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Issue 3 Volume 19

US $3.95

UNLVino Celebrates 45 Years!!–April 11-13 Remembering a Groovy 1974 to Present Day











March 2019


13 Cover



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WELCOME TO OUR MARCH 2019 UNLVINO SPECIAL ISSUE. The Annual UNLVino started in 1974 as a fundraiser for UNLV students in the Culinary Department and continuing through to today has become the longest ongoing college wine event in the US and has supported and funded hundreds of students in their hospitality industry studies. MARCH COVER FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS UNLVINO IN ITS 45TH YEAR and is covered here by Feature Journalist Don Chareunsy. Along with the retrospective-themed celebration to mark UNLVino’s start, UNLVino is returning to its beloved three-event format this year with Bubble-Licious (April 11), Sake Fever (April 12) and The Grand Tasting (April 13). Ticket sales for the events are quickly filling up as the word is spreading about this year’s festivities and honorees. Here is a sneak peek at what this year’s attendees can expect… ALICE SWIFT REVISITS THE PAST 8 YEARS OF HER INVOLVEMENT WITH UNLVINO telling us: This year, UNLVino celebrates its 45th anniversary; can you believe it? There have been many variations over the decades, changes in location, theme, number of days, honorees, etc. but what has remained a constant since its beginning, is the millions of dollars in scholarships raised to benefit the students of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at UNLV. UNLV STUDENTS PREPPING FOR UNLVINO is an insider’s look written by our Journalist, Justin Leung, a UNLV student taking the UNLVino course. Justin relates how every year, a team of student managers works alongside their professors and classmates. Passionate students are given a wondrous, unparalleled opportunity to take part in planning, executing and managing operations as well as partner relations and are divided into teams of focus: ticket sales, volunteer coordination, marketing, auction/ sponsorships, back-of-house and logistics. OUR LVF&B PROFESSIONAL COVER FEATURE FROM OUR APRIL, 2015 ISSUE IS REPRISED, DEPICTING THE 1ST UNLVINO WINE TASTING HIGHLIGHTING ROBERT MONDAVI ON SEPTEMBER 6, 1974 held at the Southern Wine and Spirits Warehouse.

Page 4 Hot off the Grill! Page 5 Revisiting 8 Years of UNLVino Memories Page 6 What’s Brewing

Page 32 May I Recommend... Golden Steer

Page 15 Chef Spotlight Sean Roe

Page 33 Human Resources Insights The Value of Human Resources to Your Organization

Page 16 COVER FEATURE UNLVino Celebrates 45 Years!!

Page 7 Spirits Confidential with Max Solano Make Way For Rum Part 2


Page 14 Twinkle Toast Jordan Salcito and RAMONA

Page 26 Las Vegas Inaugurates ‘Chef Battle’

Page 8 Brett’s Vegas View

Page 27 Chef Talk Spring Is Almost Upon Us

Page 10 UNLV Students Prepping for UNLVino

Page 29 USBG Las Vegas

Page 11 Front & Back of the House Kitchen Provides Foodie Entrepreneurs with Options Page 12 What’s Cooking

Page 30 Best of the Best Page 31 The Bottom Line Avoid Customer Confusion by Keeping Things Simple

Page 34 The Restaurant Expert How to Hit a Home Run in Labor Controls Page 35 UNLV Epicurean Society Page 36 Product Review Page 37 Searsucker Adds Elegant Flavor to Caesars Palace Page 38 Events Ad Index

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7442 Grizzly Giant Street Las Vegas, NV 89139


Mike Fryer

Sr. Editor/Publisher

We found this photo of LVF&B Pro’s Sr. Editor/Publisher Mike Fryer, from UNLVino 2018 at a trade tasting connected event. A great time was had by everyone!

Thank you for joining us in this issue of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional. For any questions or comments please email

Bob Barnes

Editorial Director

Juanita Fryer

Adam Rains

Assistant To Sr. Editor ACF Chefs Liasion/Journalist

Beverage Editor

LVF&B Pro Editorial Director Bob Barnes recently reconnected with one of his all-time favorite chefs, Chef Marc Sgrizzi, and fell in love all over again with the talented Chef’s mastery of Italian cuisine. Read more about his stellar dining experience at Chef Marc’s Trattoria in his What’s Cooking column on page 12.

