Phyllis teaching at Let's Get Cookin'
Phyllis with Julia Child and Staff
Phyllis and Jacques Pepin
Phyllis Vaccarelli was the owner/director of Let’s Get Cookin’ and the Westlake Culinary Institute in Westlake Village from 1984 until June, 2014 when she sold the school and store. The school featured classes with many well known chefs and cookbook authors such as the late Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck, Jacques Pepin, Giada de Laurentiis, Anthony Bourdain, Curtis Stone, Martin Yan and Emeril Lagasse. In addition there were classes for aspiring culinary professionals; basics classes for home cooks, children’s and teen’s classes and many different hands-on classes that were both educational and fun. The International Association of Culinary Professionals awarded Let’s Get Cookin’ the Avocational School Award of Excellence in 2007. The store had a complete selection of cookware, bakeware, gadgets, cookbooks, tabletop serving pieces, gourmet foods and gifts. Phyllis was the principal buyer and became an expert on the latest available kitchen equipment and trends.
Phyllis is a Certified Culinary Professional. She is still a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, served 6 years on the National Board of the American Institute of Wine and Food and was the Los Angeles Chapter Chair for 2 years. She chaired the local culinary women's group, Les Dames d’Escoffier Chapter from 2004-2006. Phyllis was also active as a member of the James Beard Foundation and the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. She is still on the Advisory Board of the Los Angeles Careers Through Culinary Arts Program which provides culinary scholarships for inner-city youth. She supported the local Senior Concerns Program and the Ultimate Dining Experience fund raiser in the Conejo Valley since it began over 25 years ago as well as many local charities and fund raising organizations in the community. In 2005 Phyllis was given the Trailblazer Award by the National Assocaition of Women Business Owners.
Phyllis and her husband Vince have lived in Westlake Village for the past 35 years. Phyllis has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida State University and practiced psychiatric social work before she changed careers in 1984 to cooking and teaching. Her hobbies include some gardening, needle crafts, art, music and raising Persian cats. She loves to travel and experience new cuisines and different cultures. She is in the process of writing her Let’s Get Cookin’ Memoir and another cookbook on Pressure Cooking.