Castroneves visits Texas, becomes a chef

CASTRONEVES SERVES AS SOUS CHEF FOR THE DAY FOR RENOWN CHEF STEPHAN PYLES AT HIS DALLAS RESTAURANT FORT WORTH, Texas (May 11, 2009) IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves added yet another title to his resume Monday sous chef for the founding ...

CASTRONEVES SERVES AS SOUS CHEF FOR THE DAY FOR RENOWN CHEF STEPHAN PYLES AT HIS DALLAS RESTAURANT

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 11, 2009) IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves added yet another title to his resume Monday sous chef for the founding father of Southwestern Cuisine, Stephan Pyles.

Castroneves was in Dallas promoting the upcoming Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway and spent the afternoon at Stephan Pyles Restaurant receiving cooking lessons from the world-renown chef. Castroneves, sporting a chef coat and officially deemed a sous chef by Pyles, learned to prepare three dishes salmon with roast banana black beans and coconut curry; chicken risotto with corn, red bell peppers and pineapple; and chocolate fondon.

"It was delicious," said Castroneves, fresh off winning the pole Saturday for the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. "I loved the coconut curry with the salmon. I'll always be a salmon fan. I love it. I think it's a great food and it's what I eat every night before I race because it's light. I loved the way Chef Stephan did it. I want the recipe!"

Castroneves, known for a sweet tooth, truly enjoyed the entrees they prepared but could not wait to taste the dessert. He was not disappointed.

"The dessert, chocolate fondon, was unbelievable. I'm not French, but it was so good even I know how to say it!" Castroneves said. "The experience was just incredible. Stephan has 25 years in the business and there is no doubt that he is absolutely phenomenal. I learned to appreciate cooking today."

Pyles is accustomed to having dignitaries and celebrities enjoying his cuisine. He has cooked for the likes of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Mikhail Gorbachev to Mick Jagger and Sharon Stone.

"Helio shows lots of promise in cooking," Pyles said. "Just like his dancing, this is just one more thing for him to conquer."

Pyles topped off the event by presenting a chocolate birthday cake to Castroneves, who turned 34 on Sunday. Castroneves returned the gesture by presenting Pyles with a Bombardier Learjet 550k chef coat that he personalized and signed as a memento of his visit.

"The only thing I am good at making at a restaurant is reservations," Castroneves joked. "This was a really fun day for me."

In conjunction with Castroneves' visit and cooking lesson, Texas Motor Speedway had a special promotion "Helio's Blue Plate Special" in which his qualifying position for the Indianapolis 500 set the pricing on a limited amount of tickets for the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 6. He qualified on the pole at Indy and that set the pricing at $1 for 300 (in tribute to his car number 3) frontstretch tickets that go on sale 9 a.m. CT Tuesday. These specially priced tickets can only be purchased by calling the TMS ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting in person. There is a limit of four tickets per customer.

"What a deal," Castroneves said. "Three hundred lucky fans will be able to purchase a ticket for $1, which is a great thing considering the economic crisis."

The Bombardier Learjet 550k race week kicks off Thursday, June 4 with practice and qualifying for the WinStar World Casino 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event as well as opening IndyCar Series practice for the Bombardier Learjet 550k. IndyCar Series qualifying will be held Friday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m. CT and will be followed by the WinStar World Casino 400 race at 8 p.m. CT. The weekend culminates Saturday, June 6 with the running of the Bombardier Learjet 550k at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Castroneves is a two-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway, winning the fall IndyCar Series race in 2004 and the Bombardier Learjet 500k in 2006.

"It's always awesome to come back to a place where you succeed," Castroneves said. "I won here twice and certainly I want to win here again. You have a really strong feeling when you have a good car and we're proving that with the two ovals that we have been to so far. I'm really excited. I'm really more confident this year and everything seems to taste a little better."

Tickets are available for each day by calling the TMS ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

-credit: -TMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves