1. Bore them with measurements. No one wants to watch you measure out everything while you cook.
Solution: Premeasure everything in neat little cups and bowls. This keeps the work space clean and organized and it helps you go faster.
2. Use very fancy equipment. Remember you want to make it fun and easy. Solution: Use the equipment your attendees are likely to have at home. Of course it is good to offer tips for easy items like rice cookers, nonstick skillets and toaster ovens. But avoid the most expensive copper bowl or pots and pans from an expensive store.
3. Kill yourself preparing everything in advance. Solution: A great way to save time and energy is to have attendees wash their hands, don aprons and help you chop and cook. It keeps the demo interesting, relevant and moving. As one of our customers just said yesterday - it is all about them. If it looks fun and easy, everyone will want to try it.
4. Hide the ingredients. Yes, we did tell you to premeasure. Solution: But you do want to save and show all ingredients. Talk about the garlic powder that has parsley but no salt. Show them the canned tomatoes that are diced and ready to go without salt.
5. Forget the presentation. A grand finale, before allowing everyone to taste your items, is to make a beautiful presentation on a large oversized platter. Solution: Use a large white plate. We love white plates - everything looks more professional on white. Don't be afraid to mix and match plates - we have a huge stack of "orphans" in our kitchen of all sorts of white china that is fun to serve upon. We are always shopping and looking for china for presentations.
And here are a few tips more to keep your demo smooth -
- Practice, practice, practice. Make your demo item a few times for dinner yourself.
- Smile and have fun along the way - pretend that you are cooking for a best friend.
- Have handouts with recipes they can refer to along the way so they are not worried about writing down the recipe - and they can take notes to help them learn your valuable tips. Make sure you put your name and email/website address so they can contact you afterwards for more info.
- Break the ice. Yesterday we got a call from a long time subscriber. She is going to start her demo by removing all of the prepared foods from a virtual pantry onstage. And she is going to explain how one of her valued clients did exactly that - he pitched the canned/boxed goods in his kitchen and he and his wife each lost almost 20 pounds by following the DASH diet, cooking all meals and using fruits and vegetables front and center. He became her client because he was concerned about their health when his 36 year old brother suddenly passed away from a stroke. It is always great to use a testimonial or ice breaker story in the beginning.
Here is a favorite recipe from our library - it uses tilapia which is an inexpensive fish (you could also use chicken) and the baked salsa brings more flavor, more vegetables and less salt.
16 ounces tilapia fillets
2 cups chopped tomato
1 lime, juice only
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2- teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Preheat oven broiler.
Place fish in baking dish and top with tomato, lime juice, green onion and jalapeno.
Broil until fish is done, about 10 minutes.
Serve fish hot with baked salsa spooned over the top and garnish with chopped cilantro (or parsley).
Serves 4. Each serving: 130 calories, 3.2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 59 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 19 g protein.
PS - need a great portable kitchen - check these guys out - they were at FNCE
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.