Juanita Aiello Creative Director


Article Submissions/Suggestions

Calendar Submissions


Press Relase Submissions

General Information


The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional


Journalist Wine Talk Alice Swift

Journalist The Bottom Line Ben Brown

Accounting Manager Michelle San Juan

Journalist Brett’s Vegas View Jackie Brett

Journalist Best of the Best Shelley Stepanek

Journalist UNLV Epicurean Society Justin Leung

Journalist May I Recommend... Blake Myers

Journalist The Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters

Journalist Good for Spooning LeAnne Notabartolo

Journalist Front & Back of the House Gael Hees

Photographer Audrey Dempsey

Journalist Chef Talk Allen Asch

Journalist Don Chareunsy

Journalist Samuel’s Beer Picks Samuel Merritt

Journalist Spirits Confidential Max Solano

Photographer Bill Bokelmann

Journalist Pat Evans

Photographer Joe Urcioli

Journalists Twinkle Toast Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover

Journalist The Catering Coach Sandy Korem

Journalist HR Insights Linda Bernstein

4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I March 2019

By Alice Swift Alice Swift has been writing Wine Talk since 2011, and has a passion for education and hospitality/ F&B. In 2016, she obtained her Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration from UNLV and moved from the “ninth island” to the island of Oʻahu. She now works for Kamehameha Schools as an instructional designer/project manager, and teaches part-time for UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. See more at

photos courtesy Alice Swift

Revisiting 8 Years of UNLVino Memories

Chef Thomas Keller and myself (Alice Swift) at Bubblicious 2013

This year, UNLVino celebrates its 45th anniversary; can you believe it? There have been many variations over the decades, changes in location, theme, number of days, honorees, etc. What has remained a constant since its beginnings back in 1974, is the millions of dollars in scholarships raised to benefit the students of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at UNLV. I can only imagine the millions, maybe even billions of memories that have been created over the course of nearly 50 years. Personally, I have grown my own special relationship with UNLVino over the past eight years. Below are some of the stories behind my connections, along with my most memorable moments. The Beginnings My first experience attending UNLVino was back in 2011. I learned about this event when we took a trip to UNLV in the spring while my husband interviewed for the Executive Chef position at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality (formerly Hotel Administration), a position now held by Chef Mark Sandoval. It was such an amazing experience, and it definitely helped solidify our collective decision to move to Las Vegas and work at UNLV. 5 years of UNLVino Coverage in The LVFnB Professional Shortly thereafter, beginning in August, 2011, my husband and I moved from LA to Las Vegas, where I joined The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional as a journalist, and decided on the name “Wine Talk” for my monthly magazine column. Coincidentally, I also began working at UNLV as a part-time instructor teaching beverage/hospitality classes for the Hospitality

Master sushi chefs from Naked Sushi break down a 240 lb tuna

College and took advantage of the opportunity to volunteer at upcoming UNLVino events as a faculty support. For the first few years, I helped out where I was needed and really appreciated seeing everything behind the scenes. In 2013, I wrote my first article interviewing the 2013 UNLVino management class and faculty while they were in the planning stages of the large-scale event (see docs/042013/13 for the archived article). Beginning in 2015, I started my annual tradition of covering UNLVino events each year from the pre-UNLVino planning, to the post-event coverage. I also wrote two cover stories in 2017 ( and 2018 ( My Favorite UNLVino Year? Although I don’t necessarily remember all the happenings from the 2014 UNLVino, it would probably be one of my most memorable years. I had the great honor of meeting and capturing a photo with the world renowned Chef Thomas Keller, who was the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence Honoree that year.

