Last month, I had the opportunity to attend MetroCooking DC for my third year! MetroCooking DC is a two day cooking and entertaining show held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This huge foodie event has something for everyone from celebrity and James Beard award winning chefs to cooking lessons, tastings from local restaurants, demonstrations, vendors, book signings, and so much more. Here are my previous posts covering MetroCooking DC: 2014 Part 1 and Part 2, 2015 Part 1 and Part 2.
Disclaimer: I received free entry to MetroCooking DC in exchange for coverage. All comments and opinions are my own. There are also affiliate links in this post.
Throughout the day, there were cooking demonstrations from James Beard Award winning/nominated chefs and Taste Talks featuring a variety of food-related topics.
The cooking demonstrations were one of the highlights for me. MetroCooking DC changed things up a bit this year. In my previous two years, the celebrity cooking demonstrations were separated to a specialty section and required an additional entry fee. This year, they were mixed right into the other demonstrations so no separate ticket necessary. VIP events were still available for purchase with book signings and meet and greets. These also include reserved seats in the first two rows for the corresponding demonstration.
Victor Albisu was the first chef of the day. Albisu has two restaurants in the D.C. area- Del Campo, an upscale South American grill in D.C.’s Penn Quarter, and Taco Bamba, a takeout taqueria in Falls Church, Virginia. He made Ceviche and Rolled Wagyu Skirt Steak. He also used the scraps from the steak to make Empanadas.
Tom Colicchio was the first celebrity chef of the day and prepared Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic, Pan-Fried Sea Bass Stuffed with Roasted Tomatoes, and Caramelized Tomato Tarts. Colicchio was born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ. He is the head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. His cookbook, Think Like a Chef, won The James Beard Foundation “KitchenAid” Cookbook Award in May 2001 and his restaurant, Craft, received The James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2002.
Richard Sandoval was supposed to be the next demo, but unfortunately he was unavailable. Two of his chefs made Mahi Mahi A La Talla. He has restaurants all over the world from El Centro DF, Masa 14, Toro Toro, and Zengo in Washington, D.C. to others throughout the US and in Qatar, Tokyo, Serbia, Dubai, and Mexico.
The second celebrity chef demo of the day was by Duff Goldman. He is the founder of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Maryland and also has a second shop in LA. For the demo, he made pita bread- a recipe featured in his newest book, Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home.
Peter Chang was the next chef. He made Sliced Chicken with Szechuan Chili Peppers on Hot Iron Plate and Hot & Numbing Shredded Tofu Skin. I particularly appreciated how much detail he put into the techniques of handing lesser known ingredients like tofu skin.. Chang was born in the Hubei Province in China and moved to Washington, DC in 2000 to work as a chef at the Chinese Embassy. He specializes in Szechuan cuisine now has restaurants throughout Virginia and Maryland.
The last demo of the day was by Scott Drewno, the execute chef of Wolfgang Puck’s The Source in Washington DC. He made Shrimp Wontons and Hot & Sour Pumpkin Soup.
For a separate entry fee, the Beer, Wine & Spirits Garden was open both days from 12-4. This section featured samples from a variety of breweries, wineries and distilleries, many local (Knob Hall Winery, Notavina Vineyards, Lolea, Starr Hill Brewery, KO Distilling, Virginia Distillery Co, Catoctin Creek, Dogfish Head Distilling Co, and Escutcheon Brewing Co photographed above). There were also demos by Notaviva Vineyards and Dogfish Head along with book signings by Stephen Mackey and Sam Calagiones.
Next door to the Beer, Wine & Spirits Garden was the BBQ Bash from 12-4. This was the second year of the event featuring tastings from some of the top local BBQ. The bash also included cooking demos by David Guas and Diva Q. Twenty booths were set up and the following are from the photo above: Beef Tri-Tip from Hog-It-Up with a Korean-style Marinade on Petite Potato Slider Buns topped with Elijah Craig Bourbon Onion Jam and Savory Black Pepper Sauce accompanied by Tennessee Dill Whisky Pickles. Smoke Stack’s House of BBQ served up Beef Brisket and Ribs with Rub and Sauce. My favorite was from Bayou Bakery with a BBQ Pork and Buttermilk Biscuit. Relish This made Zucchini Relish. I also enjoyed the Pit Smoked Brisket with Cucumber & Onion Salad from Hill Country Barbecue Market, Ribs from Randy’s Ribs & Barbecue, and Chicken Thigh Samples from Dizzy Pig.
Other special events of the day included a Tom Colicchio Meet and Greet/Book Signing, Duff Goldman Tasting Event/Book Signing, Carla Hall Book Signing, and L’academie De Cuisine Pop-Up Cooking School classes.
In between the demos and other events, I made my way around the main section to see the vendors. Here are just a few of the dozens featuring a variety of local/small-business products.
