MetroCooking DC hosts a weekend of learning, tasting and shopping with artisan food purveyors and acclaimed chefs.
Crowds from near and far descended on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for two days in early December to sample food and drink from 180 vendors, watch cooking demos, partake in culinary classes and holiday shop at the annual MetroCooking DC showcase. The record-setting event saw a 20 percent increase in attendance from 2017, with more than 12,000 visitors taking cover from the rain to enjoy the dynamic, food-centric programming.
New Orleans celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse headlined the weekend, whipping up steak Diane for a live audience on the James Beard Stage before meeting with fans for an exclusive happy hour and Q&A session with Tommy McFly, where he dished about hitting the town with José Andrés the night before. Legendary French chef Jacques Pépin also took to the stage to make chicken jardinière and cauliflower polonaise alongside his daughter Claudine. Other notable culinary talent included Scott Drewno, Erik Bruner-Yang and Amy Brandwein. At Saturday’s BBQ Bash pit masters from as far as Georgia threw down smoked brisket, ribs and pulled pork. Lefty’s Barbecue Unlimited, hailing from Waldorf, Md., took home a well-deserved first place ribbon for their BBQ chicken.
The Grand Tasting on Sunday featured a similarly formatted crowd-sourced competition where 50 local restaurants put their best dishes forward. Circa ended up a winner with its bulgogi lettuce wraps, but the lobster mac ’n’ cheese from J. Gilbert’s in McLean was our pick, followed by the chicken tikka bowl from fast-casual Indian favorite RASA. In the beer and spirits tent, we crushed on Código 1530’s rosa tequila, Ommegang Brewery’s Belgian brewed Rosetta beer and Eden’s Vermont Ice Cider.
At “Cocktail to Success: Building a Successful Empire,” a Taste Talk moderated by WL editors, Skinny Girl founder and “Real Housewives of New York” star Bethenny Frankel shared tips for growing a business with a standing-room-only crowd. She encouraged entrepreneurs to be confident– “Never assume anyone is smarter than you.”
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