Most Impressive Moment? Watching master sushi chefs from Naked Fish breaking down a 240 lb tuna. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience for those who enjoy their sushi and sashimi! Let’s continue on the UNLVino legacy while supporting my alma mater, William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, in providing scholarships to students! Tickets for this year’s UNLVino are now on sale. Information is shared below: 45th Annual UNLVino • Dates - April 11-13, 2019 • Website - • For tickets go to - eventInfo/spe/723/unlvino/ While I may not be able to attend UNLVino annually anymore (since I now live in Hawaiʻi), I will live vicariously through the thousands of attendees and the continued memories that will grow and thrive year after year. Until next month, Cheers~! Alice

UNLVino 2016, Block letter statues

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5

By Bob Barnes


Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and covers the LV restaurant scene for


He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

American Homebrewers Association 2019 Craft Beer Clone Recipes

The American Homebrewers Association has released its 2019 Craft Beer Clone Recipes, with 51 recipes scaled down to 5 or 10 gallon batches of a stellar commercial beer from each of the 50 states and Washington D.C. Representing Nevada is Reno’s IMBĪB Custom Brews. Owner/Brewer Matt Johnson provided his recipe for his award-winning Nevada Weiss, a 3.8% ABV traditional Berliner Weisse style. This beer was likely picked because it is one of the most award-winning beers in recent history, having garnered 7 medals in 3 years: This beer and its fruited iterations collected a 2018 GABF medal and six awards at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Best of Craft Beer Awards. To view Matt’s recipe, which uses pilsner malt, malted wheat and Wyeast 3191 Berliner Weisse Blend yeast, visit Don’t do a double take looking for the hops in the recipe; according to Matt, there are no hops, as hops inhibit the strain of lactobacillus bacteria that sours the beer.

Big Dog’s Brewing Quarterly Beerfest

The next Big Dog’s Brewing quarterly beerfest will be its 10th Annual Peace Love Hoppy-ness, held in the outdoor area of the Draft House in northwest Las Vegas on April 27 from 3-9 p.m. As always, more than 40 local, regional and international beers will be poured, including several from the host brewery. As this is a celebration of bold, hoppy beers with several IPAs and double IPAs, all hophounds will need to make plans to attend. For more info and to view the beer lineup visit www. Just a reminder, three events mentioned in my column in the February issue are coming up as well: Lovelady Brewing 3rd Anniversary Celebration on March 23, Boulder City Beerfest on March 30 ( and Motley Brews Great Festival of Beer on April 5-6 (

What’s on Tap

Last month I reported on delays to the opening of our two new Vegas breweries: Scenic Brewing and District One. Now I can relay that according to Scenic Brewing Head Brewer Jamie Roberts, they are looking toward a March 15 opening. I promise more news on both in the next issue.

This month Joseph James will launch its Ginger Lemongrass Berliner Weisse with a release party at Slater’s 50/50 on Thursday, March 7. The brewery will also be doing a steal-the-glass event at Eureka! in Downtown Las Vegas for the same beer at the end of March (date TBA). The slightly tart 4.1% ABV sessionable ale was made with fresh lemongrass and ginger. Also releasing in the coming months are Cradle to the Grape Suave Felon #005, the fifth beer in the series, with this one an 18-month wine barrel-aged sour with Shiraz and Merlot grape must; and Candied Bacon Smoked Rauchbier, a sweet, smokey, lightly salted Bamberg-style Rauchbier with a base of beechwood smoked malt caramelized with turbinado sugar. The brewery reports there was no bacon used in the making of this beer, but you might swear there was. Tenaya Creek Brewery has released Dreamtime, a 5.4% ABV draftonly craft pilsner with the addition of grapefruit juice and peel; and in the coming weeks it will be canning its El Charro, a Mexican-style lager brewed with Vienna Malt from Germany and flaked corn, which at 4.9% ABV will be a very crisp, sessionable lager perfect for the springtime and summer warmer weather. In addition, they have resumed their Detox to Retox yoga and beer sessions, held the 3rd Saturday of every month in the brewery. To register visit As always, great beer happens in Vegas!

