Show 273, May 12, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a sinful preview of this Saturday’s appropriately decadent show. We’re in fabulous Las Vegas…It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Vegas Uncork'dWe’re live from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Resort for today’s special show. It’s Vegas Uncork’d Weekend here and the mega-star celebrity chefs with high-profile restaurants in Sin City are in town for the four days of extensive festivities.

As part of the first evening of Vegas Uncorked The Chefs of Thomas Keller Present a French Soiree”. It sold out right away. The two lead chefs are Chef de Cuisine Josh Crain of Bouchon Las Vegas and Chef de Cuisine Matt Alba of Ad Hoc and Addendum in Yountville, CA. Chef Josh joins us.

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo skillfully merges classic steakhouse with innovative and unique culinary techniques. It’s all enhanced by more than 60 wines-by-the-glass and more than 400 varieties of French and California wine-by-the-bottle. Our guest is Lou Hirsch, the General Manager, known in Vegas for his gracious hospitality.

John Kunkel, owner and founder of 50 Eggs Inc.’s newest concept Chica Las Vegas at The Venetian delivers the robust and vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program. Crafted by celebrity Latina chef Lorena Garcia, the diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions and provides guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture, with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more. Chef Lorena pops out of the busy Chica kitchen to chat.

Veteran Las Vegas insider and widely-followed food journalist Al Mancini works alongside The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s long-time restaurant critic Heidi Knapp Rinella. As a Staff Writer he covers the burgeoning food scene in Las Vegas both in the print and online versions of the daily newspaper. Al also posts food & libation related videos. We pull him away from the Vegas Uncork’d festivities for an update.

Juyoung Kang is the lead bartender at The Dorsey at The Venetian. She was the Nevada Restaurant Association’s Bartender of the Year in 2015. For Vegas Uncork’d she stars in Saturday afternoon’s “Behind the Bar: Learn the Craft of Cocktailing with Masters of the Bar at The Venetian & The Palazzo.” We’re shaking craft cocktails with Juyoung.

For the 3rd time in the show’s history we’re happily broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It’s a sport’s fan’s and foodies’ paradise. Lagasse’s Stadium is the ultimate sports bar: a restaurant with stadium-seating featuring elevated game-time classics and gourmet options from Emeril Lagasse. Robert DeLillo, the Executive Sous Chef for Exec Scott Pajak is our guest.

Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Las Vegas is a truly special dining experience. General Manager Aaron Pannell who is responsible for managing all aspects of the restaurant and related Bouchon Bakery joins us.

All of this and much more deliciousness on today’s overflowing show!

Play

Show 273, May 12, 2018: Executive Sous Chef Robert DeLillo, Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo

Robert DeLilloFor the 3rd time in the show’s history we’re happily broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It’s a sport’s fan’s and foodies’ paradise. Lagasse’s Stadium is the ultimate sports bar: a restaurant with stadium-seating featuring elevated game-time classics and gourmet options from Emeril Lagasse.

Lagasse’s Stadium combines Emeril Lagasse’s signature cuisine and kicked-up game day eats with more than 100 HD TVs including a 9 foot x 16 foot main TV, luxury boxes, plush stadium-style seating, billiard tables, and an expanded 1,800 square foot outdoor patio just steps from the Strip.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights are the unlikely sports darlings of this hockey season. They are now, unbelievably, well on their way towards possibly competing for the coveted Stanley Cup. There are also Golden Knights specials on the Lagasse Stadium menu. Think Golden Tater Puffs. It’s “Poutine Style” tots topped with savory brown gravy, shredded beef brisket and Pepper Jack cheese.

Robert DeLillo, the Executive Sous Chef for Exec Scott Pajak is our guest.

Play

May 12: Live from Vegas Uncork’d and Lagasse’s Stadium

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Josh Crain, Chef de Cuisine, Bouchon Las Vegas
Segment Three: Lou Hirsch, General Manager, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo Resort
Segment Four: Miami’s Lorena Garcia, Executive Chef, Chica at The Venetian Resort
Segment Five: Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Segment Six: Celebrity Mixologist Juyoung Kang, Head Bartender, The Dorsey at The Venetian
Segment Seven: Executive Sous Chef Robert DeLillo, Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo
Segment Eight: Aaron Pannell, General Manager, Bouchon Las Vegas and Bouchon Bakery

Now a sinful preview of this Saturday’s appropriately decadent show. We’re in fabulous Las Vegas…It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Vegas Uncork'dWe’re live from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Resort for today’s special show. It’s Vegas Uncork’d Weekend here and the mega-star celebrity chefs with high-profile restaurants in Sin City are in town for the four days of extensive festivities.

