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Cassill cooks up different kind of Vegas win

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 29. 2008) – Landon Cassill is one of the few who can truthfully say he left Las Vegas a winner.

Cassill, 18, won the Third Annual Raybestos® Rookie Cooking Challenge Thursday afternoon at ESPN Zone on the world famous Las Vegas Strip. He created a delicious serving of chicken pesto penne pasta that wowed the judges – 25 members of the Las Vegas Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“I think it was my superior cooking skills,” Cassill said with a laugh. “It was great to see a bunch of kids out there on Thursday.  It was really neat to see them out there supporting racing and hanging out with the ESPN folks and cooking, having some good food and playing some video games. It was fun.  I’d definitely come back. It was cool.”

Drivers Cale Gale and Michael McDowell joined Cassill for the competition and learned cooking tricks of the trade from ESPN Zone Executive Chef Tom Keaveny. The event was an “Iron Chef” style competition featuring healthy cooking tips and recipes with friendly competition. Immediately following the competition, the drivers and kids enjoyed fun and games in the ESPN Zone’s Sports Arena.

“This is an excellent opportunity, whether they want to be a chef or a race car driver,” Yvette Baca-Kehoe of the Las Vegas Boys and Girls Clubs said. “It gives them hopes that there is something that they can do and do well. For the kids to be able to see some young race car drivers be able to cook and learn about how to eat healthy and how to properly prepare certain items is very important.” 

ESPN Zone chefs have conducted similar classes for many professional teams, including the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Washington Wizards and Colorado Rockies.

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