Food and Beverage Expo Oct. 29

    by Sue Heistand
    Posted on 10/19/2011


The Iowa Central Community College Culinary Arts’ students, along with Chef Michael Hirst, Chef Cory Dawson, and Master Baker Tom Pritchard will host the Third Annual Central Iowa Holiday Food and Beverage Expo on Saturday, October 29th from 11AM – 4PM in the Career Education Building Gymnasium on the Fort Dodge campus.  Each year several different vendors have set up and varied activities have taken place throughout the day. This year a culinary competition among our local area high schools is planned with scholarships available for the winning team/s.

The Central Iowa Food and Beverage Expo started three years ago as a way to showcase Iowa’s food and beverage industry, and has been attended by well over 2,000 people since its inception.  The idea was to allow food and beverage establishments to set up a booth at no cost to the vendor and allow attendees to sample some of their products.  The time of year was chosen so that the businesses could take orders for the holiday season.  Students in the Culinary program sell tickets to earn their way to Chicago to attend one of the largest culinary extravaganzas in the country.  All net proceeds from the ticket sales go directly back into the program for that trip.        

The culinary arts program opened its doors in 2007 when Chef Michael Hirst decided to cross the Atlantic and settle in Iowa with 25 years of experience in the culinary and restaurant business.  Chef Michael brings an international flair and expertise to the students, along with his experience with Royalty, Hollywood film stars, Presidents, and many sporting legends. Iowa Central started with a mere 8 students in the first year of the program and has grown to 80 students at the start of its fifth year this fall. 

Because of the exponential growth, Chef Cory Dawson, who graduated from DMACC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in 2000, was hired in 2010 to teach and assist with the program at Iowa Central.  Cory brings 17 years of culinary experience to the table.

Master Baker Tom Pritchard started sharing his passion for baking with Iowa Central students in the spring of 2008.  He has over 40 years of baking experience in the industry, acquiring his Master Baker status in 1992. Master Baker Pritchard worked at two of Fort Dodge’s largest grocery stores, Randalls for 30 years and Hy-Vee for 11 years.  He was honored by the Upper Midwest Bakery Association by being inducted into the Baker’s Hall of Fame.

Ticket sales are going on right now.  If you want to be a vendor at the expo or to purchase tickets to attend the event, contact Sue Heistand at 515-574-1292 or 1-800-362-3793, ext. 1292.  Tickets are $10/person with children 12 and under attending free.