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Trumbull News Detail

Cleveland Chef Rocco Whalen to Speak at Kent State About His Journey, Love for Inventing New Cuisine

Posted Mar. 25, 2014

Former “Fat Chef” Rocco Whalen of Cleveland’s Fahrenheit restaurant will speak about his journey as a chef and his love for inventing and sustaining American cuisine on Thursday, April 17, at 4 p.m. in the Ritchie Hall Theater at Kent State University. This free event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Schwebel Baking Company. It is organized by the faculty and students in the Hospitality Management program at Kent State.

Photo of Rocco Whalen - photo credit Downie PhotographyWhalen credits his mother for his love of cooking. He has evolved from his mother’s kitchen to owning several restaurants in the Cleveland area. After five years of cooking with Wolfgang Puck at nearly every one of his restaurants on the West Coast, to a stint as executive chef at Blue Point Grille in Cleveland in 2001, he jumped at the chance to open his own restaurant, Fahrenheit, in September 2002, at the age of 24. From the get-go, Fahrenheit has been an enormous success with a packed house on a regular basis, helping Whalen emerge as one of the best chefs in Cleveland. He has been busy showing off his culinary skills with Rosie & Rocco’s Italian Eateries inside the Horseshoe Casino and FirstEnergy Stadium, and Rocco’s at the Q inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Whalen’s latest addition, “Fahren-Lite,” are new menu items that are light in calories and fat; a deliberate spin-off of Whalen’s role in the Food Network show, “The Fat Chef,” that highlighted what he did to overcome his struggle with obesity. He lost 130 pounds and is updating his menus to fit his new lifestyle.

Whalen had been asked to open a spectacular new restaurant located atop a 20-story, mixed-use high-rise, dubbed Skye (www.SKYEcondos.com) in downtown Charlotte, N.C. Fahrenheit-Charlotte opened there on March 3. For more information about Whalen, visit www.chefroccowhalen.com.

For more information about a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management or a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from Kent State, visit www.kent.edu/ehhs/hm.

For more information about the 2014 Schwebel Lecture, call 330-672-2012.

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Photo Caption:
Chef Rocco Whalen of Cleveland’s Fahrenheit restaurant will speak about his journey as a chef and his love for inventing and sustaining American cuisine on Thursday, April 17, at 4 p.m. at Kent State University. (Photo credit: Downie Photography)

Media Note:
If you would like to request an interview with Rocco Whalen at Kent State before the event, please contact Swathi Ravichandran at 330-672-7314.

Media Contacts:
Swathi Ravichandran, sravicha@kent.edu, 330-672-7314
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595