Last month, I spent a weekend attending MetroCooking DC 2017! This was my fourth year and I’m so glad I had the opportunity again before our upcoming move. 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 is packed with celebrity and James Beard award winning chefs, cooking lessons, tastings from local restaurants, demonstrations, vendors, book signings, and so much more. Check out my previous posts covering MetroCooking DC here: 2014 (Part 1 and 2), 2015 (Part 1 and 2), 2016 (Part 1 and 2), and 2017 (Part 1).
Disclosure: I received free entry to MetroCooking DC in exchange for coverage. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
James Beard Cooking Stage
Guillermo Pernot was the first demo of the day on the James Beard Foundation Cooking Stage. He is the chef/partner for Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar and two-time James Beard Award winner (Best Chef Mid-Atlantic Region and Best Single Subject Cookbook). He made a variety of empanadas.
I have been a longtime fan of José Andrés and it was so incredible to see him cook in person. Awarded “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People,” José Andrés is chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup, creator of World Central Kitchen, and cookbook author of Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America and Made in Spain. He made Salt-Baked Fish and Pan con Tomate with the help of a younger assistant.
Gavin Kaysen was the final demonstrator for the day. Based in Minneapolis, Gavin Kaysen is the chef/owner of Spoon and Stable and Bellecour Restaurant. He prepared Beef Sliders with Melted Président Triple Crème Brie & Sautéed Peppers and Peanut Butter Cookies Stuffed with Honey Buttercream.
Other chefs included Amy Brandwein and Vikram Sunderam.
Taste Talks were scheduled throughout the day. Shaun O’Neale, DJ, chef, author, and winner of MasterChef, talked about Bone Marrow & Other Value Cuts with a book signing to follow.
Russell Smith, executive chef of The Source by Wolfgang Puck, discussed How to Host Your Own Potsticker Party. Other presenters of the day included Demetrio Zavala, Gavin Kaysen, and George Pagonis.
Grand Tasting Pavilion
The Grand Tasting Pavilion has been one of the highlights of MetroCooking DC for me each year. Over 40 restaurants participated with sips and samples benefiting SOME (So Others Might Eat)– an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital.
Here are a few of the many restaurants represented:
Yufka Bakery (Washington DC)– Roasted Potato, Leek and Black Pepper Pastries with Truffle Cream and Spicy Tomato Sauce
The Wine Kitchen (Leesburg, Virginia)– Pastrami Spiced Deviled Eggs with Rye Crisp
701 Restaurant (Washington DC)– Foie Gras Parfait with Pickle, Anise, and Cocoa Nib
Talia’s Cuzina (Kensington, Maryland)– Greek Taco (Shredded pork with tzatziki, fresh dill, and red onions)
Circa (Arlington, Virginia and Washington D.C.)– Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps
Dolci Gelati (Washington DC; Takoma Park, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia)– Gelato (Chocolate, Stracciatella, Gingerbread Cookie) and Sorbetto (Cranberry Orange, Mango)
In between the demos and other events, I made my way around the main section to see the vendors. Here are just a few featuring a variety of local/small-business products ranging from chocolates, desserts, and spices to cookies, cheese, sauces, and more.
Śasya is based in Washington, DC. They feature four types of spreads (Spicy Cilantro, Smoky Eggplant, Crunchy Peanut-Coconut, and Tangy Mango-Lentil) along with three Rice Lentil Chip flavors (Original, with Sea Salt, and with Spinach).
Bumbleberry Farms is a small operation located in the foothills of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountains. I especially love their honey creams (Lover’s Leap Sea Salt Caramel, Molten Lava Spiced Chocolate, Squirrel Crazy Maple, and Sticky Buns Cinnamon).
Pure Batch was co-founded by a mother-daughter team (Mama Millin and Angela) in 2015. Products include brownies, cookies, truffles, and chia seed puddings. Everything is created in a gluten-free, peanut-free production facility.
Ole Man’s Spice Rub and Seasoning is based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Joe and his family spent 50 years getting their dry rub recipe just right. Flavors include original, Bloody Mary mix, TNT, special diet blend, and Mediterranean in a variety of sizes.
Godshall’s Quality Meats is located in Telford and Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Products include Artisan Butcher Turkey Bites, Snack Sticks, All Natural Turkey Breast, Turkey/Beef/Chicken Bacon, and Turkey Scrabble.
La Colombe was founded by Todd Carmichael and JP Iberti and their cafes/products are now found across the United States. Products include a variety of coffee, tea, draft latte, and other drinks/equipment.
Anita’s Biscotti is based in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. Biscotti varieties include Asian Pear, Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel, Birthday Cake, Cinnamon Raisin, Iced Coffee, Maple Bacon, Neapolitan, Triple Chocolate, and more.
Awarded as one of Southern Living’s 2017 Best Southern Made Products, Holmsted Fines features a variety of chutneys such as Apple Jalapeño, Peach, and Balsamic Red Onion. I plan on using the Green Tomato Chutney soon to update my Braaibroodjie (South African Barbeque Sandwich) recipe!
Shenandoah Spice Company, based in Toms Brook, Virginia, had such a wonderfully flavorful and colorful assortment of spices to choose from. Notable items include Blackening Bayou Blend, Carnitas Rub, Dill Yogurt Dip, Curry BBQ Blend, Kitchen Pepper, Mulling Spice, Spicy Adobo, and Wild Game Seasoning. I especially look forward to trying the Espresso BBQ Rub.
Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets is located in Lorton, Virginia. Owner, Erinn Roth, serves all desserts tiny and delicious across DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
BUF Creamery, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, features the only certified USDA organic water buffalo mozzarella on the continent. Their herds of 1,500 water buffalo are located on multiple farms in the area. Products include mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, and Andean yogurt.
Carolina’s Choice Foods is led by Doris Johnson. She has been in the food business as a restaurateur and caterer for over 25 years and features fresh, meatless seasoned collard greens.
Betsy’s Best, founded by Betsy Opyt, features a variety of gourmet nut and seed butters. Products include almond, cashew, peanut, and sunflower seed butter.
Doc’s Tea, located in Inwood, West Virginia, features handcrafted teas made in small batches using premium ingredients. Their products are gluten-free and certified kosher. Flavors include Island Coconut, Lemongrass, Mango, Apple Cinnamon, and more.
Cypress Grove was founded by Mary Keehn and she specializes in chèvre (soft-ripened, aged, and fresh goat cheese). The creamery is in Arcata, California, but their cheese can be found in stores throughout the United States.
The General’s Hot Sauce, a veteran-owned Louisiana-based company, produces all-natural hot sauces made with almost 90% cayenne peppers. Flavors include Dead Red, Marine Green, and the new Shock & Awe (made with Louisiana grown orange habaneros).
Dutch Country Soft Pretzels has been a Lancaster County favorite for over 25 years. Located in New Holland, Pennsylvania, they make soft pretzels, dipping mustard, and soft pretzel mix.
METROCOOKING DC 2018
Interested in attending MetroCooking DC? The dates for this year are December 1-2, 2018.