Food Demo Tips

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Food Demo Tips
These are excerpted from our new MyPlate Cooking Demo Kit.
Practice.
• Confidence is the KEY to success in any cooking demonstration.
• Practice the recipe on your family several times before going on stage with it.
Bring examples.
• Choose packaged foods that are high in sodium and fat. This helps clients see how label reading and cooking are important for their health. It also entertains them while things are cooking.
Provide handouts.
• Give your audience handouts with recipes, cooking tips and ingredient substitutions.
• Encourage the audience to follow along and take notes while you demo the recipes.
Organization is key!
• Double check the equipment and shopping lists to make sure you will have everything you need.
• Organize your work area before you start each demo. Items you will use first should be closest to you.
• Clean as you go should be your motto.
Appearance is important.
Wear comfortable shoes and professional clothing. Here are a few tips and reminders:
• Black pants and a white blouse or chef's coat
• Your hair should be tied back or secured
• Makeup should be kept very light
• Only a minimum amount of jewelry
• No nail polish
• Have 2 aprons in case you spill something
• Keep towels to wipe your hands
• It helps to stand away from the counter to stay neat.
Prepare ahead.
• Prepare all recipes as far ahead as possible.
• Chop all vegetables, measure all ingredients, cook pasta, etc.
• Some dishes that take a long time to cook should be made in advance for tasting purposes and then show them how to assemble with a 2nd set of ingredients.
• An audience becomes very bored if they have to watch  you measure everything.
• This strategy can also come in handy when you are limited on cooking equipment. If you want to make a pie but don't have an oven, you can bake one ahead of time and just show them how to assemble it in class.
Find a helper.
• Have an assistant to help monitor the microwave and stove so you can concentrate on your presentation and questions.
Involve your audience.
• Ask for volunteers to come up and help you with various steps. Make them wash their hands before they start.
• This adds a lot of fun and interest to your demo and people appreciate being included in the cooking process.
Show a finished dish.
• Give great presentation tips such as sprinkling with chopped herbs or parmesan and using colors of veggies and fruits.
Encourage questions at the end.
• Take questions at the end while your assistant is dishing up samples. This helps keep your demo moving and prevents you from becoming distracted while trying to cook.
Be food safe.
• Follow food safety standards - keep hot food hot, cold food cold and don’t cross contaminate. When in doubt, throw it out. (see fsis.usda.gov)

By Judy Doherty, PC II

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