First Taste of Spring at The SavorNC Cooking Stage

4452defe-d5bd-4fc1-9cc8-2289ed2d4211Tomorrow Friday Feb 23, 2017 marks the first day of all the food flavor and fun at the SavorNC Cooking Stage at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show at the Park Expo in Charlotte NC. The show runs for 6 full days – this weekend of Feb 23-26 and then again the weekend of March 3-5. Attendance at the SavorNc Cooking Stage is free with your ticket to the show and we will be located right by the show entrance, so you can’t miss us!

 

savorncI happily play the part of host of the cooking stage and have invited over 40 restaurant chefs, private chefs, caterers, farmers and other food-centric folk to be on stage with me cooking with tons of local produce, proteins and products.  The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has come on as the title sponsor of the stage, so we are the SavorNC Cooking Stage and each day we have a different local day sponsor involved in all the action.

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The cooking demos each day start at 10:30 am and run every hour on the half hour. Chefs will be cooking, sharing technique, tips about buying local and handing out complimentary samples at each and every demonstration.

At the end of each demo, we’ll ask a couple of fun trivia questions pertaining to what each chef said, and where ingredients might have come from and the winners will get great prizes which will include gift  bags of swag from the NC Department of Agriculture, gift certificates from the participating restaurants and special samples and or coupons from our day sponsors.

Recipes from each day of demos and a photo recap of the day will be posted on these blog pages each evening of the show, so stay tuned for the word on lots of local eats and how to make them in your kitchen over the next ten days. Consider these two weekends a first taste of Spring with all the wonderful local ingredients this, my favorite season of the year, brings.

Here is the line up of chefs for each day  and a little bit about our GotToBeNC Day Sponsors for this first weekend of the 2017 Southern Spring Show… Look for a similar article next week on the line up of all the action for the March 3-5 weekend or check here for a link to the complete list of participating chefs

img_7229Goodnight Brothers Country Ham from Boone North Carolina kicks off our list of day sponsors this year on Friday February 24, 2017. Throughout the day chefs will be hamming it up with Goodnight’s all natural line of thin sliced dry cured ham (I like to call it North Carolina’s answer to  Italian prosciutto) as well as Goodnight’s classic Country Ham. Goodnight Brothers has sent me two HUGE boxes of  sample sized packages of ham to hand out to the crowd and at 12:30 I will be on stage with Bill Goodnight of Goodnight Brothers, cooking with both varieties of this locally cured ham and talking about the history of this family owned company and how they do what they do.  if you have ever eaten a ham biscuit at Bojangles, then you know how wonderful Goodnight Brothers Ham really is – take this opportunity to come to the Spring Show on Friday, to try, taste and learn more about it.

Cooking onstage with me Friday February 24, 2017 –

10:30 am
Springtime Favorites

Chef Blake Hartwick, Bonterra Dining & Wine Room

11:30 am
WCCB Everyday Eats Hamming It Up

Chef Troy Gagliardo
WCCB Charlotte

12:30 pm
Cooking with Goodnight Brothers Country Ham
Cooking Stage Host Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto and Bill Goodnight from Goodnight Brothers Country Ham

1:30 pm
The Sweet & Savory Sides of Eating Local
Chef Paul Verica and Chef Ashley Boyd, Heritage Food Drink, Waxhaw NC

2:30 pm
It’s Cookin’ at The Cowfish

Chef David Lucarelli, The Cowfish Sushi & Burger Bar

3:30 pm
Charcuterie and Cooking with Beer 

Chef Terra Ciotta and Chef Philip Lloyd, The Art Institute

4:30 pm
Dinner from the Springtime Garden

Chef Michael Rayfield, U.S. National Whitewater Center

5:30 pm
Gluten Free Vegan and Vegetarian

Chef Beverly McLaughlin, Beverly’s Gourmet Foods

img_7234On Saturday February 25, 2017 Parla Pasta from High Point North Carolina is our day sponsor and you won’t believe all the delicious Pastabilities we’ll have on hand. Simone Drake from Parla’s parent company Drake’s Pasta will be with us all day and is bringing a wonderful pasta salad for show goers to snack on between demos as well as plenty of coupons to hand out, so everyone can go and buy their favorite variety of Parla Pasta from their grocer’s freezer case after begin inspired by the culinary action onstage. Again, chefs will be cooking with the different varieties of Parla Pasta throughout the day and at 12:30 Simone and I will take the stage together to cook and talk pasta. Parla Pasta is available at grocery stores across Charlotte – find it in the freezer section at your favorite locations of Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Publix, Ingles, and Lowes Foods.

