In the search for its annual guest author, Douglas County Libraries wanted a cultured, eloquent speaker with widespread popularity and a flare for …
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In the search for its annual guest author, Douglas County
Libraries wanted a cultured, eloquent speaker with widespread
popularity and a flare for the amazing. They found the perfect
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless will stop by Douglas County for a
one-day cooking tour and author reception Oct. 13. Bayless, who was
crowned “Top Chef Master” during a reality show of the same name in
August 2009, has made his book tour a one-man show. He was the
overwhelming favorite out of dozens of authors during a vote of
library employees earlier this year.
Library officials considered Bayless’s appeal to various age
groups and sexes in making the decision, but also his friendly
nature and creative cooking techniques. He is “not a ‘Hell’s
Kitchen’ kind of guy,” says one library staffer, referring to the
fiery Fox reality cooking show starring chef Gordon Ramsey.
Bayless, the host of a popular PBS series called “Mexico: One
Plate at a Time,” will begin his day in Highlands Ranch during a
private lunch at noon at The Old Blinking Light Restaurant. Chef
Kevin Fitzgerald will cook a meal in tribute to Bayless, and menu
items will reflect Bayless’s recipes. He will mingle with about 60
guests before performing a cooking demonstration and tasting at 3
p.m. at the Lone Tree Recreation Center.
Bayless will demonstrate two recipes and ticket holders will
enjoy tastings and a book sale/signing. Both events sold out
quickly, and tickets were only available for the author
presentation the night of Oct. 13 at the Wildlife Experience. A
200-guest reception before the presentation also sold out.
Bayless, 56, is widely recognized for his ability to modernize
traditional Mexican dishes while using local produce and goods to
build the meal. He is promoting his latest book, “ Fiesta at Ricks:
Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends.”
The increasing prominence of cooking shows on the Food Network
and Bravo has launched Bayless and other chefs to the top of the
American celebrity pool. The cooking sections at many Douglas
County Libraries locations have long maintained one of the highest
rates of circulation, said Elizabeth Kelsen Huber, adult services
department head for the library district.
Bayless was viewed as an in-demand guest author who could put on
an exhilarating show during his speech to a local audience. It is
Douglas County Libraries’ third author reception. Pundit and humor
columnist Dave Barry visited in 2008, and author David Baldacci
came to Douglas County last year.
“We wanted to think outside the box this year,” Kelsen Huber
said, adding first-time guests can expect a fun and lively
Douglas County residents who attend will find that the authors
are accessible. They have an opportunity to get up close and
personal during book signings and a question-and-answer session at
the end of the presentation. As many as 400 people are expected at
the presentation, which features an interactive, tech-driven
demonstration this year, in addition to stories and anecdotes from
Proceeds from the event benefit the Douglas County Libraries
Foundation, but organizers did not make raising money their primary
objective, said Kerri Martin, program and outreach librarian for
Douglas County Libraries.
Martin, a fan of cooking shows and Bayless, said even she will
have to maintain her professionalism and avoid becoming star struck
during the event. County residents showed their approval for
Bayless as the 2010 guest author through their overwhelming
response when tickets went on sale.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to have a fun night out at a
relatively low cost and support the library at the same time, “
For more information, visit DouglasCountyLibraries.org
or call 303-791-7323.
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