People will once again have a chance to visit various vendor booths and participate in a live cooking show during this year’s Taste of Home event.

Taste of Home Chef Eric Villegas will share various recipes and prizes with audience members during the cooking show. Villegas loves his job as a Taste of Home chef.

“It’s like a rock concert almost, where, you know, you load up all your equipment and you go from one city to the next, to the next, to the next and it’s a new group of people and everybody loves Taste of Home,” Villegas said.

A long-time chef, Villegas just fell into his work with Taste of Home. He was raised in Michigan and attended college there. He then spent time in culinary school in France. He opened his first restaurant at age 27 and operated two restaurants for 22 years. He has also done cooking for television on PBS and writes cookbooks.

Villegas was at a book signing at a women’s lifestyle show in Michigan when he first learned about the Tate of Home magazine and cooking school. He had a little booth and made a couple recipes at the show. After he was done, one of the managers asked him if he was staying for the cooking show and Villegas said that he thought he was the cooking show. He was taken into the main room where more than 1,000 women were cheering and having a great deal of fun. A man came out on stage and began singing and cooking at the same time.

“And I thought what the heck is this?” Villegas said.

After the event, he researched Taste of Home and liked what he saw. He sent the company an e-mail. By the next week he was hired as a Taste of Home chef.

Throughout the year, Taste of Home holds more than 300 shows for more than 300,000 people. Nine chefs “criss-cross” the country doing these shows. Villegas averages 30 shows a year.

Villegas will teach 10 unusual recipes during the Clinton Taste of Home Show. Some of these recipes include mushroom tacos and a cheesecake with peanut butter and salted pretzels. At the end of the show, all of the food he makes is given to audience members in their serving dishes.

The Taste of Home Cooking School event will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. May 8 at the Wild Rose Casino and Resort, 777 Wild Rose Drive. The doors will open at 4 p.m. and vendor booths will be available until 7 p.m. The cooking show will be held from 7:30  to 9 p.m.

Tickets are currently available at Clover Hills, Hy-Vee, Don’s Jewelry and the Clinton Herald. Advance tickets are $8. Tickets are available at the door on the night of the event for $10. The event is also offering special VIP tickets for $35. This includes a cookbook valued at $35 and special seating for the show.

Everyone attending the event will receive goody bags. At the end of the night, assorted prizes from area sponsors will be given away.


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