The Sun-Gazette will kickoff the holiday season with the seventh annual Taste of Home Cooking Show, featuring Chef Michael Barna.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., with a vendor preview beginning at 3 p.m. at the Genetti Hotel.
Tobias said the Sun-Gazette usually hosts a holiday-themed show and this year she was looking to try something different and fun with the Halloween-themed event.
Those who dress in a Halloween costume will receive a chance to win a special prize and the six best costumes will have a chance to compete on stage for the honor of being selected as the Best Costume of the Night by the audience.
Barna said the show will feature a full 10 recipes during a 2 1/2 hour show that blends appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Barna, of Wynnewood, is known for managing kitchens in many fine restaurants. He travels through the Taste of Home School to many states such as Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania and New York.
He received an associate degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has cooked with celebrity chefs from the hit TV shows "Biggest Loser" and "Celebrity Apprentice."
When Barna decided to move to Philadelphia, he became the executive sous chef at the prestigious Rittenhouse Hotel in the exclusive Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Later, he became the executive chef for a cafe division, Dean and Deluca's Cafe Bistro, and helped manage three locations in Philadelphia.
After all of Barna's restaurant experiences, he decided to change his focus by conducting cooking school shows for Taste of Home.
Growing up, Barna said his favorite foods were Italian food and Captain Crunch cereal. Now that he has his own home, he stocks his refrigerator with tons of fresh fruit, great cheeses, olives, great condiments and dessert wine. He grew up cooking with his mother and grandmother, whose speciality was Hungarian and comfort food.
"It was all comfort food from her loving hands," he said.
Tickets are on sale at the Sun-Gazette office, 252 W. Fourth St., and may be ordered by calling 326-1551 or stopping in from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
General admission is $12 with preferred seating in the first five rows for $25 per person. Chef's VIP Circle seating, which is in the Sterling Circle and includes a meet-and-greet with the chef, are $50. Limited seating is available.
An award-winning recipe is featured below:
Apple cranberry cider
Spiced with cinnamon sticks and cloves, this warm-you-up sipper from our Test Kitchen is sure to chase away winter's chill. Serve brimming mugs of the hot beverage with your family's favorite cookies, muffin or bread.
Prep-total time: 30 min. Yield: 6 servings
4 cups apple cider or juice
2 cups cranberry juice
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
In a large saucepan, combine the cider, cranberry juice and brown sugar. Place cloves and cinnamon sticks on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to pan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. Discard spice bag.
Nutritional facts: 1 serving (1 cup) equals 166 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 23 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein.