Celebrity chef Leslie Bailey demonstrates how to make an array of recipes, all on the grill. Bailey has been cooking for many years in the river region and is best known for her quirky and entertaining personality. Residents packed the convention center Thursday night to see Bailey cook.  -- Sarah Cook
Celebrity chef Leslie Bailey demonstrates how to make an array of recipes, all on the grill. Bailey has been cooking for many years in the river region and is best known for her quirky and entertaining personality. Residents packed the convention center Thursday night to see Bailey cook. -- Sarah Cook

Celebrity chef entertains and grills out

Published 10:09pm Thursday, February 21, 2013

The heat was turned up Thursday night as residents packed into the Carl Morgan Convention Center to learn how to make grits, old-fashioned banana splits, fruit kabobs and quirky quesadillas — all on the grill.

WHBB Radio, Fuzion 100 and Alagasco hosted “Grilling with Gas,” a cooking show featuring celebrity chef Leslie Bailey. While watching Bailey’s cooking demonstration, which was infused with a dash of comedy, attendees were able to sample food from several different Dallas County vendors.

Carolyn Rowell, community relations director for Fuzion 100, said the show is something that’s hosted every year and is always a hit.

“It’s kind of like something you would see on the Food Network,” Rowell said. “And it’s not all about recipes, it has a lot of entertainment to it too.”

Bailey opened the night with demonstrating how to grill grits and garlic barbeque catfish filets topped with corn relish.

“This year for the show, we decided we were going to do ‘grilling with gas’ because we wanted to do something kind of different,” Rowell said. “I’m grilling everything from banana splits to grits and catfish. I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with these recipes.”

Along with being a featured chef on the annual show, Bailey has hosted her own cooking show on WSFA Channel 12 News for 14 years. Bailey has cooked everything from a “Bodacious Breakfast Sub” to blue moon cheese dip.

And Bailey said when you boil it all down — “I just like to cook.”

“In the river region I’m known as ‘the girl that cooks,’” Bailey said. “I owned a restaurant and catering business for 25 years and I loved it. I’m blessed because I love doing this.”

In between showing audience members how to grill flaming buffalo wing sauce and warm caramel toasted coconut dips, Bailey spoke of her “flips and flops” in her cooking endeavors, telling the audience it’s okay to mess up sometimes.

“I just like to have fun with it,” Bailey said. “And these recipes are all easy — anyone can do it.”

Rowell said because the cooking show is so entertaining year after year, community members often look forward to attending the demonstration.

“It’s just a fun night,” Rowell said. “People get to come out and see a real celebrity chef cook up some delicious recipes.”

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