And here is who will be cooking onstage with me for Saturday February 25, 2017:

10:30 am
Little Plates, Big Flavor with Stoke Restaurant’s infamous Pork Ragu

Chef Chris Coleman, Stoke at the Marriott

11:30 am
Sweet Springtime Dreams

Chef Ashley Boyd and Chef Miranda Brown, 300 East

12:30 pm
Ah, The Parla Pastabilities

Cooking Stage Host Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto with SImone Drake of Parla Post

1:30 pm
It’s Got to Be NC!

Clark Barlow, Heirloom Restaurant

2:30 pm
Kale Yeah!

Heidi Billotto cooks with the Greens that Grow at Tega Hill Farms

3:30 pm
Entertaining on the Fly: From Zero to Party in under and Hour
Susan Murray Innkeeper and Cookbook Author, Carolina B&B, Asheville

4:30 pm
Pasta and Prosciutto with Springtime Style
Chef George DiPaolo from the Community Culinary School of Charlotte

5:30 pm
Risotto From the Springtime Garden
Chef Geoff Bragg from the Community Culinary School of Charlotte

cloister-honeyOn Sunday February 26, 2017, our friends Randall York and Joanne di la Rionda from Cloister Honey are in the house with their entire line of sweet and savory locally raised honey. Cloister Honey will be available to sample and purchase throughout the day right at the cooking stage. Many chefs will be incorporating the line of Cloister Honey into their recipes and  in the 12:30 time slot this day, I’ll be cooking with Cloister and Randall and Joanne will join me onstage to talk about raising bees, how they came to build a hobby into a company and we might even get  Joanne to share her secrets ( well some of them) on how she develops her delicious honey blends and flavor infused varieties. Cloister will be giving away samples as a part of each prize package during each of the chefs demos throughout the day  – its going to be a sweet way to wind up this first weekend of fun and local flavor on the SavorNC Cooking Stage at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show.

On the SavorNC Cooking Stage Sunday, February 26, 2017:  

10:30 am
Sunday Brunch Fresh from the Farm

Chef Kevin Woods cooks with  Two Moons Family Farms

11:30 am
The Art of Japanese Cuisine From Yama, Yama Izakaya and Baku Restaurants

Chef and Sake Specialist Birdie Yang

12:30 pm
Catch the Buzz – Cooking with Cloister Honey

Cooking Stage Host Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto with Cloister’s Randall York and Joanna de la Rionda

1:30 pm
Jamie’s Favorite Top Chef Recipes

Chef Jamie Lynch of 5 Church and Top Chef Charleston contestant

2:30 pm
Donuts: Not Just for Breakfast
Courtney Buckley, Your Mom’s Donuts

3:30 pm
Wine Pairings with Local Favorites 
Josh Villapando, Assorted Table Wine Shop

So Many great local GotToBeNc products to feature on the Savor NC Cooking Stage this first weekend of the show, and so many chefs to help create the show. I’m proud to say we have a truly great line up of award winning and nationally recognized chefs here in Charlotte and our surrounding areas and  I am thrilled to promote them on the SavorNC Cooking Stage this weekend and next.

charlotte-living-winter-2017-coverIn addition to recipes and samples and all the fun you’ll have at the Savor NC Cooking Stage, remember to also pick up a copy of the new issue of Charlotte Living Magazine. That beautiful dish on the cover was prepared by Chef Thomas Marlow of Mimosa Grill in Uptown Charlotte.

As many of you know, In addition to this blog, I also am the food editor at Charlotte Living and this first issue of the year is our annual food issue. So excited to see my “100 + Restaurants Worth Your While Restaurant Guide” finally done and printed up in living color. A TEN-PAGE spread of great places to eat in Charlotte and a word or two about many chefs who make this such a wonderful food-centric city. Pick up a copy of the magazine at the SavorNC Cooking Stage and enjoy the guide, articles on Mimosa Grill in Uptown Charlotte and Highland Avenue Restaurant in Hickory as well as a piece on local Moorseville woodworker Jeffrey Mathews of Old World Moulding Company who creates incredible cutting boards for chefs around the world; and  a section on 6 ways to open a package, box, bottle or jar to Eat Local and more. Can’t wait – you can check out the Restaurant Guide and some of these other articles online at CharlotteLiving.com

 

 

 

August and September On the Farm and At Home with Heidi Cooking Classes

cropped-heidi-cooks-logo.jpgAugust 1, 2014 – Anyone can cook, Let Heidi Billotto show you how to make it fun! Two terrific On the Farm cooking class offerings and several seasonal At Home with Heidi events coming up and  I know you are going to love every one!.