6 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I March 2019

Update on New Southern Nevada Brewery Openings

SPIRITS CONFIDENTIAL with Max Solano Make Way For Rum Part 2

Last month, we got on the topic of how amazingly well-valued rums are as a category and some of the rum history and generalities, as well, as the emergence of the sipping and luxury rum sub-category over the past decade. Well, I thought that this month I would discuss a few of these gems that would most certainly would be best enjoyed unhindered. On top of enjoying these drams on their own like you would a fine whisky or brandy, one could also perhaps pair a fine rum with foods, or, dare I say, a fine cigar? Hell, yeah!! There are so many different well-produced rums from many countries that warrant mention, but unfortunately there’s only so much room, so, my apologies in advance. The first brand rum that I have to recognize for its delicious Spanish-style is from Peru–yes, Peru! Typically, a land reserved and known for centuries for its rich wine and brandy production. Ask any Peruvian and they will tell you that without question, Peru, not Chile, is the birthplace of Pisco. From the northern area of Santiago de Cao, Peru, lies the Cartavio rum distillery since its inception in 1929. Even though Brazil produces Cachaca, which is typically made from distilled sugarcane juice, Ron Cartavio makes its rum strictly from distilled molasses. The full line of the Cartavio rums are not just exceptionally well-made, but the value for the quality is very difficult to compete against. However, since we don’t have room to discuss each of the marks, we have to make room to speak about the Cartavio X.O. This beautifully rich and mahogany-colored sipping beauty is made from some younger column distilled-aged rums and mostly older

By Max Solano Max Solano is a principal mixologist at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada and is considered one of the most respected and premier authorities in the West Coast on all matters whisky. He also serves as a Spirits Judge at the coveted New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, International Whisky Competition and world-renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

pot-distilled rums up to 18 years old using a solera aging process reserved for their higherend expressions. Lastly, Ron Cartavio utilizes four different types of used casks: ex-Bourbon, ex-Spanish sherry, Slovakian and French, creating a slightly sweet, silky, elegant and very complexed sipping rum. In this case, the accolades awarded to these rums speak for themselves! SRP $75.99. Dos Maderas rum is a tale of two cultures. The history of the parent company, Bodegas Williams & Humbert goes back nearly 130 years. They participated in the creation of the Jerez-Xérès-Brandy Quality Demarcation and are now considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious wine producers. The winery was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams, a great admirer and connoisseur of sherry products, and Arthur Humbert, a specialist in international relations. Eventually, rum became part of the business. “Dos Maderas” literally translates to in Spanish as “Two Woods,” hence how this rum is produced. This company will source Caribbean rum, specifically from Barbados & Trinidad & Tobago that are traditionally aged in ex-American whiskey casks, then, after a minimum amount of required time, the barrels are shipped to Jerez, Spain, where that rum is dumped into Pedro Ximenez sherry casks for another minimum length of time before being bottled. The Dos Maderas Luxus, in particular, tasks its Caribbean rums to properly mature in their original casks for a minimum duration of ten years before being aged in two types of Don Guido sherry butts for another five

years. The delicious and rich fig, ripe date and sultanas notes from the sherry casks really complements the deliciously semi-sweet style of the rum beautifully! SRP $159.99 Lastly, I would not be doing this category any justice if I did not include a rum from arguably the oldest operating distillery in the Western world: Mount Gay. Located and founded in Barbados in 1703, the namesake was adapted by the company in the turn of the 19th century after one its managing partners, Sir John Gay Alleyne. Mount Gay Rum is made from molasses and water that has been filtered through natural coral. This mix is fermented using an exclusively selected yeast and then distilled in both copper pot stills and column stills, before being aged in ex-American whiskey barrels. One of the most unique and complexed rums I have come across in recent years is the Mount Gay XO peated cask finish. Mind you, I am a whisky drinker to the core, and, in my experiences from seeing different brands incorporating a cask finish in which a peated whisky was once aged, typically resulted in unimpressive experiments. Absolutely, NOT the case, here! The first few seconds of sipping on this rum, the sweet molasses and vanilla notes come through right away, then, the peat smoke slowly starts taking over and gradually builds up and beautifully integrates onto the palate with tobacco ash and dark cacao notes. And, the finish is long and luscious! What a treat if you want to splurge and experience something unique! SRP $225.99. ~ Cheers!

