With more space and now unlimited tickets, Indiana’s Cookin’ will present “Pasta La Vista, Baby!” in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex arena on March 26.
The annual cooking show benefits the Indiana County Community Action Program and is presented by The Indiana Gazette, with Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Culinary Academy and Department of Food and Nutrition.
“Where else can you go for $7 and get an evening packed with entertainment, a chance to sample delicious food and win great prizes (while knowing) you’re doing good for your community just by being there?” said Debbie Palmer, the Gazette’s marketing director.
“Every ticket we sell helps the food pantry assist one more family for an entire month.”
The show begins at 6:30 p.m. with Albert Wutch, executive chef of the Culinary Academy, leading a team of chefs through demonstrations making pastas and sauces from scratch to create multiple dishes.
The second half of the show features Diane Wagoner of the Department of Food and Nutrition presenting recipes and shortcuts for busy lifestyles.
There are two new contests this year: “There’s Always Room for Dessert” and “Pasta-bilities.”
Laurie Kuzneski of Miss Laurie’s Gourmet Kitchen and a panel of judges will determine the dessert contest winners. To enter, submit a dessert recipe on an 8ﾽ- by 11-inch piece of paper to The Indiana Gazette office by 5 p.m. March 13. Include your name, address, email address and daytime phone number.
Finalists will prepare their dessert and bring it to the contest table by 5 p.m. March 26. The winner will be announced during the second half of the show. Professional bakers are not eligible.
For “Pasta-bilities,” contestants create sculptures out of dry pasta. Entries will be displayed at the show, and entries will be judged by guests, who will pay $1 to cast four votes. Proceeds benefit ICCAP. Entries must be registered by March 20 by calling (724)465-5555, ext. 297, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Contestants must be 16 or older.
Palmer said that, thanks to corporate sponsors, the event will be held inside the arena this year. It sold out the previous two years at smaller locations.
Lentz Kitchen and Bath has been a longtime corporate sponsor; new this year are Environmental Services Laboratories Inc. and Indiana Regional Medical Center.
Doors will open at 5 p.m. There will be many vendors, prize drawings, free food samples and a winner-gets-all grand raffle table.
And once again, the IUP Greek community is partnering with Valeski’s, Saltsburg Shop ’n Save, Merciks Homer City BiLo and Tate’s to collect money for Candemonium. This year’s sculpture display will take on a new twist, which will be unveiled at the show.
“Every year we think we’ve nailed our ‘recipe’ for the show,” Palmer said. “And then we come up with just one more thing we can try to make it better.”
Many of the ideas come from comment cards, she said. “There hasn’t been a single year where we haven’t incorporated many of those suggestions into the next show.”
This is the 37th Indiana’s Cookin’ show, and the fifth year that it has benefited ICCAP’s food pantry. The show has raised more than $20,000 and 10 tons of food for the organization since 2008.
Tickets are $7 and are available at the Gazette office, the KCAC box office, Indiana Vac, Lucy Rae Gifts, Valeski’s, Tate’s in Clymer and Saltsburg Shop ’n Save.