CHAMPAIGN — Tickets are still available for a day of healthy eating events with British comic cook Jon Ashton.
The Liverpool-raised chef will perform a live cooking show from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 14 as part of his Dash Around The Table Tour.
He is also talking about childhood obesity.
"I put on some pounds when I was 13 through 16, and I was bullied," Ashton said. "I'm very passionate about improving the eating habits of our children."
The event will feature booths open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day with local and national restaurant vendors, a seminar on nutrition by Dr. Ingrid Antonsen of Christie Clinic, and a 3 p.m. drawing that includes a $3,300 electric wall oven and a flat-screen television.
The expo is at the Hilton Garden Inn. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $99 for VIP seating, available at http://www.news-gazette.com/tickets .
Other sponsors are Provena Covenant Medical Center, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and County Market.
Ashton says his theme is "making mealtimes matter," bringing the family together.
A regular on NBC's "Today" Show, his work has included food correspondent of the morning show "The Daily Buzz" and in-house chef for Relish Magazine.
He said he understands what obese children go through and has some ideas to offer. Include children in the entire meal process, Ashton said. That can start with growing herbs together and move through making a meal together and sharing daily lives at mealtime.
He has a daughter, Victoria Mei, who is 6 and already something of a budding chef. She's "into sushi" right now, he said.
"When you go into the kitchen as a family and cook together, the children are more open to healthy eating," he said.
"If you want children to eat vegetables, try roasting them, which brings out the sweetness. Put the vegetables on top of a whole-wheat pizza," Ashton said.
Also, buy foods that are available at the local grocery store rather than seeking out the exotic, and keep recipes simple, he said.
Ashton said he looks forward to chili as the days grow cooler. He also often puts cheap cuts of beef in a slow cooker before going to bed, and he enjoys how that warms up a house.
He said he likes both cooking and eating.
"There are days when my jeans become snug," he said.
Here is video from Ashton's appearance on WICD  on Tuesday morning.
If you go
What: Chef Jon Ashton's Dash Around The Table Tour, part of a daylong healthy eating expo
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14 (Ashton's live cooking program is 1 to 3 p.m.)
Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., C
Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at the door ($99 for VIP seating)
More info: http://www.news-gazette.com/tickets