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The real Sammy D behind Sammy D’s at Harrah’s and ‘Chow Masters’

Sam DeMarco, a/k/a Chef Sammy D, cuts the cake made for his new show "Chow Masters"
Carla Ives

Sam DeMarco, a/k/a Chef Sammy D is a busy man these days. His new show, “Chow Masters,” premiers on Tuesday, May 6, on the Travel Channel and he’s overseeing changes to Sammy D’s at Harrah’s Atlantic City, changes designed to morph the immensely popular restaurant into a gastropub. Recently, Sam took time out of his busy schedule to talk to me in the restaurant that bears his name.

Talking to Sam DeMarco is a lot of fun. You can instantly tell how much he loves food, cooking and people. This guy was in the kitchen ever since he can remember. Sam comes from a big Italian family in Brooklyn and somebody was always cooking something. To put it in Sammy D speak, “Cooking was always my thing.”

So what does Sam like to cook? A little bit of everything and anything. And while he loves Italian cooking and would someday love to have his own Italian restaurant, Sam tends to specialize in American food. Sam feels that “American food represents America,” and he is on a mission to represent the country he loves. Known as the “King of Casual,” some of his American classics are Lollipop Wings (one of the most popular items at Sammy D’s), mini-burgers and Tiny Tinis.

Sam loves people. Look up “people person” in the dictionary and you’ll find his picture. That love is very evident in his newest adventure “Chow Masters,” a new show that debuts on the Travel Channel, Tuesday, May 6, at 9 p.m. with two back-to-back half-hour episodes.

“Chow Masters” pairs Sam and lifelong pal, Hollywood director Frank Coraci on a search for America’s top three of. . . . well, everything! The two food lovers will travel America looking for the best of the best. The top three chefs will be showcased and compete for a prize of $10,000. It’s not your usual cooking show. Sam and Frank are lots of fun and the showcased specialties can be a bit unusual.

In the premier episodes, Sam and Frank go to Chicago searching for the best Windy City hot dog and then head on up to New York City in search of the best breakfast sandwich. Another upcoming episode puts our intrepid food searchers on a quest for the best taco in Austin, Texas. You just never know where these two will turn up!

Aside from the hectic pace of filming, Sam DeMarco is also heavily involved in the changes taking place at Sammy D’s. The very popular eatery is a fantastic and affordable place in Atlantic City where the whole family can dine. And now Sammy D’s will be offering after-hours dining, which will complement Atlantic City’s most popular night club, The Pool After Dark, conveniently located right across the hall.

Everyone wanted to talk to Sam, so we reluctantly said good-bye for now. After meeting him, I can assure you that you’re going to hear much, much more from this creative, fun-loving chef in the future. For now, though, we can all enjoy the food at Sammy D’s in Harrah's Atlantic City, as well as catch Sam and Frank on "Chow Masters" at 9 p.m. every Tuesday night on the Travel Channel.


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