Viking Cooking School claims to be the most enjoyable school on earth. Atlantic City visitors will soon find out as Harrah's Resort will open the 16th Viking School in the country Memorial Day weekend.
The school, which in peak season will offer three classes daily, seven days a week, will offer 90- to 180-minute classes that will teach its students everything from basic knife skills to how to prepare a three-course menu.
Construction is currently underway in the former Innovations space in the Waterfront expansion. When complete, the Viking Cooking School will feature four complete kitchens, including stoves and prep areas, as well as a retail section where students and hotel visitors can buy Viking and other name-brand kitchen products.
"Much like we've been trying to do in Atlantic City over the past several years with the expansion of Harrah's, the Viking Cooking School brings a unique, fun, social entertainment option to the city that is unlike anything else here," says Jay Snowden, senior vice president and general manager of Showboat Casino-Hotel and Harrah's. "Viking represents a premium brand that is a perfect match with Harrah's."
Following the Viking formula, Harrah's will offer various theme nights that will appeal to kitchen novices, professionals or just people looking for a fun day or night out.
"We will offer everything from a Japanese steakhouse to fish cookery, date night in Paris, girls night out in Rome, grilling and sushi workshops, Thai explosion … you name it," says Edward Batten, Harrah's director of food service and executive chef. It will appeal to all skill levels. The goal is to completely prepare a three-course meal from start to finish and to then be able to replicate that meal at home."
Prices range from $99 to $139 per class, which includes students feasting on their creations when the class concludes.
"We will show everything from basic knife techniques to how to blanch tomatoes, chop onions, peel garlic," says Batten, who adds that each class will have a 16-student maximum that will work in groups of four. "We go through all of the processes and preparations of every item. It's a fun, educational experience."
Helming a team of chefs and teachers is Martin Joseph, a chef who has worked at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia, as well as the Viking Cooking School in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
"We also have an awesome group of culinarians and award-winning chefs who work here that will teach classes, as well, including me," Batten says. "We are looking forward to it."
Snowden says the plan is to offer the cooking school year-round on a more limited schedule.
"We think there are so many cooking enthusiasts out there that we will have great success," says Snowden, adding that the school will also tie into player promotions that will include Viking cookware giveaways throughout June. "We believe there will be a tremendous amount of demand based on the success of the other Viking schools as well as the fact that cooking speaks to everyone whether you are a foodie or not. It can be an ice breaker on your first date or a change of pace for existing couples. It could be a blast for bachelor and bachelorette parties. It has tremendous, broad appeal for cash-paying guests as well as our core gamers looking for something to do when staying here for a night or over the weekend. It's a nice alternative to mix up your visit here. It's something different that no one else has, and that makes it special."
Beginning next week, the public can make reservations at www.vikingcookingschool.com. Harrah's will also offer room and school packages that can be booked at
Flo Rida, fresh off his performance at Richard Stockton College, made an unscheduled appearance at The Pool at Harrah's Resort last Friday night. With a live performance scheduled by Iyaz at The Pool, the performer's flight from the Bahamas was canceled, making Flo Rida's appearance coincidental but timely. He sang four songs for the crowd and finished his performance by diving in the pool. After his surprise set, America's top-selling DJ, Louie DeVito, took over the turntables. Flo Rida enjoyed a VIP cabana in The Loft.
Dusk, located inside Caesars Atlantic City, hosted the Caesars Tennis Classic afterparty. Hosted by Venus Williams, Andy Roddick also showed up, requested the microphone and sang "Happy Birthday" to a fan. Later in the night, Williams joined friends on the dance floor to the sounds of DJ Sat-One.
Also inside Caesars, Mia, owned by celebrity chefs Chris Scarduzio and Georges Perrier, also had its share of tennis stars, including Roddick and Marat Safin. Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who was in town to announce a figure skating event that will come to Boardwalk Hall, courtesy of Caesars, in December, also joined the group.
"Real Housewives of New York" star Bethenny Frankel spent the weekend at Caesars, dining at Stephen Starr's Buddakan at The Pier Shops and Morton's the Steakhouse. She attended the tennis event and spent most of Saturday afternoon at Qua Baths & Spa.
Over at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi followed her performance Saturday night in The Music Box with an appearance at mur.mur, where she rocked to the sounds of DJ Sky Nellor, who played DioGuardi-penned dance hits that include Cobra Starship's "Good Girls Go Bad." DioGuardi also dined with her husband and friends at Seablue, a Michael Mina Restaurant.
On Saturday, April 17, Resorts Atlantic City is hosting a private $100,000 winner-take-all blackjack tournament. The event is an exclusive, invitation-only event … with one exception. Resorts Card holders are invited to play in a qualifying tournament on Friday, April 16.
The winner of the qualifying tourney will automatically advance to the final table in Saturday's tournament and have a one-in-seven chance at winning $100,000.
The qualifier will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight on the casino floor. Resorts Card holders who use their card for casino play on Friday will earn one entry into the qualifying tournament.
Poker Open continues
The Borgata continues its first Spring Poker Open this week. The Poker Room features 110 poker tables for both live action and tournament play through the 21-day competition that will culminate on April 30.
The 60-event tourney concludes with the $3,500 Borgata Spring Poker pen Championship from April 25 to 30, which features two starting dates, $30,000 in tournament chips and a guaranteed $1 million prize pool.
To register, go to
New game at Resorts
Resorts recently debuted a new version of Mini Baccarat titled "EZ Bacc."
This modified version of the game of Baccarat offers the players the chance to win on the "Bank" hand and not pay the usual 5 percent commission charged in the normal game.
The commission is replaced by a slight rule change that "pushes" a Bank winning hand of 3 cards totaling "7."
"EZ Bacc" also includes a side bet called "Dragon 7" that pays 40-to-1 if the three-card "7" winner appears.
The game is available in the "Sheng Yi" Asian Gaming Room located off the Boardwalk entrance.
- Scott Cronick