As part of the first evening of Vegas Uncork’d “The Chefs of Thomas Keller Present a French Soiree”. It sold out right away. The two lead chefs are Chef de Cuisine Josh Crain of Bouchon Las Vegas and Chef de Cuisine Matt Alba of Ad Hoc and Addendum in Yountville, CA. Chef Josh joins us.

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo skillfully merges classic steakhouse with innovative and unique culinary techniques. It’s all enhanced by more than 60 wines-by-the-glass and more than 400 varieties of French and California wine-by-the-bottle. Our guest is Lou Hirsch, the General Manager, known in Vegas for his gracious hospitality.

John Kunkel, owner and founder of 50 Eggs Inc.’s newest concept Chica Las Vegas at The Venetian delivers the robust and vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program. Crafted by celebrity Latina chef Lorena Garcia, the diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions and provides guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture, with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more. Chef Lorena pops out of the busy Chica kitchen to chat.

Juyoung Kang is the lead bartender at The Dorsey at The Venetian. She was the Nevada Restaurant Association’s Bartender of the Year in 2015. For Vegas Uncork’d she is starring in Saturday afternoon’s “Behind the Bar: Learn the Craft of Cocktailing with Masters of the Bar at The Venetian & The Palazzo.” We’re shaking craft cocktails with Juyoung.

A new quality burger concept (originating in New York in 2015) Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is on its way to an eagerly anticipated West Coast launch at Downtown Disney. Meanwhile you can experience Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Think perfectly outrageous shakes, too. They are also part of Vegas Uncork’d festivities on this Saturday evening, May 12th. We’ll chat with Founder Joe Isidori, a 3rd generation chef.

For the 3rd time in the show’s history we’re happily broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It’s a sport’s fan’s and foodies’ paradise. Lagasse’s Stadium is the ultimate sports bar: a restaurant with stadium-seating featuring elevated game-time classics and gourmet options from Emeril Lagasse. Robert DeLillo, the Executive Sous Chef for Exec Scott Pajak is our guest.

Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Las Vegas is a truly special dining experience. General Manager Aaron Pannell who is responsible for managing all aspects of the restaurant and related Bouchon Bakery joins us.

Josh CrainAs part of the first evening of Vegas Uncork’d The Chefs of Thomas Keller Present a French Soiree”. It sold out right away. The two lead chefs are Chef de Cuisine Josh Crain of Bouchon Las Vegas and Chef de Cuisine Matt Alba of Ad Hoc and Addendum in Yountville, CA. Chef Josh joins us.

“Tucked away in the Venezia Tower sits Bouchon by Thomas Keller, a chef whose French cuisine has won almost every award possible: Michelin Stars, James Beard Foundation, and what Anthony Bourdain called “the best restaurant, ever.” Now you don’t have to go to French Laundry in Yountville to taste his genius — a modern take on French cuisine. Sunday brunch is the standout here, set in the sunlit bustling bistro or al fresco on the patio. An oyster bar that begins at 3 p.m. is the perfect setting for an afternoon with a bottle of rosé poolside. Of all the French restaurants Las Vegas offers, Bouchon is at the top of the must-visit list.”

Having worked so long at the original Bouchon in Yountville, Chef Josh brings to Bouchon Las Vegas an understanding of the restaurant’s sensibility and the importance of making time for meals to be a special occasion.

Louis HirschMorels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo skillfully merges classic steakhouse with innovative and unique culinary techniques.

Highlights include an iced seafood bar and a cheese and charcuterie bar with more than 60 farmhouse and artisanal cheeses from around the world with handmade salamis and meats.

It’s all enhanced by more than 60 wines-by-the-glass and more than 400 varieties of French and California wine-by-the-bottle.

With both wet-and dry-aged steaks as well as a sinful array of desserts, the Las Vegas steakhouse menu also includes a myriad of tasty and colorful handcrafted cocktails that Thrillist says distinguishes Morels as one of the “40 best steak restaurants in Las Vegas.” Outdoor patio seating provides stunning views of the Las Vegas Strip.

Our guest is Lou Hirsch, the General Manager, known for in Vegas gracious hospitality.

Lorena GarciaJohn Kunkel, owner and founder of 50 Eggs Inc.’s newest concept Chica Las Vegas at The Venetian delivers the robust and vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program.

Crafted by celebrity Latina chef Lorena Garcia, the diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions and provides guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture, with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more.

Boasting the first Latina chef on the Las Vegas Strip, Chica promises to delight its diners with an astounding array of amazing dishes. Each and every bit of culturally unique food finds its pedigree equally in the homes of Peru or El Salvador as it does in the top restaurants of Mexico or Argentina.

