ESTERO — What do you get when you mix a doctor, a lawyer, a custom cabinetmaker and three large white onions?
Celebrity chef Jon Ashton gets the beginnings of a humorous sketch as well as a start on Alsatian crustless breakfast tarts.
Ashton brought his “Relish Cooking Show” to Germain Arena Thursday night to help kick off the first Women Today Expo.
The two-day event today and Saturday features talks, vendors and entertainment with topics from coupon savvy to fashion.
It was all about cooking Thursday night, when the two-hour show took the stage with its upbeat blend of audience participation, humor, pop culture and practical cooking tips.
During the show’s opening recipe segment, the doctor, lawyer and cabinetmaker took the stage alongside Ashton to test myths surrounding cutting onions and crying.
One man wore work goggles while cutting, another cut onions next to a burning candle and the third worked while three pieces of white bread dangled from his mouth.
None of the men cried. They all laughed, instead.
“I had a great time, he’s got a great sense of humor,” said the lawyer, George Zurlo of Naples. “I love to cook and it’s fun to learn. The onion business is important.”
Zurlo said he attended the show at his wife’s suggestion. She had to work, so he came alone.
He didn’t think he’d wind up on stage, but he helped Ashton complete the tart recipe while the doctor and custom cabinetmaker returned to their seats. Ashton praised Zurlo’s gravelly voice and deadpan delivery.
“You’d make a good straight man for me,” said Ashton.
The show drew about 200 foodies, some already fans of Ashton and others who love cooking shows in general.
“I’d heard of the magazine but didn’t recognize his name,” said Patty Franco, of Fort Myers, who came with her friend Kathy Tomes, also of Fort Myers. “I love ‘The Iron Chef’ and Food Network and all of that. It’s a nice evening out.”
Sharon Cook came with three friends who are all in a cooking club on Marco Island, “The Smoking Pots.” She said the show was better than expected.
“It’s funnier than what I thought it would be,” she said. “He’s more entertaining.”
Denise Rose, a fellow cooking club member, said she enjoyed the tips too.