Local culinary specialist wows audiences

Published 2:50 pm Monday, May 21, 2012

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

If she were a food, culinary specialist Michelle “Red” Roberts is certain she’d be fried chicken.

Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Michelle Roberts travels seven states sharing her passion for cooking. (Contributed)

Roberts, senior culinary specialist for Taste of Home Cooking School in Greendale, Wis., has lived in Calera eight years with her cats, Madeline and Simon. Roberts’ culinary adventure began 27 years ago.

“My brother gave me an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas when I was 6,” Roberts blogged, Where It All Began Cookingschoolblog.com/author/tohred/. “I still remember opening it up Christmas morning. Who knew that would be the beginning of my love for food?”

Roberts grew up in Mississippi, but for the past 10 years has traveled across the country conducting cooking shows.

“I do 40 shows a year for media events,” Roberts said. “The show is sometimes held to raise money and sometimes it’s a community event. Local businesses sponsor the show, providing the ingredients and appliances. I’m there promoting our seasonal national sponsors, like Emeril, Ortega and Gallo Family Vineyards.”

Roberts has an associate degree in food production and management technology and a bachelor’s in culinary arts with a minor in food art and photography. She currently holds shows in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas. She prepares 10 recipes for every two-hour show and relies on local volunteers to help prep the food and assist onstage. Much like camping, dishes are washed, rinsed and sanitized behind stage in a portable sink she takes with her.

Seasonal shows are held March through the first of June and September through the first of December. When she’s not on the road, she enjoys watching movies, walking through her neighborhood and hanging out with family and friends.

“When I’m not traveling, I work from home preparing for the next season,” she said. “This summer my boyfriend and I will spend time with his new nephew. I’m sure we’ll be babysitting.”

Sister publications of Taste of Home magazine include Healthy Cooking, Simple & Delicious, Country and Birds & Blooms. Information about shows can be found at Tasteofhome.com under the cooking schools tab.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.