The home cooking that is enjoyed by the people of Central and South America finds a home here in Chef Garcia’s kitchen, enhanced and made even more vibrant for Chica. Latin Fusion cuisine is Chef Garcia’s forte, and it shows: appetizers, main courses, desserts, and even the libations are specially crafted for their heritage and made to fit the modern, dynamic venue of Chica.

Chef Lorena pops out of the busy Chica kitchen to chat.

Juyoung KangJuyoung Kang is the high-profile lead bartender at The Dorsey at The Venetian. She was the Nevada Restaurant Association’s Bartender of the Year in 2015. For Vegas Uncork’d she is starring in Saturday afternoon’s “Behind the Bar: Learn the Craft of Cocktailing with Masters of the Bar at The Venetian & The Palazzo.”

Stunning design and true cocktail culture have found a memorable new home in The Dorsey. At The Dorsey old school service standards and superb cocktail craft live within a thoughtfully designed enclave of warmth, ease, and comfort.

The Dorsey is bold and versatile. Drop by for effortless conversation with cocktail classics or settle in for the evening, to make new acquaintances, over shareable craft punch bowls. “The Penicillin” is a signature favorite, identified by The New York Times as one of eleven essential drinks of the modern cocktail revival.

Stop by later in the night and experience live curated music by renowned DJs who spin old school classics and newer tunes that fit the vibe.

We’re shaking craft cocktails with Juyoung.

Joe IsidoriA new quality burger concept (originating in New York in 2015) Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is on its way to an eagerly anticipated West Coast launch at Downtown Disney. Meanwhile you can experience Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Think perfectly outrageous shakes, too.

They are also part of Vegas Uncork’d festivities on Saturday evening, May 12th.

“Kick it late night at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer for a night of burgers, beats, and of course, shakes on Saturday evening, May 12th., Join Chef/Owner Joe Isidori and chow down on Black Tap’s award-winning craft burgers, and for one-time-only, create your very own CrazyShake™ milkshake. With a curated list of specialty “Vegas Uncork’d” ingredients, guests can let their imagination and taste buds go wild with a custom shake. For those ready to show their talents, there’ll be a lip-sync battle to wow the crowds with your favorite 80s pop and 90s hip hop, including special prizes! Attendees will sample mouthwatering snacks, burgers, and signature cocktails with a live DJ spinning tunes to keep the vibes pumping.”

We’ll meet Founder & Chef Joe Isidori, a 3rd generation chef.

Robert DeLilloFor the 3rd time in the show’s history we’re happily broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It’s a sport’s fan’s and foodies’ paradise. Lagasse’s Stadium is the ultimate sports bar: a restaurant with stadium-seating featuring elevated game-time classics and gourmet options from Emeril Lagasse.

Lagasse’s Stadium combines Emeril Lagasse’s signature cuisine and kicked-up game day eats with more than 100 HD TVs including a 9 foot x 16 foot main TV, luxury boxes, plush stadium-style seating, billiard tables, and an expanded 1,800 square foot outdoor patio just steps from the Strip.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights are the unlikely sports darlings of this hockey season. They are now, unbelievably, well on their way towards possibly competing for the coveted Stanley Cup. There are also Golden Knights specials on the Lagasse Stadium menu.

Robert DeLillo, the Executive Sous Chef for Exec Scott Pajak is our guest.

Aaron PannellThomas Keller’s Bouchon Las Vegas is a truly special dining experience. General Manager Aaron Pannell who is responsible for managing all aspects of the restaurant and related Bouchon Bakery joins us.

It’s a spectacular location for Weekend brunch on the lushly landscaped patio looking over the rooftop pool in the Venezia tower.

Known for its artisanal breads and traditional French desserts, Bouchon Bakery (2 locations at The Venetian) offers handmade viennoiserie, confections, pastries, tarts and cookies, as well as sandwiches and salads made in-house daily.

Espresso drinks and coffee custom-blended by Chef Keller’s longtime partner Equator Coffees & Teas, are offered year-round.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Josh Crain, Chef de Cuisine, Bouchon Las Vegas
Segment Three: Lou Hirsch, General Manager, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo Resort
Segment Four: Miami’s Lorena Garcia, Executive Chef, Chica at The Venetian Resort
Segment Five: Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Segment Six: Celebrity Mixologist Juyoung Kang, Head Bartender, The Dorsey at The Venetian
Segment Seven: Executive Sous Chef Robert DeLillo, Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo
Segment Eight: Aaron Pannell, General Manager, Bouchon Las Vegas and Bouchon Bakery

Show 269, April 14, 2018: Vegas Uncork’d Preview with Susan Feniger

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernCongratulations to Susan Feniger & Mary Sue Mlliken on being honored with the 2018 Gold Award by the Los Angeles Times.