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7


By Jackie Brett Jackie is a freelance public relations specialist and writer specializing in the Las Vegas entertainment and travel scene. Her writings have appeared in magazines and newspapers nationwide and on numerous websites. Email:


Christina Aguilera opens her residency, “Christina Aguilera: The Xperience,” at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Friday, May 31. British rock ‘n’ roll band Def Leppard begin a residency there Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Illusionist Criss Angel opened his spectacular “Criss Angel MINDFREAK” at Planet Hollywood with a fully reimagined stage and first high-tech experimental interactive lobby. Father-and-sons trio, The Bronx Wanderers moved from Windows Showroom, their home since September 2016 at Bally’s, to the Mat Franco Theater at The LINQ. Las Vegas’ longest-running show “Legends In Concert” opened its new residency at the Tropicana after moving from the Flamingo. “The Greatest Piano Men,” celebrating the greatest pianists and showmen from Beethoven to Liberace will headline the Flamingo March 26-April 21. Forgoing top hats, capes or clothes, The Naked Magicians from Australia opened their first Strip residency in Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand. New at SLS, “Ester Goldberg’s Totally Outrageous Brunch” plays twice on Saturdays and Sundays starring International GlamourPuss Ester Goldeberg. Luenell is headlining her stand-up show “Tommy T. Presents: Luenell” in The Sayers Club at SLS each week on Sundays through May 12. Atlanta rapper Lil Baby will appear with New Generation Tour at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay Friday, March 22.  Returning to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Aziz Ansari, co-creator and star of Netflix’s Master of None, will headline at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23. At The Pearl at the Palms, Southern rock band Needtobreathe will headline Saturday, April 6. Irish musician, singer and songwriter Hozier, will stop Sunday, April 7 on his North American “Wasteland Baby! Tour.”


Manzo is the new Italian butcher’s restaurant with a three-tier, wood-burning grill nestled inside bustling marketplace Eataly at Park MGM. From the Midwest, Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar debuted in Town Square with updated classic American cuisine. Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer, Las Vegas’ first guisado taco shop, opened downtown at 616 E. Carson Avenue with 40 seats and décor drawing inspiration from Mexican churches.

Frankie’s Uptown - A Neighborhood Bar with The STRoLL, a hybrid Stromboli and Calzone, opens this month at Downtown Summerlin in space Casa Del Matador occupied. The Broken Yolk Cafe from San Diego opens its first Nevada location in Town Square in March. Hours are daily 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Man v. Food,” the BYC Challenge, is a dozen egg omelet giant meal to be eaten in under an hour. Family-owned and operated, Bok Bok Chicken opened its third Las Vegas location since last August with two more planned this year including one in Town Square. The Great Vegas Festival of Beer produced by Motley Brews returns for two days FridaySaturday, April 5 and 6 at a new venue: the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Virgil’s Real Barbecue at The LINQ Promenade is now serving breakfast daily Monday-Friday from 8-11 a.m. and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.


The Stratosphere is rebranding to The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod. The top of the tower with thrill rides, restaurant, lounge and Observation Deck is designated a destination called SkyPod. Replacing Rain, the Palms will open the new multi-level dayclub/nightclub KAOS in April with multiple stages, a broadcast capable LED tower wall, rotating DJ booth, and six-story bronze sculpture “Demon with Bowl.” Cardi B is already signed. Renovating closed rooms, Binion’s will open Hotel Apache featuring 81 vintage-styled furnished rooms reminiscent of the original 1932 namesake hotel. The property will add

8 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I March 2019

Whiskey Licker Up overlooking Fremont Street Experience with a rotating bar, overhang balcony and mechanical bull. The Gazillionaire broke soil outside his “Absinthe” tent at Caesars Palace to plant the ABSINTHE Electric Oak. The new 35-foot high visual attraction will feature 120,000 LED leaves of ever-changing color. Tattoo’d America Pop Museum (TAPM) will be the first exhibition for three months at the brand-new, cultural and entertainment Pop Vegas venue at The LINQ Promenade. TAPM will feature tattoo-themed rooms, 500 works of art and live demonstration studio. Las Vegan and business entrepreneur Ron Coury released his biographical book Tenancity about battling and conquering political and police corruption, bribery, coercion, death threats and cancer. Caesars Entertainment Corporation is the first founding partner of the Las Vegas Stadium opening 2020, which guarantees special marketing privileges.

