Celebrity chefs to demonstrate, judge Cook of the Week finale

  • Mario Rizzotti

    Mario Rizzotti

  • Brian Emmett

    Brian Emmett

  • Paul Guerrero

    Paul Guerrero

Daily Herald staff report
Updated 10/21/2015 5:28 PM

Two celebrity chefs will be demonstrating at and judging the 2015 Cook of the Week Challenge Finale on Nov. 2 at the Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca.

Sponsored by the Daily Herald, the fifth annual food competition and expo will feature main stage demonstrations by Mario Rizzotti and Brian Emmett. Chef Paul Guerrero, culinary director of Cooking Skills Academy in Itasca, will serve as the emcee.


Rizzotti is an acclaimed television personality and Italian culinary expert. He most recently served as a judge on the Food Network's "Iron Chef America," and was called to judge Iron Chefs such as Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and more. Rizzotti has also appeared alongside celebrity Chef Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey's longtime former chef; Food Network TV star Ted Allen; NBC's "Days of our Lives" star Alison Sweeney; Martin Yan and many others.

Emmett is a nationally and internationally recognized chef and baker. He won "The American Baking Competition" on CBS in 2013 and has since appeared on countless lifestyle and news programs across the country and in Canada. Emmett has completed his first cookbook, "Get Your Bake On."

In addition, Chef Massimo Gaffo, the corporate chef at Ala Carte Entertainment, and Westin Chicago Northwest Executive Chef Mark Eckert will be conducting live demonstrations.

Guerrero runs the Cooking Skills Academy, a culinary school that offers more than 150 two-hour classes on a rotating basis to home cooks of all experience levels. He has worked with influential chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Joe Decker (chef/partner Wildfire Restaurant) and Larry Donahue (corporate executive chef Weber Restaurant). He most recently spent eight years as chef for Wildfire, part of the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.

The final cook-off event begins at 6 p.m. at the Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca and features food and beverage samplings from Toasty Cheese, Grecian Delights, Village Tavern, Ala Carte Entertainment and more.

Tickets to the event are $20 and include food samplings, two drink tickets and a goody bag; $5 of each ticket will be donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. For tickets, go to events.dailyherald.com.

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