The 12th Vegas Uncork’d is in the horizon for the fabled Las Vegas Strip the Weekend of May 10th thru Sunday, May 13. It’s a foodies paradise as most celebrity chefs represented on The Strip will be hosting an incredible assortment of high profile, one-of-a-kind food & libation events. Joining us to preview her pair of Vegas Uncork’d celebrations is Susan Feniger of Border Grill fame.

We’ll be there in the heart of the action, too, broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo Resort on Saturday May 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon.

Susan’s first event is Tequila & Salsa With Susan Feniger” on Thursday, May 10th from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Border Grill at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

“The perfect event for tequila and taco lovers alike, or anyone who loves a good time. Join Too Hot Tamale and celebrity chef Susan Feniger for an exhilarating evening at Border Grill. Enjoy unlimited signature tacos, ceviches, seafood cocktails, top-shelf tequila cocktails, and a salsa dance lesson to get everyone moving on the dance floor!”

Susan’s 2nd Uncorked event is Master Series – Women’s Power Lunch & Conversation” on Saturday, May 12th from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Border Grill, Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

“This lunch is unlike anything you’ve experienced before! Get up close and personal with chefs Susan Feniger, Christina Tosi, Elizabeth Blau, Saipin Chutima, Nicole Brisson, and others at Border Grill in The Forum Shops for a panel discussion and lunch celebrating all things female! Guests will indulge in a delicious meal prepared by a team of all-women chefs, sip on curated wines from female winemakers, and indulge in tastings of top-shelf tequila from a women-operated distillery in this first-ever event at Vegas Uncork’d.”

Border Grill Mandalay Bay (the original) is represented in The Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace on Friday evening, May 11th.

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Show 201, December 10, 2016: Chef Scott Pajak, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Scott PajakScott Pajak is the Chef de Cuisine at the high volume Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It sets the standard for Sports Bars in Sin City. He’s been with Emeril Lagasse since 2002 and was promoted to his current position in May of 2011.

Growing up in Lancaster, NY, Scott Pajak could often be found in the kitchen – cooking chicken noodle soup and sauces with his grandparents, or helping his dad tend the grill and savoring the smoky aroma of barbecue.

While studying at UNLV, he worked in numerous restaurants around Las Vegas, including Planet Hollywood, New York New York Casino and TPC Country Club, where he prepared meals for participants on the PGA Tour.

In 2002, Pajak entered the kitchen at Emeril Lagasse’s seafood eatery Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House as a line cook. Over the next 9 years, he would work in nearly every position in Lagasse’s kitchen, from saucier to butcher, eventually rising to the post of sous chef. He helped write the restaurant’s daily menus and showed off his creativity as he cooked for guests at the chef’s kitchen table.

For Monday Night Football Chef Scott adds nightly specials creatively themed to the cities of the teams playing. For “Big Game” Sunday viewing Chef Scott is featuring a Tomahawk Bone-In 32 oz. Ribeye with Mashed Potatoes. The guest can kick it up with the addition of Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions, Sauteed Lump Crabmeat, Seared Foie Gras, Sauteed Lobster Meat or Alaskan Mini Crab Legs.

Chef Scott also has appealing specials for Christmas Eve & Day 2016 as well for New Year’s Eve.

Bring on the kicked-up wings and we’ll talk hearty tailgate food (and more) with Chef Scott.

Play

December 10: Live from Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo Las Vegas

Podcasts

Segment One: Daniel and Georges Daou, DAOU Vineyards & Winery
Segment Two: Young Yun, Executive Director, Mentor BKB Foundation
Segment Three: Mourad Lahlou, Owner / Chef, Mourad and Aziza, San Francisco
Segment Four: Paul Bartolotta, Executive Chef / Proprietor, The Bartolotta Restaurants
Segment Five: Chef Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger, Blue Dragon and Public Television’s “Simply Ming”
Segment Six: Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef, Aquavit, New York
Segment Seven: Chef Curtis Stone, Maude in Beverly Hills & Gwen in Hollywood
Segment Eight: Chef Scott Pajak, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceWe’re in fabulous Las Vegas on Saturday coming to you from the radio studio at Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo on the fabled Strip.

We’re here for the 4th annual Ultimo: Le Grand Voyage, The Venetian’s and The Palazzo’s ultra-extravagant, dream food and wine weekend for 140 discriminating foodies. It’s so anticipated the food, wine and libation spectacular always sells out within a couple of days of being announced.

On to a tasty preview of Saturday’s show…

Ultimo: Le Grand Voyage shouts out for incredible wines. Each year The Grand Banquet is the stellar dining experience of the Weekend festivities with courses prepared by big-name celebrity chefs. Brothers Daniel and Georges Daou of DAOU Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles will debut their Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon at The Grand Banquet. We’ll uncork it with them.

