Erie County Fair Cooks! Kitchen & Shoppe, Hamburg, New York

2017

The Erie County Fair's Culinary Center and Stage

A Celebration of Western New York State Culinary Talents!

The 178th Erie County Fair saw the debut of a culinary arts center called the “Erie County Fair Cooks! Kitchen & Shoppe.” The project’s primary mission was to highlight regionally sourced and grown products, promote easy “cook at home” meal options and to expose Fairgoers to Western New York’s dynamic culinary scene. The center is located inside the lower level of the Fair’s Security Building on the Avenue of Flags in a retail area formally known as “The Mall.” In additional to a fully functioning demonstration kitchen, building featured vendors specializing in culinary related products and services.

Shaun O’Neale, 2016 winner of FOX Network’s MasterChef Competition, performs at the 2017 Erie County Fair
Shaun O’Neale, 2016 winner of FOX Network’s MasterChef Competition, performs at the 2017 Erie County Fair
During its inaugural year, the culinary stage showcased five live cooking demonstrations daily conducted by area chefs, cooking schools, Fair concessionaires and local businesses. Featured chefs included Shaun O’Neale, 2016 winner of FOX Network’s MasterChef Competition, Howard Rosenthal of Mr. Food’s Test Kitchen, Krista Van Wagner of Prima Oliva, Scott Leggett from US Foods, and Andrew Murtha of Carte Blanche & Juicy Burger Bar of Hamburg. Culinary executives from Delaware North included Brian Sterner, Brian Waters, Dan Thorington, and Matthew Nelson. Fair concessionaries Sal Butera of Salvatore’s Pizza Trailer and Linda Lund of Babcia’s Pierogis shared recipes straight off the Fair’s midway, Carrie Meyer and Shelby Braun from the Independent Health Foundation served up a series of healthy eating themed demonstrations. Educational partners included The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute that hosted 12 demonstrations and the Tops Friendly Markets Cooking School that was featured during the Fair’s final weekend.
The Erie County Fair's Culinary Ars Center is located at the top of the Avenue of Flags near the Grandstand
The Erie County Fair's Culinary Ars Center is located at the top of the Avenue of Flags near the Grandstand
EXTERIOR: In preparation for the exhibit, the Mall Building received exterior paint, siding, a new set of stairs to security and NYS offices, LED lighting and awnings. Retaining walls were added as part of the regrading and paving of the Avenue of Flags. Signage included five 4 by 8 food images, a schedule of demonstrations that changed daily and branding elements. A 15-feet high steel sculpture representing a fork and knife was placed near the building’s entrance and became an immediate social media photo op for fairgoers.
INTERIOR: With the assistance of Delaware North culinary team members Brian Sterner and Brian Waters, the rear of the building was transformed into a modern demonstration stage with a backstage prep area. Seating accommodated 150 patrons. 25 sound absorbing panels were added to assist with acoustics. On stage equipment included a dry storage cabinet, refrigerated cooler with work top, an urban cultivator, two work tables and storage rack that was used as an onstage pantry. Two Evo Centric 20E induction cooktops were loaned to the project from the manufacturer. Branding signage include three pocket banners and a vinyl graphic on back of dry storage cabinet. An audio/visual system designed by WBBZ-TV’s Clint Soemann and installed by the Fair’s Gary Steiger.
Additional visual props, trade show pipes & drape was outfitted by Hale Northeastern.
Vendor area centers around the culinary theme
VENDOR SPACE: Half the square footage was dedicated to commercial vendor space that was solicited by the Fair’s Concessions Department. A total of five vendors took advantage of the program. In addition, two display tables offered literature from the Independent Health Foundation and various visiting chefs and culinary schools.
Concept & Project Coordinator
Marty Biniasz

Graphic Design
Becca Lickfeld

Signage
On The Mark
CGI
 
Primary Culinary Consultants
Brian Sterner, Delaware North
Brian Waters, Delaware North
Niagara Falls Culinary Institute

Audio/Visual
Clint Soemanm, WBBZ-TV
Gary Steiger, Erie County Fair

Program Coordinator
Erwin Rakoszy

Sponsorship
Holly Smyczyski
For more information about Erie County Fair Cooks! contact:

Marty Biniasz
Marketing Manager
Erie County Fair
716-649-3900
MBiniasz@ecfair.org

Erwin Rakoczy
Kitchen Coordinator
Erie County Fair Cooks!
716-480-3920
Rakoczy12@gmail.com
Proposed layout for Erie County Fair Culinary Stage & Center 2017
Proposed layout for Erie County Fair Culinary Stage & Center 2017
Proposed prep area & stage layout for Erie County Fair Culinary Center
Exterior of building during transformation into Culinary Arts Center at Erie County Fair
Exterior of building during transformation into Culinary Arts Center at Erie County Fair
Culinary stage prior to use as location for "Food at the Fair" press conference (2019).
In 2019, the Erie County Fair's Competitive Exhibits Department hosted a kids cup cake decorating contest
In 2019, the Erie County Fair's Competitive Exhibits Department hosted a kids cup cake decorating contest.