Show Growth Was Hot on the Menu at MetroCooking DC
Washington D.C.’s largest consumer culinary show, MetroCooking DC, concluded its 12th edition with a positive boost in attendance and size.
Held Dec. 9-10 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the popular gourmand shopping event saw an attendance uptick of more than 12 percent, compared with the year before, with more than 10,000 foodies shopping, sipping and sampling from an abundance of specialty food companies, local restaurants, breweries and wineries.
The annual event also expanded its exhibitor footprint, with 218 specialty food and home entertaining exhibitors showcasing aisles of unique food products and entertaining gift options spanning 32,610 square feet of exhibition space.
In 2016, MetroCooking DC drew 8,700 attendees and 192 exhibitors to a 29,700 sq. ft. expo.
The show also saw an increase in its special event areas, with more than 40 beer, wine and spirits vendors and more than 60 participating restaurateurs.
“The addition of various programming elements and a focus on visitor experience allowed us to expand the consumer base resulting in increased attendance,” explained Ned Krause, CEO of E.J. Krause & Associates, which owns and runs the show.
He added, “We definitely see continued growth opportunity for MetroCooking DC in the upcoming event.”
In an effort to continue supporting new-to-market and localized vendors, the show debuted the Made in DC Pavilion and expanded its Virginia’s Finest Pavilion.
The interactive event featured a variety of parallel activities including two live cooking stages, cooking classes, book signings, a Beer, Wine & Spirits Garden, multiple tasting events and brought together an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs including Guy Fieri, José Andrés, Carla Hall and many other locally and nationally recognized James Beard-honored chefs.
The show’s BBQ Bash was held on Dec. 9, with host Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley of DC’s Smoked & Stacked and Hill Country Barbecue’s head pitmaster Chef Ash Fulk, showcasing the area’s top barbecue establishments offering food samples and giving industry tips and trends.
On Dec. 10, more than 50 restaurants served up signature sweet and savory bites at the 5th annual Grand Tasting Pavilion benefitting SOME (So Others Might Eat), a nonprofit organization that works to address poverty in Washington DC by providing food, clothing and healthcare services to the poor and homeless, as well job training, counselling, low-cost housing and other services to “break the cycle of homelessness.”
At its next edition, set for Dec. 1-2 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, MetroCooking DC will be expanding its specialty event areas and adding more interactive classes, according to Kara Krause, vice president of event marketing and social media for E.J. Krause.
“We will be adding a few more hands-on classes, such as a wine and chocolate pairing class as well as holiday entertaining classes, called ‘Make it and Take it Holiday Workshops,’ which will include a wreath making and centerpiece arrangement class,” Krause explained.
She continued, “The Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden will increase again this year to accommodate more vendors so attendees can have an even greater variety to sample from. The area has almost doubled in participants from the previous year, which is very exciting!”