Young Yun is the Executive Director of the Ment’or BKB Foundation in New York, a charitable beneficiary of Ultimo Weekend. Ment’or is a leading nonprofit organization devoted to INSPIRING CULINARY EXCELLENCE in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. Will get an update from Young on the Foundation’s busy year.

Considered by many as the pioneer of modern Moroccan cuisine in the United States, the James Beard award-nominated Mourad Lahlou (San Francisco’s Aziza and Mourad) never envisioned becoming a world-famous chef. Chef Mourad is one of the celebrity chefs preparing a course for The Grand Banquet of Ultimo Weekend at The Venetian. He’ll lift the lid on the tagine for us.

Paul Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants is a two-time, James Beard Award-winner for culinary excellence. He’s best known in Las Vegas for creating the memorable Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 which redefined high end Italian cuisine with seafood as its center. (Chef Paul is no longer associated with the renamed and repositioned restaurant as of the end of 2015.) Paul is our guest.

The Boston area’s Ming Tsai is one of the distinguished, high-profile, celebrity chefs preparing Ultimo Weekend’s Grand Banquet at the Venetian. You know Chef Ming from Food TV including his long-running acclaimed series for Public Television, “Simply Ming.” His popular restaurants in the greater Boston area are the long-running Blue Ginger and the more recent, Blue Dragon. We’ll meet him.

Aquavit, a landmark New York-based fine dining establishment featuring the cuisine of Sweden is a classic. In the Spring of 2014 their former Pastry Chef, Emma Bengtsson, was unusually elevated to the Executive Chef there post by proprietor Hakan Swahn. We’ll hear Emma’s incredible story.

Melbourne-born Chef Curtis Stone now resides in Los Angeles. In addition to being all over Food TV (“Kitchen Inferno” and the upcoming “My Kitchen Rules” on Fox), Chef Curtis has the intimate Maude in Beverly Hills and Gwen (also a butcher shop) in Hollywood. Chef Curtis, also a participating chef in The Grand Banquet, joins us.

Scott Pajak is the Chef de Cuisine at the high-volume Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. He’s been with Emeril Lagasse since 2002 and was promoted to his current position in May of 2011. Bring on the kicked-up wings and we’ll talk hearty tailgate fare (and more) with Chef Scott.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Daniel DaouUltimo: Le Grand Voyage calls for incredible wines. Each year The Grand Banquet is the stellar dining experience of the Weekend festivities with courses prepared by huge celebrity chefs. Brothers Daniel and Georges Daou of DAOU Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles will debut their Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon at The Grand Banquet. We’ll chat with them.

DAOU Estate Collection wines are made from the finest vineyard blocks on Daou Mountain and aged extensively in hand-selected custom-crafted, new French oak barrels. These wines showcase the visionary talent of Winemaker Daniel Daou, and embody DAOU’s mission to produce first-growth Cabernet Sauvignon from the unrivaled terroir of DAOU Mountain.

DAOU Reserve Collection wines are made from premium fruit sourced from DAOU Mountain as well as select Paso Robles vineyards. Throughout the growing season, Daniel Daou is actively involved in the management of these vineyards to ensure the highest quality. These wines are distinguished by signature qualities of grace and structure.

Young YunYoung Yun is the Executive Director of the Ment’or BKB Foundation in New York, a charitable beneficiary of Ultimo Weekend. Ment’or is a leading nonprofit organization devoted to INSPIRING CULINARY EXCELLENCE in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America.

“Our aim is to build a sustainable community of young American professionals that are knowledgeable and confident in their career pursuits and will be life-long ambassadors of quality and excellence in the world of gastronomy. The organization is dedicated to making the careers of serious young individuals more meaningful and successful by offering them unique educational opportunities, internships and access to a Culinary Council of established mentors.”

Will get an update from Young on the Foundation’s busy year supporting Team USA for the upcoming Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Challenge in Lyon and Ment’or’s Young Chef and Commis Competition.

Mourad LahlouConsidered by many as the pioneer of modern Moroccan cuisine in the United States, the James Beard award-nominated Mourad Lahlou (San Francisco’s Aziza and Mourad) never envisioned becoming a world-famous chef. Chef Mourad is one of the celebrity chefs preparing a course for The Grand Banquet of Ultimo Weekend at The Venetian. He’ll lift the lid on the tagine for us.

The Marrakesh native immigrated to the United States when he was 20 years old to pursue a master’s degree in economics. Missing his country’s cuisine, Lahlou taught himself how to recreate versions of his favorite Moroccan dishes with local ingredients using his own inventive techniques. Most of the lessons he learned about food came from his mother, who cooked traditional Moroccan recipes, and grandfather, who took him to the markets.

