Cook Like a Pro at Food U on March 27-29

By Marilyn LaRocque
Photos courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

If you immerse yourself in the multitude of “food” shows but struggle to duplicate what you see on TV— take heart! Food University at Caesars Palace on March 27-29 will help transform ardent foodies into culinary wizards in three days. Food U “students” will not be docile note-takers. They will don chef whites and hone their cooking skills alongside their celebrity chef “professors.”

If you’ve watched in awe as chefs chop and dice at breakneck speed, you’ll learn professional skills from Jeffrey Elliott, author of “The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills,” who will also suggest how to keep your fingers out of harm’s way. If seafood is your favorite dish, sign up for Seafood 101 with Chef Patrick “Paddy” Glennon, VP of Santa Monica Seafood.

To pander to your sweet tooth, Duff Goldman, star of Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” and owner of Charm City Cakes bakeries in Baltimore and Los Angeles, as well as the do-it-yourself cake bakery Cakemix in West Hollywood, will present a hands-on cake-decorating seminar. Unconventional chef, restaurateur, and author, South Philadelphia native Steve Martorano, known as “Godfather of Italian-American cooking, will focus on “Mostly Meatballs.” He’s Top Toque at Martorano at the Rio in Vegas.

Chocoholics will applaud legendary pastry chef François Payard, owner of more than a dozen popular pâtisseries and bakeries worldwide, including Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro at Caesars Palace. He’ll teach a class called “Chocolate Epiphany.” Frank Pellegrino, Jr., proprietor of the storied Rao’s restaurants in New York and at Caesars Palace, will lead a class focused on “Classic Italian.” Chef Alex Stratta, now executive chef at Scarpatta in Beverly Hills, CA, will unveil “Secret Sauces.”

Acclaimed cheese expert Laura Werlin, author of the James Beard Award-winning “All-American Cheese and Wine Book” and the recently released “Mac and Cheese, Please,” will present “An Intro to Cheese.” Winner of season 10 of “Hell’s Kitchen,” Christina Wilson, Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, will teach “Finding Flavor.” The latest food trends will be revealed by Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal.

Libations are not ignored. Highly entertaining Francesco LaFranconi, Master Mixologis of Southern Wine and Spirits Nevada, will cover cocktails. “Understanding Wine 101” will fill in some gaps on varietals and vintages. Two “field trips” will offer an “insider’s look” behind the scenes at some of Las Vegas’ most exciting restaurants. Climaxing three days of presentations is an interactive celebrity chef competition, followed by a “graduation ceremony” at which guests receive their “Enlightened Palate degree.

“Tuition” is $1,995 per person for the three days of hands-on cooking classes, seminars, special sessions, three breakfasts, three lunches, and all the utensils, tools, cookware, and ingredients to cook up a storm. In addition, each student enrolled for the first classes will receive a private VIP invitation for a never-before-seen prestigious wineries tour in Napa Valley previously off-limits to the public.

Food University is a collaboration among Caesars Palace, philanthropist and hospitality industry leader Larry Ruvo, Food Network co-founder Robin Leach and veteran culinary entertainment producer Richard Gore. Best known for hosting “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Leach will serve as Food University’s master of ceremonies. TV personality and daughter of famed chef Jacques Pépin, Chef Claudine Pépin, will be co-host.

Find more facts on Facebook and Twitter. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to, or call (866) 840-8822; gift certificates are also available by emailing

Food University at Caesars Palace is committed to supporting Keep Memory Alive, dedicated to finding cures for brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.

Sponsors for the inaugural Food University Las Vegas at Caesars Palace are cookware manufacturer Fagor America, Swiss Diamond Cookware, Hamilton Beach, and The Daily Meal, Spanfeller Media Group’s (SMG) mega food site, which will be the digital media sponsor of the event.

For hotel accommodations, call Caesars Palace at (866) 227-5938 for special rates.