Food expo taking place this weekend at local mall

Matt Liasse and Matt Liasse

During the Northwest Ohio Foodways Expo this weekend, more than 40 different food-related businesses and specialists will offer their expertise to the public.

The event is being held in hopes of offering an “up close and personal demonstration” on various food-related topics, according to Wendy Stram, from the Bowling Green Ohio Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The expo is hosted every two years, after being started in 2007. It’s usually a one-day event consisting of different demonstrations and activities, but due to an “overwhelming response”, a convention aspect was added to the event, making it a two-day expo. When holding the expo both in 2007 and 2008, the turnout consisted of thousands of attendees.

“It’s always a gamble when trying something new,” Stram said, who added she was excited the additions to the event this year will be a stepping stone for the community.

Saturday is the culinary aspect of the expo and includes different demonstrations from three different specialists.

The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” judge Mario Rizzotti will be presenting some of his culinary specialties in a demonstration called “Are You An Olive Oil Expert?”

Friend of Rizzotti and local owner of Stadium Salsa Greg Shepherd will share his demonstration “Cooking Everyday Meals With Stadium Salsa” and University Senior Executive Chef Pat Hannan will be showcasing “Extraordinary Seafood From Your Own Kitchen.”

Lunch Saturday will be provided by University Dining Services.

Saturday’s events will be offered to registered visitors; open enrollment is offered until 4 p.m. today. There is a special student rate of $30 for the Saturday event (the cost is $49 for non-students), and people are able to register by calling (419)372-8181. Saturday’s events will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday’s events will run from noon to 5 p.m. and will be more of a “full-blown” event, according to Stram. The events will feature more demonstrations from the local and celebrity chefs, and more than 40 restaurants and vendors offering sample food crafts to children. It will be open to the public for $2 in cash, and children 12 and under are free.

Both days will be held in the Expo Center at the Woodland Mall, formerly known as Steve And Berry’s. The mall will still be open during this convention over the weekend. The convention is directed in hopes to achieve the bureau’s mission, “to attract visiting patrons generating economic benefits for the community.”

If any more information is requested, Stram asks people to call 800-866-0046.