year subscription to Taste of Home or Simple & Delicious magazines.

The Taste of Home Cooking School is organized by the Isanti County Historical Society. Local sponsors include Karl’s Appliance, Cub Foods of Cambridge and the Scotsman/Isanti County News.

Visit ichs.ws for more information on tickets and sponsorships. Tickets are also for sale at the Cambridge Cub Foods (general admission tickets only).

General admission tickets are $16, VIP tickets are $40 and front row VIP tickets are $55.

VIP benefits include reserved seating in the front of  the auditorium, early entry into the Expo, special VIP gift bags, VIP-only door prizes, Meet and Greet with Culinary Specialist, VIP reception area and VIP-only line into auditorium.

About Dana Elliott

Elliott received her Bachelor of Science Degree from The International Culinary Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and has been a Culinary Specialist with Taste of Home for five years.

Elliott performs over 40 shows a year, and shares 40 new recipes with audiences throughout Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Since she’s been with Taste of Home she’s performed over 200 shows.

Elliott said she is considerably lucky to have studied under Chef Klaus Freidenreich, one of only 70 master chefs in the world.  

“He shared with me his knowledge, skills and even secrets of the culinary trade, and I received the absolute best education a culinary student could ask for,” Elliott said.

Elliott encourages everyone to check out the Cambridge show.

“This event will have lots of food, fun and fantastic prizes,” Elliott said. “Attendees will walk away with a considerable amount of knowledge regarding our National Sponsor brands, Taste of Home, food history or information and cooking tips and tricks.”

About the Isanti County Historical Society

McCully explained the Isanti County Historical Society is funded with an appropriation from Isanti County; donations from 10 of the 13 townships; membership dues; private donations; fundraising events and sales of historical books.

“Of course, in all areas we have seen decreases due to the economic turndown over the past two years,” McCully said. “Cuts in our appropriation from Isanti County, partnered with reductions in all of the other areas, totaled nearly $25,000 in 2010, and 2011 doesn’t look much better. ICHS is only open 20 hours a week and has only two part-time employees. At this point we are faced with reducing salaries and shortening open hours-—or doing one fundraiser after another to try to make up the budget cuts. Not having sufficient operating funds takes away from doing our important work of preserving history.”

McCully said even if community members can’t make it to the Cooking School show, donations are still important.

“The past is the anchor of an area because it cannot change,” McCully said. “Our business is to preserve and promote this history for county residents and beyond, so that they know how we became what we are today.”

McCully said the historical society’s programs, library archives and artifacts, which are specific to Isanti County, bring in travelers and searchers of their family histories and ancestors.

“Without a repository for this information on a local level, means artifacts and information are either sent to the landfill and lost forever, or if we are lucky, would be donated elsewhere beyond our access or knowledge,” McCully said.

The historical society stays plenty busy.

“Over the past two years we have continued to inventory our library and archives and get this information into our computer database. The same has taken place for the Carlson Negatives totaling over 100,000 or more,” McCully said.

McCully mentioned the historical society has been awarded a Legacy Grant to obtain oral histories and memories recalling businesses in Isanti County.

“This project will culminate with an exhibit including audio and video called “Main Street and More.” This exhibit opening will wrap in the unveiling of our completed “Main Street” wall which features four building fronts from various parts of Isanti County,” McCully said.

For additional information call 763-689-4229, email [email protected], or visit www.ichs.ws. It is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located in the northwest corner of the Isanti County Fairgrounds.