Fake Celeb Chef Scams 300 in NJ

Police say the man, claiming to be from the Food Network, sold tickets to a celebrity chef event that never was.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Anybody can pose as a celebrity chef these days, but not knowing the basics of cooking might tip the public off.

    Leonard Reubeck, 20, of New Castle, Delaware was arrested on Wednesday, after police say he posed as a Food Network chef and scammed 300 people out of money.

    They say he sold tickets for $35 a pop for what he claimed to be a Food Network event in Carney’s Point, N.J. on July 16, Today's Sunbeam reports.

    The faux-star promoted the Food Network’s "Dinner Impossible BBQ,” an event that the TV station was allegedly hosting at the Carney’s Point firehouse. Ruebeck told others that the event would feature guests like Bobby Flay, Robert Irvine, Paul Deen and Rachael Ray, according to the paper.

    Police say that promotion for the event began in May when Reubeck, otherwise known as "Chef Lenny," was teaching a cooking class. During the course, Reubeck said he was a Food Network chef and convinced others by wearing a Food Network chef’s jacket and a medallion that he allegedly won during a made-up appearance on the show “Iron Chef,” according to the Sunbeam.

    “Something just didn’t seem right during the classes when he didn’t have any of the basic skills a chef should have,” one student, Theresa Press, told the paper.

    That's when Press went to police and reported Chef Lenny. After an investigation, Reubeck's lies unfolded and he and his cohorts -- a fake production assistant and fake sous chef -- were questioned.

    All admitted their wrongdoings.

    Ruebeck was released after reimbursing customers nearly $10,000 in ticket costs and officials say criminal charges will not be filed.