Chef Mourad’s strikingly modern reinventions of traditional Moroccan dishes are all about showcasing the great flavors of his native cuisine in ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients available in Northern California. “I’m not sure I would even call it a Moroccan restaurant anymore,” he says. Like his jet-black tattoos, Lahlou’s food and restaurants reveal a very personal story, one rooted both in San Francisco and abroad, and recount the memories that have inspired his life’s work.

Paul BartolottaPaul Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants is a two-time, James Beard Award-winner for culinary excellence. He’s best known in Las Vegas for creating the memorable Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 which redefined high end Italian cuisine with seafood as its center. (Chef Paul is no longer associated with the renamed and repositioned restaurant as of the end of 2015.)

Joe and Paul Bartolotta grew up in a traditional Italian family in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Along with siblings, Maria and Felicia, they enjoyed large gatherings centered around unbelievably good food and plenty of love. In 1993, Joe and Paul collaborated to realize their dream of creating signature restaurants in Milwaukee. Paying homage to the family name, Ristorante Bartolotta opened in March of 1993. Embracing the culinary concept of “cucina rustica,” the restaurant offers simple, traditional Italian dishes using the freshest ingredients available.

In 1995, the company opened a second restaurant: Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro, a spacious, brasserie-style restaurant, focusing on casual and authentic French cuisine. After Lake Park Bistro earned a four-star review, Joe became Milwaukee’s first “eight-star general,” a restaurateur with two top-rated restaurants to his name. Lake Park Bistro was recognized in 2008 when Executive Chef Adam Siegel won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest.

Over the next two decades, The Bartolotta Restaurants added a variety of fine dining and casual concepts to its portfolio. Joe, Paul and The Bartolotta Restaurants family will continue to grow their lineup of distinguished Southeastern Wisconsin venues and look forward to potential expansion throughout the Midwest.

Chef Paul is our guest.

Ming TsaiThe Boston area’s Ming Tsai is one of the distinguished, high-profile, celebrity chefs preparing Ultimo Weekend’s Grand Banquet at the Venetian. You know Chef Ming from Food TV including his long-running acclaimed series for Public Television, Simply Ming.” His popular restaurants in the greater Boston area are the long-running Blue Ginger and the more recent, Blue Dragon. We’ll meet him.

“Ming’s love of cooking was forged in his early years. Ming was raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he spent hours cooking alongside his mother and father at Mandarin Kitchen, the family-owned restaurant. His experience also taught him about restaurant operations and the art of making customers happy.”

“Ming headed east to attend school at Phillips Academy Andover. From there, Ming continued to Yale Universityearning his degree in Mechanical Engineering. During this time, Ming spent his summers attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and apprenticing at area restaurants in Paris. After graduating from Yale, Ming moved to Paris and trained under renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme and then on to Osaka with Sushi Master Kobayashi.”

Upon his return to the United States, Ming enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University, earning a Master’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing.

Emma BengtssonAquavit, a landmark New York-based fine dining establishment featuring the cuisine of Sweden is a classic. In the Spring of 2014 their former Pastry Chef, Emma Bengtsson, was unusually elevated to the Executive Chef post there by proprietor Hakan Swahn.

Former Aquavit Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark recruited Bengtsson in 2010 to join the restaurant as Pastry Chef. Bengtsson quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts, as well as establishing a new bread program. Her style was reflective of the region’s penchant for local products, progressive techniques, and continuing traditions; and it was well received, as Aquavit was recognized with one star in the Michelin Guide New York City in 2013 and 2014.

Håkan Swahn, the owner of Aquavit, saw talent and fresh perspective in Chef Bengtsson’s skillset and offered her the role of Executive Chef in spring 2014. She accepted the job, and since then has injected the critically acclaimed menu with her personal style and experience.

In October of 2015, her work garnered a second Michelin Star for Aquavit, making her the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen and the first ever Swedish female chef to do so.

We’ll hear Emma’s incredible story.

Curtis StoneMelbourne-born Chef Curtis Stone now resides in Los Angeles. In addition to being all over Food TV (“Kitchen Inferno” and the upcoming “My Kitchen Rules” on FOX), Chef Curtis has the intimate Maude in Beverly Hills and Gwen (also a butcher shop) in Hollywood.

“My mum and granny taught me everything I know about food and cooking. My mum, Lozza, is a great cook, in particular a phenomenal baker, and I would watch her every move while she baked. I am very partial to her corn and bacon muffins so she makes these for me whenever I visit. I still call on her regularly for advice when I’m developing recipes – thanks Lozza!”

