Over the last 5 years I have gone to this special event. The first time was back in 2007 when I was invited by Intensity Academy. While Intensity Academy has not returned because of their own version now in Tampa, I have come back each and every year since. In the past I have had the opportunity to see Paula Deen, Guy Fieri and a little bit of the beautiful Giada De Laurentiis all perform on the live cooking stage at the show. To see all the celebrities above over the 2 day event, the cost is $99 for open seating. You can purchase front row tickets for example to see Giada this year and that would cost you $500. I get a media pass for the show, and I can sit in the back and take pics, but no video.
2-Day Theater Pass – Open Seating to see ALL Celebs
Open Seating. Good BOTH days. Line-up:
• Saturday: Giada De Laurentiis: 11am & 4pm. Gail Simmons & Tom Colicchio: 1:30pm
• Sunday: Jeff Mauro: 11am. Carla Hall & Michael Symon: 1:00 pm. Jacques Pepin: 3:30pm…
If you are into the celebrity cooking thing like my Mom who would love this, I think $99 is worth it. For me, I just make the trip to DC on the Saturday of the show. While free to get in the parking will still cost me $20-30 depending how long I stay for. I go to meet new spicy product companies who I might never get a chance to see at one of the Spicy Events/Festivals that I go to. There is always 1-3 new salsa companies and 1-3 new spicy products companies beyond that. Sometimes I will see familiar companies like world famous hot sauce pioneer Blair’s Sauces & Snacks Bonfatto’s Wing Sauce & Marinade & Tom’s Roid Rippin’ Hot Sauces. Always happy to see my friends again. Bonfatto’s has a new spicy ice cream product line, (Spice Cream) that I had a chance to try at the Bowers show in September and it really kicks ass. I hope someday you will get a chance to try it in a marketplace near you.
I always look through the list of vendors (CLICK HERE) before I go to see who is going this year, and to see if there is something new that catches my eye. There is one salsa company that indeed peeks my curiosity, and that would be Deception Salsa. I love the name of their salsa line – Girly Girl (No cracks about my foo-foo drinks Firehead), Entice, Tease, Insanity & I Dare You. Even after sampling 58 different salsas at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival for our huge sponsored salsa contest, the desire does not go away for a good salsa. The pics look good, and the marketing of the product only heightens that desire.
There is great story behind the company, Gator Ron’s Zesty Sauces & Mixes that I want to mention because it really touched me when I read it. Not so much the story, but something else that I will elude to after you read the background.
Gator Ron’s Zesty Sauces & Mixes is a line of unique sauces originated from recipes created by Ron Griffith. A professional salesman in telecommunications, in his spare time Ron loved to cook and was a fabulous grill master who over decades, created and perfected numerous sauces and mixes for meats, poultry, seafood, and other foods, along with recipes for healthy preparation for all of his sauces and mixes. The concept for Gator Ron’s was created in 2006 by Ron, when he began to investigate marketing his proprietary recipes, but his desire to bring his dream to fruition was halted when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive, neurological disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, in 2007.
Ron was an athletic, vibrant man who loved water and warm weather and was an avid and enthusiastic sports fan. During his illness, he shared his recipes, along with his dream, to his wife, Connie, and when he passed away in November 2011 at the age of 58, Connie established Gator Ron’s Zesty Sauces & Mixes. Connie is fulfilling Ron’s desire to provide healthy, all natural, delicious sauces, which are low in calories and contain no gluten ingredients, along with recipes for low-fat preparations, to food lovers everywhere.
Connie deserves tremendous create in picking up the dream from her husband Ron and taking it to this level. Ron passed away exactly a year ago, and here she 1 year to the month in which her husband passed away from that terrible disease. It must be weighing on her mind a great deal, and I know nearly now 2 years after my Dad passed away he is still heavy in my thoughts, and my Mom sees constant reminders of him all the time. Connie, my hat goes off to you, and I so hope success is your ultimate reward. A percentage of proceeds from all sales of Gator Ron’s products will be donated to the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, to help find a treatment, and ultimately a cure, for ALS. Support her if you can.
If anything special happens, I will be sure to report my findings with you and perhaps a video and some pics as well. In the meantime, my thoughts go out to all that have suffered from the tragedy of the horrific storm Sandy. 5 days later and still people are without power and so many have lost so much more. The simple things like getting gas has become painstaking hard for so many. It is getting colder and colder and the need for so much help is beyond our understanding. I grew up on Long Island and spent many days in New Jersey and New York City for my own amusement, and to see the level of hardship that has befallen the place I grew up in breaks my heart. Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming days for what we can do as a chile loving community to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need.