Falling Bark Farm is owned by Travis and Joyce Miller in Clarke County, Virginia. They feature hickory syrup, honey, coffee, and vanilla extract.
Pennacook Peppers is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The company began in 2011 with the signature Pennacook Purely Pepper Powder that uses a complex mix of peppers with various levels of heat. They also sell an assortment of Porch Party Salsas and Pepper Jelly.
Mary’s Cakery and Candy Kitchen is located in King George, Virginia. They offer a variety of sweet treats from shaped and themed chocolates to rich fudge and other confections.
Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Their popcorn comes in an assortment of flavors including Recipe 53 Caramel, Chocolate Drizzle, Peppermint Crunch, Funfetti, Cinnamon Toast, Caribbean Key Lime, and Mango Tango.
Aaron’s Gift is located in Springfield, Virginia. They feature 14 pie flavors including the Signature Sweet Potato Pie, Apple Pecan Caramel, Peach, Lemon, Cherry, French Apple, and Keylime.
Olivewood Artforms is a family business founded in 2013 and based in Middletown, Delaware. They feature fine hand-crafted creations from olive wood and select hard woods.
Nathan Miller Chocolate was created by Nathan Miller in 2010. Each bar is made and wrapped by hand with a variety of flavors including dark mint, everything, gingerbread, rum raisin milk chocolate, and strawberry rye whiskey buttermilk. The Factory + Coffee House is located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and you can find their products here.
Mixology Marmalades was founded in 2013 in Ohio. They feature alcohol-infused jellies in many flavors like Raspberry Riesling, Pumpkin Bourbon Butter, Hoppin Hawaiian, and American Ale.
Tsiona Gourmet Ethiopian Foods is based in Rockville, Maryland. Products include Injera Crisps, Dips, and Stews.
D Grater features gourmet Spanish Garlic Grater Plates. These rough surfaced plates can be used to grate garlic into a spreadable paste and also work with cheese, ginger, breadcrumbs, zest, and more.
Taste Artisanal Market is based in Newark, Delaware. They feature a variety of flavorful cheese spreads, honeys, and chutneys.
Baily Tea USA offers a wide range of the highest quality tea from Ceylon that is hand harvested to prevent the addition of other ingredients like twigs. They are in Gaithersburg, Maryland and feature their tea at locations throughout the DC/Maryland/Virginia area.
Peruvian Chocolate Orquidea Chocolate Bars are made with some of the world’s highest quality organic cocoa beans. Flavors include Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, Quinoa, Coconut, and Kiwicha.
Miso Master Organic Miso is the first American company to make miso using traditional techniques. The company is based in the mountains of western North Carolina and flavors include brown rice, red, sweet white, country barley, white, and chickpea.
The family of Cavedoni Balsamic has been producing premium traditional balsamic vinegars for seven generations in Castelvetro, near Modena, Italy. Best sellers include the Botte Piccola, Il Caratello, Gusto Tartufo Balsamic Condiment, and SABA Balsamic Condiment.
The Straw Stick & Brick Delicatessen is located in Washington, D.C. Their products (a variety of cured meats and sandwiches) are handcrafted and butchered using locally sourced meat and without unnecessary chemicals used to prolong shelf-life.
Mr. Bake, Karem Queeman, first became passionate about baking during middle school after enrolling in a few cooking classes. He now bakes wedding cakes, celebration cakes, and cupcakes in Hystville, Maryland. Popular flavors include vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin, humming bird, carrot, marble, and red velvet with many more for the cupcakes.
Mitra’s bath and body products use unrefined Shea Butter as the base and no parabens, petrochemicals or preservatives. Products include body butter, sugar scrubs, bath bombs and body oil, lip care and facial care, African black soap, net body scrubbers, and hair care.
Capital City Mambo Sauce was founded by husband and wife team Arsha and Charles Jones to keep the flavors of Arsha’s childhood alive for her children. This sweet and tangy sauce for chicken wings is specific to the metropolitan DC area. You can purchase Capital City Mambo Sauce here.
Le Bon Magot features products developed from internationally-inspired recipes using natural ingredients, high-quality and seasonal produce, custom-blended aromatics and no preservatives. Flavors include Brinjal Caponata, Tomato and White Sultana Chutney, White Pumpkin and Almond Murabba, Lemon-Sultana Marmalata, and Spiced Raisin Marmalata. Retail locations range from Pennsylvania to New York.
Inspired Cravings is located in Washington, D.C. and uses the proceeds of their cupcakes to fund Youth Empowerment Workshops and Scholarships. Cupcake flavors include Courage, Dream, Love, Passion, Peace, Self-Esteem, Strength, and Trust.
Interested in attending MetroCooking DC? The dates for this year are December 9-10, 2017.