Meet Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Eric Villegas! Eric conducts Cooking School shows throughout the country, from California to New Jersey! “I thoroughly enjoy meeting so many enthusiastic fans of Taste of Home. They inspire me with their love and cooking and support for our program,” exclaims Eric. “I also really enjoy the camaraderie that is built working with the local volunteers in putting together the big show.”
Eric currently resides with his wife and daughter near Lansing, Michigan. Eric studied liberal arts at Michigan State University and, after that, he moved to France where he attended Anne Willan’s LaVarenne Ecole de Cuisine and Steven Spurrier’s Academie du Vin. After two years abroad, Eric returned to the States and continued his studies at the New England Culinary Institute. During his long and successful career, Eric has opened two restaurants, written two cookbooks, and earned two regional EMMY awards for his popular television show, “Fork in the Road with Eric Villegas.” When not putting on award-winning quality Cooking School shows, Eric enjoys spending time with his growing family, exploring regional and local foods of his beloved state of Michigan, and taking in great architecture.
To learn more about Eric, take a look at some of his answers to questions below!
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know? At the ripe age of 51, I just had my first child, a beautiful baby girl, Sophia Ann Villegas.
If we were to open your refrigerator at home, what would we find? Not a lot of anything. I like to do my grocery shopping daily.
What is your favorite quote? “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” — Carl Sagan
How did you develop your passion for cooking/food? My passion for cooking and food comes from my family. Growing up in a Bolivian household gave me a wide and varied palette. And my father’s love of great food and wine opened it up even more.
What is your favorite thing to cook versus your favorite thing to eat? I love cooking fish and shell fish since they generally cook very fast. My all time favorite food to eat is real American slow cooked pork and beef barbecue. Yum!
You spend so much time traveling the country: what are some of your favorite places to stop and eat? I love finding local haunts that are still serving the great classic foods of America, like everything from kool-aid pickles in the deep south to “pasties” in northern Michigan.
What was your favorite food growing up? I loved fried chicken and continue to crave it to this day! And potato chips! Love me sum tater chips!
Who was the cook in your house growing up? What was your father’s/mother’s favorite dish to make? Originally it was my mother but my father took over quite a few times and was an amazing cook. I loved his ceviché of ultra fresh Lake Michigan whitefish. We had it every time we vacationed at our second home at the “tip of the mitt” on Lake Michigan.