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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Chef Steve gears up for cooking show

Sunday, October 7, 2012

(Photo)
Steven Petusevsky
Steve Petusevsky, who will be the featured chef at the Times-Gazette / Relish Cooking Show and Expo Oct. 23 at Calsonic Arena, says his presentation will include fun menu items and "chef secrets," including tips for advance prep that can make a special meal come together faster when it's time to actually cook.

"It's going to be a really good time," said Petusevsky. "We're going to have a load of fun."

Kitchen experience

The Florida-based chef has worked with Relish magazine on a series of Relish Cooking Show events, the most recent in Texas. He's also a cookbook author, syndicated columnist, and a consulting chef for leading food companies, including the parent company of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill.

Petusevsky grew up in the restaurant business; his parents owned restaurants, which he described as "mom and pop, hometown cooking." At first, he resisted following in their footsteps, and planned to become a medical illustrator. But he finally gave in.

"What am I fighting here?" he asked himself.

He graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and his past positions include the role of executive chef and director of creative food development for the Whole Foods Market chain.

Healthy fun

Several of his projects have centered on healthier, vegetable-based cooking, and a global approach.

"A lot of other cultures have figured out that food doesn't have to be complicated," he said. "It can be simple and healthy." Replacing butter with olive oil and increasing vegetables, fruits and grains in the diet can make a difference, he said.

But don't expect the cooking show to be a scold.

"We entertain, we have fun, we joke around," he said. "We just have a blast with the audience, and they really seem to love it."

Eye for eats

The day before the show, he'll be in town to visit various locations in the community.

While Petusevsky abandoned the idea of becoming a medical illustrator, he still has an eye for the visual, and when he's not cooking he enjoys traveling and photography, gravitating towards food-related photography subjects. He loved a recent trip to Jamaica.

"It was like 'Nat Geo' meets Emeril," he said.

More awareness

Petusevsky said the recent rise in food culture -- celebrity chefs and food-related TV channels -- has increased the public's awareness of new ingredients, techniques and cuisines. Supermarkets have been forced to expand their product offerings, and what can't be found locally can often be ordered from the Internet.

"You can almost buy anything online these days," he said.

But one drawback of the rise of chef culture is that culinary students sometimes think being a chef is about entertainment and seem unprepared for the reality of life as a line cook.

Show and expo

The expo, with a variety of vendors and exhibits, starts at 4 p.m., with the show at 7 p.m. Tickets are now on sale at Kincaid Service Company, Lowery Jewelers, the Times-Gazette offices or by calling 684-1200.

General admission is $12.

Also available are VIP packages including wine, hors d'oeuvres, special seating, a mini-cookbook, an exclusive door prize drawing and a meet-and-greet and photo session with Petusevsky. The meet-and-greet will be catered by Chef Bill Hall of Our House Too. Limited tickets for the VIP package are $40.

For more information, go to the Facebook event page or to www.relish.com/cookingshow.

Relish magazine is included monthly in the Times-Gazette.



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