Now that the days are warmer, it’s time to put away those heavy comfort-food recipes you’ve been using all winter and lighten up for spring.

Need some inspiration? Plan to attend the Taste of Home Cooking School at the News-Journal Center in Daytona BeachThursday, March 1st, where Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Eric Villegas will blend passion and skill to share the season's best recipes, tips and techniques. You also can browse our vendor area with local businesses and restaurants, sampling food and Gallo Family Vineyard sampling wine.

The Taste of Homes Cooking School, presented in conjunction with The Daytona Beach News-Journal, includes sections Taste of Home magazine readers will recognize, such as "Cook Smart," which features healthy recipes, quick dinners and ideas for getting your kids interested in cooking.

Eric Villegas conducts Cooking School shows across the country. His love of traveling to experience the flavors of different cities combined with his enthusiasm for cooking allows him to share his culinary passion with people just like you!

When did his love for the kitchen start? "Growing up, my parents loved to entertain, especially my father. He was a great cook and was always trying new recipes. Additionally, my fatherís job had our family frequently traveling to different parts of the world where we would visit local restaurants. I was mesmerized by what I saw and wanted to learn how to re-create the experience at home. I started small with breakfast dishes and soon was cooking entire meals for my family several nights a week!"

After earning a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts from Michigan State University, Eric moved to Paris where he attended LaVarenne Ecole de Cuisine and 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 owned two restaurants, written two cookbooks, and earned two regional EMMY awards for his popular television show, "Fork in the Road with Eric Villages."

When asked what his favorite parts of the Cooking School experience are, Eric replied, "I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie that is built working with the local volunteers in putting together the big show!" Eric also enjoys, "Meeting so many enthusiastic fans of Taste of Home. They inspire me with their love of cooking and support for our program."

Eric resides near Lansing, Michigan. Some of his favorite activities include spending time with his growing family, exploring regional and local foods of his beloved state of Michigan, and taking in great architecture.

Eric is looking forward to coming to the News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach. "Weíre going to have a lot of fun at this event! Trust me, you donít want to miss it!" says Eric.

More information on the show to come! But in the meantime, here's a sample:

Taste of Home Cooking School

March 1st, 2012

Time: Doors open at 4:30 p.m., show starts at 7.

Location: News-Journal Center
221 N. Beach St
Daytona Beach

Tickets are $20 each, tax included. Tickets are limited so order today!

To order tickets, call 386-681-2262 or stop by the News-Journal Office at 901 6th Street, Daytona Beach FL 32117.

For more information about the show contact Lauren L. Johnson at 386-681-2753 or e-mail: