INA, Ill. (Aug. 6, 2014) – The DuQuoin State Fair will kick off with a flavorful boost from Rend Lake College’s Culinary Arts program this month.
Culinary Arts students, staff, and volunteers will join hands with other local businesses to serve a four-course meal for local and state dignitaries at the DuQuoin State Fair Opening Day Media Dinner on Aug. 22. The dinner kicks off the two-week-long fair.
Jeff Fairbanks, Rend Lake College Culinary Arts Instructor, said the four courses will include an appetizer, soup or salad, entrée, and dessert, all prepared with local produce and meat. Each course will also be paired with local wines. Some of the local businesses involved are Seasonings Bistro in Benton, Uncle Joe’s BBQ in Ina, and Pheasant Hollow Winery in Whittington.
“The Culinary Arts program has participated in past years with this event, and we stress to our students the importance of getting out there and doing exhibitions like these,” said Fairbanks. “Our volunteers will also be helping out with some food and wine demonstrations on August 29. It should be a good experience for everyone involved.”
During the dinner and subsequent demonstrations on Aug. 29, Fairbanks, Culinary Arts Lead Instructor Robert Wilson, and the other chefs will perform a short presentation about how the food was prepared and why. The first week of the fair traditionally focuses on local produce, and out-of-the-area vendors visit during the second week. The fair lasts until Sept. 1.
“We were contacted this year and asked to bring some students to help with the dinner preparations and demonstrations the following week,” said Fairbanks. “There will be all sorts of people there, like the Mayor of DuQuoin and maybe Governor Pat Quinn. The bands might also eat that night, so we might be serving Foreigner too.”
To check out the RLC Culinary Arts program at the DuQuoin State Fair, visit the Expo Hall on the fair grounds. A full list of events will be posted to the fair’s website at www.agr.state.il.us/dq. For more information about the RLC Culinary Arts program, call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714.