Curtis Stone is also the author of six cookbooks. The most recent title is Good Food, Good Life.

Chef Curtis, also a participating chef in The Grand Banquet, joins us.

Scott PajakScott Pajak is the Chef de Cuisine at the high volume Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It sets the standard for Sports Bars in Sin City. He’s been with Emeril Lagasse since 2002 and was promoted to his current position in May of 2011.

Growing up in Lancaster, NY, Scott Pajak could often be found in the kitchen – cooking chicken noodle soup and sauces with his grandparents, or helping his dad tend the grill and savoring the smoky aroma of barbecue.

While studying at UNLV, he worked in numerous restaurants around Las Vegas, including Planet Hollywood, New York New York Casino and TPC Country Club, where he prepared meals for participants on the PGA Tour.

In 2002, Pajak entered the kitchen at Emeril Lagasse’s seafood eatery Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House as a line cook. Over the next 9 years, he would work in nearly every position in Lagasse’s kitchen, from saucier to butcher, eventually rising to the post of sous chef. He helped write the restaurant’s daily menus and showed off his creativity as he cooked for guests at the chef’s kitchen table.

Bring on the kicked-up wings and we’ll talk hearty tailgate food (and more) with Chef Scott.

Podcasts

Segment One: Daniel and Georges Daou, DAOU Vineyards & Winery
Segment Two: Young Yun, Executive Director, Mentor BKB Foundation
Segment Three: Mourad Lahlou, Owner / Chef, Mourad and Aziza, San Francisco
Segment Four: Paul Bartolotta, Executive Chef / Proprietor, The Bartolotta Restaurants
Segment Five: Chef Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger, Blue Dragon and Public Television’s “Simply Ming”
Segment Six: Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef, Aquavit, New York
Segment Seven: Chef Curtis Stone, Maude in Beverly Hills & Gwen in Hollywood
Segment Eight: Chef Scott Pajak, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Show 151, December 19, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

The happiest of Happy Holidays to all of our listeners and we’re back live with a fresh show (that’s sure to please) on December 26th,

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, soon, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceGuest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer and Co-Host Andy Harris are in fabulous Las Vegas for the Team USA 2017 Selection for The Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most rigorous international culinary competition. This is all part of ULTIMO, a lavish weekend of culinary events at The Venetian and The Palazzo.

Team USA is guided and funded by the ment’or BKB Foundation that inspires excellence in young culinary professionals. The President is Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery.) The day-to-day operations of ment’or BKB are overseen by Young Yun, the Executive Director. Young is with us to profile the good works of ment’or BKB and explain what’s in store for the future.

Earlier in the year Chef Philip Tessier (ex-French Laundry) led Team USA to the Silver Trophy at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon. This is the highest ranking ever for Team USA. For 2017 Chef Tessier is Head Coach for Team USA and was a judge this week for the Team USA 2017 National Selection. Chef Phil is our guest.

Meat Platter from Matthew Peters at the Team USA selection for the Bocuse d'OrIt was an intense competition to select Team USA 2017. It was a four hour and 35 minute marathon for each team. There was a separate judging panel for the fish dish and the meat platter. The Chef Jury members’ decision was for Chef Mathew Peters, Executive Sous Chef, Per Se, NYC. His commis is Harrison Turone. Chef Mathew will lead Team USA for 2017 and train intensively for the next year! Chef Mathew Peters joins us.

Chef James Kent led Team USA 2011 for the Bocuse d’Or. He’s a Competition Captain for Team USA 2017 and a member of the ment’or BKB Culinary Council. Chef Kent is the Executive Chef of the acclaimed NoMad in New York City. We’ll meet him.

Chef Andrew and Producer Andy have been doing some dining in Las Vegas. Chef Andrew shares some of his Strip favorites and Andy provides his views on two spots within The Venetian and Palazzo.

Memento Mori winery (Napa Valley) is one of the small, exclusive cult boutique producers showcased at Ultimo Weekend. Their 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon was poured at the Ultimo Grand Banquet. The Winery’s premium Cabernet grapes come from highly regarded vineyards in St. Helena and Oakville. Co-founder Adam Craun is our guest. As always there is an intriguing story here…

We’re broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. The chef de cuisine here is Scott Pajak. We’ll visit with Chef Scott and learn why this isn’t you average sports bar and is actually a preferred destination for discerning Las Vegas locals as well as visitors.

Airing the show from Las Vegas at Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo requires the support of dozens of individuals. An extra special tip of the toque to The Venetian and The Palazzo (Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President, Food & Beverage and Claudine Grant, Public Relations Manager) and ment’or BKB Foundation (Young Yun, Executive Director and Jaimie Chew, Director of Communications & Events.)

