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     About Phyllis

About Phyllis 

​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.

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Culinary Services

Private and group culinary instruction

cookbook of the month

home kitchen equipment evaluations

recipe testing for cookbooks and other media

seasonal recipes

Restaurant menu consultations

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Cookbook of the Month classes

Come cook with Phyllis!  Each month we cook a menu from a new or classic cookbook together in my kitchen in Westlake Village. Classes are hands-on and run about 3 hours with eating time. Students learn about different cuisines, ingredients, techniques and methods of cooking.

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Students from July class

Upcoming Cooking Classes



                  September Cookbook of the Month

                  Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables

  Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg

 Wednesday, September 12, 10:30 AM

                              Thursday, September 13, 6:00 PM


Joshua McFadden is the chef/owner of Ava Gene’s and Tusk in Portland, Oregon.  He has years of cooking experience

 in both New York and California at such restaurants as Blue Hill, Momofuku and the Lark Creek Inn.  He also ran the

Four Season Farm in coastal Maine, an experience that transformed his approach to cooking.  Martha  Holmberg is a

 cookbook author and former editor of Fine Cooking magazine.


    Corn and Tomato Salad with Torn Croutons

               Potatoes and Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Olives,Feta and Arugula

            Rigatoni and Eggplant alla Norma

                      Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, Jojos and Zucchini Pickles

                 Parsnip, Date and Hazelnut Loaf Cake with Meyer Lemon Glaze


     October Cookbook of the Month

         Feast: Food of the Islamic World

                   Anissa Helou

         Wednesday,October 10, 10:30 AM

          Thursday, October 11, 6:00 PM

Anissa Helou is a Lebanese born chef, food writer and journalist who has focused on the cuisines and culinary heritage of the Middle East,

 Mediterranean and North Africa. She is the author of several award winning cookbooks including Sweet Middle East, Levant,

Modern Mezze and Savory Baking from the Mediterranean.  Feast is a comprehensive cookbook with a huge range of recipes from the Muslim world

including Egypt, Syria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, etc.


                          Turkish Saj Boreks with Spinach and Cheese Filling

 Mario Haddad’s Lebanese Fattoush with Po, Modern Mezze andmegranate and Mint Dressing

         Moroccan Sweet-Savory Lamb Tagine for Eid El Kbir .with Honey, Almonds and Raisins

Egyptian Koshari with  Lentils, Vermicelli, Rice, Chickpeas and Tomatoes

                                 Arabian Date Ice Cream with Pistachios


Feedback from Students

Hi Phyllis,

Again, thank you so much for the class last Friday morning. It was just so much fun!  Your kitchen is fabulous and just perfect for small group cooking classes.  

You are a wonderful teacher.

Michelle Pathman

Dear Phyllis, 

I really enjoyed the class at your home.

You made us all feel really welcome. As you know, I don't normally like hands-on classes, but i enjoyed this one.  It was the perfect balance of already prepped ingredients and what was left for us to do.  I enjoyed the intimate size of the class and that we had the chance to get to know each other over lunch at your dining room table.

Mary Jung

Dear Phyllis,

I really enjoyed the pressure cooking class today.  Everything was delicious. I am so happy to have a new tool in my kitchen that I  now feel comfortable using.  I cannot wait for your cookbook.  Your guidance and wisdom will make a lot of converts.

Thank you so much.

Mary Anne

August Cookbook of the Month


August Cookbook of the Month

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food:My  Journey Back to Israel

Alon Shaya

Wednesday, August 15, 10:30 AM

Thursday, August 16, 6:00 PM

Alon Shaya is a two time James Beard Award winning chef who founded Shaya, his namesake restaurant, Domenica and Pizza Domenica, all in New Orleans.  His culinary journey begins in Israel and winds its way from Philadelphia to Italy back to Israel and New Orleans.  His recipes reflect this new Southern-Israeli-Italian cuisine and are quite inspiring.


Fried Eggplant with Caramelized Tomato and Goat Cheese

Bresaola Salad with Arugula and Parmesan

Crabcakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli

Israeli Couscous with Summer Vegetables

Peach and Mascarpone HamantashenIf customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.

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1106 Glenbridge Circle, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA 91361, US

(818) 469-6280