August 09, 2011

Du Quoin event will showcase Illinois food, wine

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Illinois Food and Wine Products Show at the 2011 Du Quoin State Fair will showcase local businesses and food products courtesy of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Entrepreneurship and Business Development unit and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The event is Sept. 3 and 4 at the air-conditioned Expo Hall and includes live, interactive cooking demonstrations spotlighting Illinois food products and pairing them with wine selections.  Fair visitors can view, sample and purchase various Illinois food products.  There is no cost to attend this unique show with nearly 40 vendors from all over the state participating, organizers say.

The Food and Wine Expo will run from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4.  The cooking demonstrations will be at noon and 3 p.m. both days with an additional show at 5 p.m. on Sept. 3 only.

Featured guest executive chefs are Dylan Lipe and Dana Cox.  Lipe is the Sweet Baby Ray’s and True Cuisine corporate executive chef ( and  Cox is a chef instructor in the culinary arts school at Kendall College in Chicago and founder of The Honest Meal Project (, an effort to encourage use of items directly or nearly directly purchased from farms, dairies and ranches.

This is the fifth year SIUC Entrepreneurship has hosted a products showcase event at the fair and previous Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace events have been quite popular.  This year, for the first time, the partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture is in place, facilitating a show that features an even wider array of Illinois food products for sampling and purchase.

“Partnering with the Illinois Department of Agriculture has allowed us to expand our previous years’ Southern Illinois Marketplace into a statewide food and wine show featuring some fantastic companies and their products as well as five cooking show demonstrations using the food and wine products.  I’m hoping everyone stops by the Expo Hall to see and sample!” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade for SIUC.

An Illinois food product is anything produced, processed or packaged in the state or anything sold by a company headquartered in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  Those visiting the Illinois Food and Wine Products Show can sample a wide assortment of tasty Illinois treats, including wine, and then buy products to enjoy at home. 

“We hope that Illinois consumers will purchase Illinois products whenever possible to support the state’s economy and keep or create jobs in the state.  An added plus is that Illinois food and wine products are delicious and affordable,” said Larry Aldag, marketing representative for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“Illinois is the home of 2,531 food processing establishments and we rank fifth among all states in the total number of food processing establishments.  To see the names of more than 850 Illinois food companies and their products, go to and click on ‘Illinois Food and Agribusiness Guide’ on the right side of the page,” Aldag added.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship and Business Development unit at SIUC, call 618/453-3805 or visit the website at