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Play

Show 151, December 19, 2015: Scott Pajack, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo, Las Vegas

Scott PajakThis show originated from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. The chef de cuisine here is Scott Pajak. We visit with Chef Scott and learn why this isn’t you average sports bar and is actually a preferred destination for discerning Las Vegas locals as well as visitors. It’s consistently rated as the Number 1 Sports Bar in Vegas.

“Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo kicks off a new breed of sports bar – this sports book, restaurant and entertainment club has enough to distract even the most committed fan.

Chef, sports enthusiast and tailgating-pro Emeril Lagasse has lowered the lights and turned up the heat with crave-worthy kicked up game-day fare. Experience a whole new take on tailgating, with freely flowing brews on tap, refreshing cocktails, hi-def action on over 100 screens, and couches that just won’t let you go.

Watch the most exciting games and biggest sporting events at Lagasse’s Stadium, the ultimate ages 21 and over sports bar and sports book in Las Vegas.”

Let’s talk about the food…Think a chicken sandwich is kind of pedestrian? Not to Chef Scott at Lagasse’s Stadium. Here it’s a Grilled Marinated Free Range Chicken Sandwich. It’s a tender chicken breast with lettuce, tomato and Applewood smoked bacon with black pepper mayo and served on griddled ciabatta bread.

Play

December 19: Live from Lagasse’s Stadium and the Venetian in Las Vegas

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Young Yun, Executive Director, ment’or BKB Foundation
Segment Three: Chef Philip Tessier, Head Coach, Team USA 2017, Hestan Culinary Director
Segment Four: Chef Mathew Peters, Executive Sous Chef, Per Se, NY, Team USA 2017”
Segment Five: Chef James Kent, Executive Chef, NoMad, NYC, ment’or BKB Culinary Council
Segment Six: Scott Pajack, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo, Las Vegas
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel and Producer Andy Harris on Las Vegas Dining
Segment Eight: Adam Craun, Co-Founder, Memento Mori

Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer and Co-Host Andy Harris are in fabulous Las Vegas for the Team USA 2017 Selection for The Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most rigorous international culinary competition. This is all part of ULTIMO, a lavish weekend of culinary events at The Venetian and The Palazzo.

Thomas Keller and Young Yun of the Ment'or BKB FoundationTeam USA is guided and funded by the ment’or BKB Foundation that inspires excellence in young culinary professionals. The President is Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery.) Chef Keller joins us for an exclusive interview.

The day-to-day operations of ment’or BKB are overseen by Young Yun, the Executive Director. Young will be with us to profile the good works of ment’or BKB and explain what’s in store for the future.

Philip TessierEarlier in the year Chef Philip Tessier (ex-French Laundry) led Team USA to the Silver Trophy at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon. This is the highest ranking ever for Team USA. For 2017 Chef Tessier is Head Coach for Team USA and was a judge this week for the Team USA 2017 National Selection. Chef Phil is our guest.

 

Mathew PetersIt was an intense competition to select Team USA 2017. It was a four hour and 35 minute marathon for each team. There was a separate judging panel for the fish dish and the meat platter. The Chef Jury members’ decision was for Chef Mathew Peters, Executive Sous Chef, Per Se, NYC. His commis is Harrison Turone.  Chef Mathew will lead Team USA for 2017 and train intensively for the next year! Chef Mathew Peters joins us.

James KentChef James Kent led Team USA 2011 for the Bocuse d’Or. He’s a Competition Captain for Team USA 2017. Chef Kent is the Executive Chef of the acclaimed NoMad in New York City. We’ll meet him.

Memento Mori winery (Napa Valley) is one of the small, exclusive boutique producers showcased at Ultimo Weekend. Their 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon will be poured at the Ultimo Grand Banquet. The Winery’s premium Cabernet grapes come from highly regarded vineyards in St. Helena and Oakville. Co-founder Adam Craun is our guest.

Scott PajakWe’re broadcasting from Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. The chef de cuisine here is Scott Pajak. We’ll visit with Chef Scott and learn why thus isn’t you average sports bar.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel and Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Young Yun, Executive Director, ment’or BKB Foundation
Segment Three: Chef Philip Tessier, Head Coach, Team USA 2017, Hestan Culinary Director
Segment Four: Chef Mathew Peters, Executive Sous Chef, Per Se, NY, Team USA 2017”
Segment Five: Chef James Kent, Executive Chef, NoMad, NYC, ment’or BKB Culinary Council
Segment Six: Scott Pajack, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo, Las Vegas
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel and Producer Andy Harris on Las Vegas Dining
Segment Eight: Adam Craun, Co-Founder, Memento Mori