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Men in the Kitchen: Viva Las Vegas- Style!

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The third in our series, Men in the Kitchen, takes us to Las Vegas to visit a professional pastry chef.  Before becoming a “professional man in the kitchen”, Barry toiled away at a day job until he struck gold, an opportunity to go back to school and realize his dream of becoming a chef.  A graduate of the culinary school at The Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Barry landed a job a little over a year ago at the famous Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.  Thus it was Westward Ho for Barry, his girlfriend Karen and their little pooch Wink.   Now he is living the life he dreamed of and hopes one day to take his experience to Europe.  Behind all the glitz Barry’s just a regular guy.  Here’s what he had to say:

 

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KFL:  How often do you cook and what is your specialty?

Barry:  I cook/bake/spin every day and my current specialty is Gelato, I am responsible for 17+ flavors that are made by hand on a daily basis and are served in over 6 different locations throughout the property.

KFL: What are the top 3 tools you can’t live without in the kitchen?

First and foremost would be a sharp set of knives.  I personally use the brand Mercer.   They hold their edge for a really long time without having to resharpen. Second would be a good solid mixer with a minimum capacity of 20 quarts, (!) preferably the 60 quarts (!!) when making large quantities. Third would be, believe it or not, an offset spatula. This really is a wonder tool it’s great for transporting items onto a banquet platter, decorating and smoothing out cakes, scraping chocolate off of molds when making candies, and everything in-between.

 

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KFL:  If you could change one thing about your kitchen, what would it be?

I would say that for both work and home I would like it to have more space but even if I got the biggest kitchen in the world it would still not be enough!

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An offset spatula (in case you were wondering like I was)

KFL:  How did you learn to cook?

I went to culinary school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  However, it’s in my blood.   My grandfather owned a restaurant/bar in Philadelphia back in the 60’s and 70’s and my uncle has owned multiple restaurants and franchises for the last 30 years.  The men in my family are very familiar with the kitchen!

KFL:   Is cooking a pleasure or just a necessity?

Both, but more importantly a pleasure. It’s a necessity because that’s how I earn my living, but when you absolutely love what you do it’s an extreme pleasure.

 

A little something Barry (and Karen) whipped up on his day off for a party!
A little something Barry (and Karen) whipped up on his day off for a party!

 

Next up: Men in the Kitchen Part IV: The Family Guy

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Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

Comments

Mom/Yvonne

WOW! Those desserts created by Barry are surely to die for! The Las Vegas hotel is lucky to have him! The party cake that he (and Karen) whipped up one weekend is a work of art. Can just imagine how yummy it tasted!

Jay acjerman

Thank you for that beautiful article on my son Barry. Jay a.

Gloria Graham

Thanks for the comments, Jay and Yvonne. Keep coming back 🙂

Wendy Serota

What a great article on Barry Ackerman (my son). Thank you for the wonderful photos of him and his work of art and his history.

Wendy Serota

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