Barna to deliver delicious dishes at Taste of Home show
On Saturday, May 5, the Taste of Home Cooking Show will return to the Hamburg Fairgrounds Event Center. Participants will tour the trade show, which will feature the latest culinary gadgets, cook books, food and wine samples and more.
Culinary Specialist Michael Barna will take the stage at 4 p.m. to give a two-and-one-half hour cooking demonstration, where he will teach the audience valuable tips and tricks of the trade that can be accomplished in a home kitchen. Barna promises a high-energy, entertaining atmosphere.
“I guarantee everyone is going to have fun,” said Barna, who likes to keep the crowd laughing with his jokes and anecdotes.
He will demonstrate 10 recipes, ranging from appetizers, entrees and desserts. Finished products will be sent home, along with the pan or dish they were made in, as door prizes for select audience members.
Though Barna loves his profession, he said that it is far from easy.
“Being a chef is one of the toughest jobs in the world,” he said, adding that most chefs have to work 80 to 100 hours per week.
Barna received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Highlights from his stellar career include opening three gourmet casino restaurants and working as executive sous chef at a Five-Diamond, Four-Star hotel.
Yet despite all that Barna has accomplished, he said he believes his position as a culinary specialist for the Taste of Home Cooking School is “the job of a lifetime.”
“Who would have thought that this far into my career, a job like this would come up?” questioned Barna.
A seasoned chef, Barna said that teaching in front of a live audience is a completely different experience.
“At least on television, if you mess up, you retape it,” he said.
Barna recalled the first time he taught the Taste of Home Cooking School at the Hamburg Fairgrounds.
As he was setting up the stage for the event, Barna said he remembered “looking out and there was 1,800 white chairs staring at me.” Still, the anticipation of a large audience did not shake Barna, who said he never experiences stage fright.
Rather, Barna thrives on the audience. He is proud of his ability to not only teach participants valuable skills, but to provide many smiles and entertainment while doing so.
“You are as masterful with the audience as you are with your craft,” wrote a past audience member on Barna’s blog.
“Your hints were useful and realistic....thanks for all of the laughter,” read a comment from a participant from Barna’s recent show in Corning.
While the constant travel may wear on others, Barna enjoys life on the road.
“Every town I go to, I look for the ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ types of places, said Barna, referencing a Food Network show that finds small-town restaurants with character and tasty menu options.
When staying in the Hamburg area, Barna said he always enjoys a good “Beef on Weck.”
“I love being on stage, entertaining and sharing my love of cooking, and bringing the family back to the dinner table,” Barna said. He plans on working as a culinary specialist for Taste of Home for a long time.
“This is a dream job, and I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
Tickets for the Taste of Home are $45 for VIP reserved seating, which includes a Taste of Home cookbook and a backstage tour with Barna; $25 for reserved seating and $15 for general admission pre-sale. Tickets cost $20 at the door. The trade show is free to attend.
To purchase general tickets, visit Metro and Pennysaver offices, including The Sun office at 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg. Tickets may also be purchased at tickets.com or at the Hamburg Fairgrounds Event Center.