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— The Siloam Springs Herald-Leader and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will present a Taste of Home Cooking School in Siloam Springs on Nov. 14. The event is co-sponsored by Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital.

The announcement marks the return of Taste of Home to Siloam Springs after an absence of seven years. The last Taste of Home Cooking School in Siloam Springs took place in 2002.

"We're really happy to be bringing this event back to Siloam Springs," Herald-Leader publisher John Dilmore said. "It was popular in the past, and moving forward, we think it can become a signature event for our community, as well as other communities in western Benton County and eastern Oklahoma.

"Taste of Home puts on cooking schools elsewhere in the region, but now our area once again has a show of its own."

The goal is to make the Siloam Springs Taste of Home Cooking School an annual event, Dilmore said. Tickets for the 2009 Siloam Springs show will be $10, and will go on sale in mid-October. They will be available exclusively at the Herald-Leader office at 101 N. Mt. Olive in Siloam Springs.

More details will be announced in the Herald-Leader in the coming weeks.

The event will be held at the Burton Elliott Fine Arts Center at Siloam Springs High School. A vendor area will open at 5 p.m., with the cooking school itself beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Taste of Home's Jamie Dunn will serve as home economist for the show. Chef and author Katie Lee will also be on hand.

Kevin Clement, CEO of Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital, was enthusiastic about the hospital's co-sponsorship of the show.

"Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital is excited to be a part of this upcoming special event," Clement said, "and will continue to be involved in this and other community events that are held in our area."

Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce President Wayne Mays and KFSM anchor Ashley Beck will emcee the Siloam Springs show. Mays, a veteran emcee of numerous Taste of Home Cooking Schools, has had plenty of opportunity to hone his craft.

"Just as Bear Bryant played in the first football game he ever saw, I emceed thefirst cooking school I ever attended," Mays said. "I'd like to think that I've improved some since that first weak effort.

I try to have fun and engage in some light banter with the cooking professional. Jamie and I have shared some humorous moments in the past couple of years."

The Chamber of Commerce is also a sponsor of the event.

"Our chamber support for this event is easily understood: We see the opportunity to bring over 600 enthusiastic participants into town from the market area we serve and beyond," Mays said. "We want them to enjoy themselves and think of Siloam Springs as a place where they were welcomed and would want to return to - for shopping, high school and college sports events, picnics in our parks, maybe even skydiving.

"I am sure they will be amazed by the number of nice door prizes donated by sponsors and local merchants."

During the show, Herald-Leader staff will present a check for $1,000 to the Siloam Springs High School Marching Band.

A press release from Taste of Home provided a snapshot of what's planned for this and other fall shows:

"Where can you learn a new chocolate recipe, master your mom's manicotti, and experience cooking in an entirely new way? At a Taste of Home Cooking School show, of course! Each event is a culinary encounter like no other," the release stated

"Our Taste of Home Cooking School events are engaging, informative, and fun. At each show, a professionally trained Culinary Specialist demonstrates a variety of recipes, tips, and techniques.

This season, we are presenting "Fall Comfort Classics." Mouth-watering dishes like "Flank Steak Santa Fe" and "Smoked Salmon and Chives Cheesecake" will be prepared. In addition to learning several new recipes, every Cooking School attendee receives a gift bag filled with free products, coupons, and magazines. Valuable door prizes are awarded throughout the show.

"As the world's largest cooking magazine, Taste of Home understands that every individual is looking for something different when it comes to cooking.

Whether you are just getting started with cooking or you are looking to refine your cooking skills and expand your recipe collection, Taste of Home Cooking School events have something for everyone!"

News, Pages 8 on 09/30/2009

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