Superstar British DJ Paul Oakenfold typically stands behind turntables, not in front of burners. He also typically plies his trade in front of thousands—if not tens of thousands—of sweaty, gyrating bodies. So attendees of chef Geno Bernardo’s cooking class at Nove Italiano restaurant inside the Palms Casino Resort can be forgiven if they were a bit confused by the presence, in chef’s whites, of the man who has worked with Madonna and remixed Radiohead.
As it turns out, Oakenfold’s DJ career took off only after he spent five years studying at Westminster in his native England and some gigs as a chef, including at the legendary Savoy. He’s a certified Cordon Bleu chef who still has a deep appreciation for the kitchen. That’s why he agreed to step out of the Palms’ DJ booth—he has a residency at Rain Nightclub—to get behind the stove alongside Chef Geno this past Saturday night. After, Oakenfold took time out from his jet-setting schedule to talk to Food Republic.
First, we’d love to know how this came to be: Paul Oakenfold co-hosting a cooking class?!
I think the initial invite confused a lot of people who thought I was creating music or actually performing at a cooking class. Haha. I was actually co-hosting the cooking class alongside my good friend Chef Geno Bernardo. He is the executive chef at Nove Italiano in The Palms Casino & Resort, where I have my Perfecto residency at Rain Nightclub. The Palms heard about my culinary training back in the UK and contacted me to see if I’d be interested and I thought it would be a fun event to be a part of.
What were the discussions like between you and Chef Geno Bernardo going into this?
Chef Geno and I spoke in advance about the direction of the cooking class and the menu. Like most performances, you need to prepare in advance your ingredients and vibe. I just usually do it with music.
How was the vibe of the class, and like what kind of people came? Mostly women, or men, or both?
The vibe was amazing. It was a mixture of both men and women. Some of the those attending were fans; there were a few people who traveled from Australia; and some who were there strictly due to an interest in cooking and wanting to take a class. Some foodies were definitely present. I think they were checking out my skills quite frankly.
Did you actually do any cooking?
Haha we were only cooking in the class, I didn’t spin. But we did give everyone a copy of my Perfecto Vegas album to rock out.
What about the food. How was it?
The food was wonderful! It was based on a traditional English roast dinner and it came out absolutely fantastic. We had a 5-course meal that everyone found quite assessible to recreate at home. Some of the Brits that came commented on how the roast made them feel like they were back at family dinner. That was the best compliment.
Any plans to do more things like this, or any final thoughts about how it went?
I thought the event went really well. I am passionate about my music and my food. If the right opportunity comes about in the future, I’ll definitely consider it.