For each of my cooking classes, I team up with my friend, wine guru, Josh Villapando from the Assorted Table Wine Shop to offer wine pairings with every course in each class; and the opportunity to purchase the wines we taste in class directly from Josh – take a bottle home and enjoy it all over again.

My cooking class participants will also receive coupons good toward purchases at the Savory Spice Shop SouthEnd  on South Blvd. and Pour Olive Artisan Olive Oil Shoppe on East Blvd.

I invite you to register for any one of these hands-on classes simply by emailing me  to make your advance reservation.

Remember, never any hard and fast rules at my classes – if you would rather just watch, sit back ,eat and drink and enjoy instead of trying your hand, that’s fine too – just come and have fun!

Looking forward to cooking up a storm with you real soon!

On the Farm at New Town Farms | Saturday August 2 | 11 am – 3:30 pm | Farm Tour and Cooking Class

sammy at the marketCome and meet farmers Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg of New Town Farms in Waxhaw, NC. Join us as we visit with the heritage breed chickens and pigs, collect eggs and see the seasonal produce in and out of greenhouses. You’ll hear all about Sammy’s farming philosophy and, we’ll cook with all the farm has in season. I guarantee, it’ll change the way you think about the food you buy and the way you eat.   The day includes a cooking class, wine parings, generous samples, recipe packets and a fabulous farm tour.

Cost $75 per person         Email Heidi to make your reservation

 

COOKING WITH SUMMER HERBS | At Home with Heidi | Saturday August 9 | 11am – 2 pm

herbs Fresh herbs have been planted and are growing and now its time to cook.

This class offers a host of fun new ideas for using you herb garden  harvest to season and spice. Four courses, wine pairings, growing and  preserving tips too.

 Cost is $65             Email Heidi  to make your reservations.

 

 

On The Farm at Windcrest Organic Farms & Greenhouses | Its Tomato Time! | Sun August 10 | 1-4 pm

mary tomatoes from Windcrest Its tomato time and this class is all about what to do when  there are    too many tomatoes and you can’t eat them fast  enough.

We’ll use them to make ketchup, salsa and a host of  sauces as well as  my famous summertime tomato pie and  the best fried green tomato    and goat cheese stack you’ve  ever had. Wine pairings as always, plus a tour and Mary  Roberts take on growing organic – don’t miss it!

Cost is $75 per person      Email Heidi to make your reservations

 

 

Its For The Birds | Cooking with Chicken, Duck & Quail | At Home with Heidi| Sat Aug 16 |  11am – 2 pm

chickenThe name says it all – great recipes for family  friendly dishes featuring chicken, quail, duck  and maybe local turkey too.

We’ll pan sear, roast, braise and cook on the grill – you’re gonna love it!

Cost $65 per person             Email Heidi to make your reservation

 

 

Gluten Free Gourmet |At Home with Heidi | Saturday July 26 | 11 am – 2 pm

gluten free chestnut flour breadAll new recipes for those who want to eat well and make it gluten free -for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and the best Gluten free bread and rolls you’ve ever had! Wine pairings always included.

Cost is $65 per person       Email Heidi to make your advance reservations  

 

 

In Celebration of Julia and Four More Fabulous Cooking Classes

cropped-heidi-cooks-logo.jpgAnyone can cook, let me show you how to make it fun!

You’ll find  the entire list of my new August, September and October cooking classes each week in my email newsletter  ( just shoot me an email if you would like to subscribe) and in the Cooking Class section of HeidiBillottoFood.com.

I thought you would like a more detailed  taste of the four classes I have coming up in the next few weeks ahead…..I’d love to have you come and join in the fun for one or all.

These classes are always a blast! The At Home with Heidi classes are held at my South Charlotte home in my kitchen  and my unique On the Farm Classes take place on local area farms.

Once you email me to make your reservations I will send out directions to our home or to the individual farm. In every class we offer Wine parings with every dish, recipes packets and wine notes for each class participant. Cost is $65 – $75 per person. Class size is limited – your advance reservations via email to me gets you on the class list and advance payment confirms your space in class.

