Our plan called for eight of the chefs to share PowerPoint presentations and cooking demos with about 100 tasting portions each half hour starting at 9 a.m.
Steve, the director at the Art Institute of Kansas City, showed a PowerPoint on Southwestern Cuisine and prepared pork taquitos. Things started off great with his demo, but then he realized the people just wanted to eat! He finished frying the taquitos and started to plate the first portion. Then, the crowd shifted and attacked the tables to taste the samples. After he ran out of food, the people wanted to take pictures with him. Then the news showed up and also wanted a piece of the action!
As he was being interviewed, I started to prepare myself for the chaotic situation. I helped him clean up, and then I started my demo. I started cooking, and then the news turned their attention to me. They asked me questions like, “have you tried Wuhan’s most famous dish? What is your favorite site in Wuhan? How many times have you been to China?….And they wanted to know all about what I was making. They were interested in learning about the grits, since they don’t eat grits here.
After the interview, I started cooking and people lined up throughout the area. It was amazing–every time I sautéed or got a little closer to the finalized dish, I could see the crowd push a little closer. I finished my dish and Leran, our host, helped with managing the crowd. I have never seen so many hands reaching out trying to get a taste of American food. After I was done, I started to clean up and then media asked me more questions.
When I finally got back to the hote at the end of the dayl, I was way too excited to go to sleep!