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Local Chefs Share Recipes and Tips at Grange Fair Demos

by and on August 16, 2019 5:00 AM

After 145 years, the Centre County Grange Fair continues to keep up with the times even as it holds on to tradition. Its Celebrity Chef Farm to Table series is not only in keeping with the current “farm-to-table” and “eat local” dining trends — it is also a nod to the fair’s deep agricultural roots, as it celebrates produce, meat and dairy products from Pennsylvania farmers.

Now in its fourth year, the cooking demonstration series is offered on most days of the fair at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. at the Southside Stage. Participating chefs are asked to highlight some Pennsylvania Preferred foods, but beyond that, there not many hard and fast rules, according to Kris McCloskey, Grange Fair entertainment committee chair.

“It’s kind of like a cooking class, but really laid back. People can come and learn things like how to use an abundance of something in their garden, or this year we have a chef who is going to come and talk about underused cuts of meat,” McCloskey said. “Some of the chefs will do one recipe, some will do two, some three. … It’s a very relaxed kind of atmosphere. The chefs talk to the crowd, and the crowd can ask questions. It’s fun.”

At each hour-long session, audience members will receive copies of the chef’s recipes to follow as the chefs do their demos, McCloskey said. Some food will be available to sample. Spectators will be given some free Pennsylvania Preferred merchandise and can be entered in drawings to win grocery and restaurant gift cards.

This year’s line-up includes chefs from previous years as well as some newcomers to the Southside Stage, McCloskey said.

“We try to mix it up. We invite a couple new chefs so it’s a fresh feel every year,” she said. “Some of them have been doing it for several years and are old pros at it now — they know how to make the crowd laugh and feel comfortable being there.”

McCloskey said each segment draws about 100 people, and visitors to the Grange Fair have come to embrace the event.

“It’s been really well received; we have a lot of fair goers who really look forward to it,” she said. Chefs appearing this year include Heather McCloskey from Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center; Zach Lorber from State College Area High School Career and Technical Center; Harrison Schailey from Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering; Jeremiah McClenahan from Fasta & Ravioli Co.; Mike Benjamin from Benjamin’s Catering; Shane Orndorf from Shy Bear Brewing; and Kirsch McMaster from Rising Spring Meat Company.

2019 CELEBRITY CHEF FARM TO TABLE SERIES SCHEDULE:

• Friday, Aug. 16 — 10 a.m. — Heather McCloskey from Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center;

• Saturday, Aug. 17 – 10 a.m. — Zach Lorber from State College Area High School Career and Technical Center;

• Monday, Aug. 19 — 1 p.m. — Harrison Schailey from Harrison’s Wine Grill & Catering;

• Tuesday, Aug. 20 — 1 p.m. — Jeremiah McClenahan from Fasta & Ravioli Co.;

• Wednesday, Aug. 21 — 1 p.m. —Mike Benjamin from Benjamin’s Catering;

• Friday, Aug. 23. — 10 a.m. — Shane Orndorf from Shy Bear Brewing;

• Saturday, Aug. 24 — 10 a.m. — Kirsch McMaster from Rising Spring Meat Company.



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Karen Walker
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