300-JULIA-BRANDING-FINALAt Home with Heidi – Tuesday August 13; 6:30-9:30 pm – For the Love of Julia – Years ago I had the great good fortune to interview Julia Child by phone – twice – truly a highlight in my culinary career! On August 14, my hero Julia Child would have been 101 years old! No better way to celebrate her culinary contributions and inspirations than with a class in her honor. This class will be comprised of my take on four of my favorite Julia dishes from an assortment of her cook books – I have so many I am still trying to decide which ones to prepare -of course we’ll use local product as much as possible and I’ll probably base my selections on what I find at the market before class. As always Josh Villapando from the Sorting Table will provide our wine pairings.
Cost $65 per person – email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com  to make your advance reservations

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At Home with Heidi – Tuesday August 27; 6:30-9:30 -Late Summer Herbs and Spices – A great “season”al class – we’ll cook with all the fresh herbs we can get our hands on and blend them with product from my go-to spice shop – the Savory Spice Shop in SouthEnd and Pour Olive olive oil shop on East Blvd.  to make a perfectly seasoned dinner for four – or more! Tips on preserving your fall herb harvest as well. Our menu will include Bistecca Florentine ( grilled steak with olive oil and fresh rosemary) and my wild salmon version of the same; marinated local feta  with local tomato concasse on pasta with a fresh-made herbs de province blend; lamb chops with mint gremolata and  mixed berry basil pie  –  Wine pairings with each course, of course! Cost $65 per person Email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com  to make your reservations.

Shelley and Brian of Proffitt Cattle Co.,

Shelley and Brian of Proffitt Cattle Co.,

Heidi’s Unique On The Farm Cooking Classes – Saturday, September 7; 3- 7:30 pm – On the Farm  at Proffitt Cattle Co.  in Kings Mountain

Home to Shelley and Brian Eagan and Shelley’s parents Diane and Steve and their family, Proffitt Cattle Co.  is the first and largest cattle ranch in NC to raise beef on certified organic pastures. This beef is pasture finished, dry aged, 100% grass fed, USDA processed with no hormones and no antibiotics. Proffitt’s certified organic beef is available in Charlotte at Whole Foods

Upon arrival at the farm, we’ll start with an hors d’oeuvre and an aperitif and then settle into the kitchen for a cooking class with a beef-centric seasonal menu.  As always our menu will include wine pairings from our good friend Josh Villapando at The Sorting Table at Seventh Street Market to match each course. The afternoon at the farm will wind up  with an incredible tour of the Proffitt’s homestead property where you will get to experience first hand all that goes into raising this high quality local certified organic grass fed beef. Meet the cows and bulls, the horses, chickens, ducks and guinea hens and the bevy of friendly farms dogs too!

Enjoy the friendship, fellowship, generous samples, wine pairings and take away recipe packets and wine notes and more!

Lots of hands on opportunities for those who want to slice, dice and saute along with me. Or if you’d rather just enjoy the wine and drink and the beautiful view from the Proffitt’s comfy porch and patio, that’s fine too.

Cost $75 per person –    email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

thai food

At Home with Heidi – Saturday, Sept 14; 11 am – 2 pm – Thai One On –  Come and delight in the Asian cuisine that brings together sweet, spicy, salty and hot flavors in each and every dish. An entire meal with all the intricate flavors of Thailand. Recipes include my twist on a Thai chicken and coconut soup, local grilled pork with green curry sauce, classic Pad Thai and savory fishcakes with spicy cucumber sauce -don’t miss it! Cost is $65;  email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com  to make your advance reservations.

grilling out shot

 Please Note the New Date – Sunday, Sept  22; 1-4 pm – Fire and Spice –  Cooking from the fall grill -You’ll  be good to grill for any occasion after this fun,  flavorful and informative class. Lots of tips and tricks to help you achieve grilling perfection. On the menu – grilled antipasto veggies and house marinated olives, tuna burgers with grilled jalapeno and cilantro pesto,  dry rub bbq chicken with tabouli,  grilled from-scratch sausage biscuits and a fun grilled dessert you are going to love.                   Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

Check the Cook Class Info page for the rest of the list of late September and October cooking classes  and simply email me to register for those that catch your fancy,

Private cooking classes
 If my regularly scheduled class times don’t suit; but a topic is of interest, then perhaps you’d like to plan a private cooking class or team building event all your own – I have several groups doing just that I am happy to accommodate you all – just give me a shout and we’ll get a date and topic for YOUR class on the calendar.
A private class at your home kitchen or in mine is a fabulous way to entertain friends, family, celebrate birthdays or get to know your co-workers better – plus we have a blast – so you’ll be the host or hostess with the mostess for putting it all together!
 If you have a group larger than 16 or so I have several other kitchen options we can explore -again simply contact me at hlnc@carolina.rr.com and we’ll get it all figured out.

Gift Certificates –  If you’d like to give the gift of a cooking class to your favorite foodie – I’m here to make it easy – You may select any dollar amount at $65 or $75 dollar increments for your gift certificate option and I’ll put it all together for you. My gift certificates are cute and clever if I do say so myself – which make the gift giving even more fun – they come all wrapped up, personalized and tied up with a bow  the perfect gift for your favorite gourmet or gourmand! Email me at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to order or for more details.