Golden Tiki in Chinatown held a Don The Beachcomber second-anniversary party and unveiled Donn Beach’s shrunken head. Texas native Beach, born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt in 1907, opened the original Don’s Beachcomber in Hollywood in 1933. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, currently Hard Rock, will join Curio Collection by Hilton in 2020, after the resort makes an extensive property transformation. Arizona Charlie’s Boulder and Decatur Bingo Rooms joined the Plaza downtown offering the $1 million linked bingo progressive, Bingo Millions MegaProgressive. The $100 million SLS Las Vegas renovations include updates to the casino floor, hotel rooms and new fast-casual Mexican concept Uno Mas. The Hard Rock Café guitar sign, which was in front of the Hard Rock Café for 27 years, was restored and recently transported in six pieces to its new home in the Neon Museum’s Boneyard. Chef Kim Canteenwalla, co-founder of Blau + Associates restaurant group with Las Vegas restaurants Honey Salt and Andiron Steak and Sea, is the new executive chef of The Centurion Lounge for card members at McCarran International Airport.

•Wholesale distributor of exceptional quality dried spices and specialty foods to the finest hotels and restaurants •Owned and operated by a former chef with over 20 years of experience •Custom packed Herbs and Spices •Custom Spice Blends •Private labeling •Now Certified Kosher

By Justin Leung

UNLV Students Prepping for UNLVino

Carly Scheinman-Fitzsimmons

Ian Seidenberg

Jessica Pease

With April fast approaching, the Las Vegas community turns its attention to UNLVino: a three-day food and wine festival that raises scholarship money for UNLV’s Harrah College of Hospitality. At the forefront of prepping for the event is the FAB 372 UNLVino Management, a course dedicated to planning and executing the annual scholarship fundraiser in which a team of students work with professors to put together the largest annual fundraiser for and by UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. Mark Sandoval, the college’s executive chef and instructor for the UNLVino management course, said, “I really like to provide a legacy through the class for future generations and students. This is a practical experience that is unique to this city. I want students to have this wondrous amazement that an event they put on has been realized.” Every year, a team of student managers works alongside their professors and classmates. Passionate students are given a wondrous, unparalleled opportunity to take part in planning, executing, and managing operations as well as partner relations. They are divided into teams of focus: ticket sales, volunteer coordination, marketing, auction/sponsorships, backof-house and logistics. “This class is our opportunity to give back to the community we’ve connected to and expand upon what we’ve learned over the years,” said Carly Scheinman-Fitzsimmons, team leader of the logistics team. This year, the UNLVino class is taught by three instructors with extensive industry experience. Mark Sandoval joined the college after a successful culinary career working for celebrity chefs in Las Vegas; assistant professor Dr. Murray Mackenzie has an impressive and global background as a former chef and wine expert; and instructor Ian Seidenberg of Encore Event Technologies is a seasoned event professional who manages and executes large-scale events. The professors and students had positive comments about the future of UNLVino. The program could not be where it stands today without the help of the donors and sponsors. Two of the festival’s major areas are the silent and live auctions. “I hope to cultivate lasting relationships with the 2019 donors and sponsors; so, in the following years to come, the auction team will have a strong foundation to begin working with,” said Jessica Pease, team leader for auction/sponsorships. Seidenberg has many high hopes for the class’s performance as well. He said, "I want them to leave a mark for future UNLVinos to come. Possibly a grand auction item that you’d only find at our event.” Many changes have already been happening: The back-of-house team has worked together to modify their food options. “In years past, there were simplified cuisines. However, this year, the back-of-house team is adding more complex ingredients and techniques to the recipes,” Sandoval said. UNLV prides itself on diversity: This fundamental aspect is showcased through the variety of electives offered in the hospitality program and the hundreds of registered student organizations on campus. “We come from all different backgrounds, skill sets, and have connections all around. 10 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I March 2019

Justin Leung, a Hospitality Management student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, represents the Epicurean Society, a collective of food and restaurant enthusiastic students. As the journalist on their leadership team, Justin desires to share the club’s experiences with the public. He is from Georgia and decided to pursue his passion for hospitality in Las Vegas.

Kristina Dean

Mariana Baltrons

Through that, we’ve made our own culture and own little world through campus,” said Mariana Baltrons, a senior in the class. When asked to describe the dynamic of our class, Mackenzie said, “This is a class filled with students knowledgeable in different areas. This to me is important because UNLVino has connected these students for a common goal: produce and execute a great event.” I decided to learn more about some of my peers’ personal experiences with UNLVino and reasons for joining the team. Some students are scholarship recipients. “For two years now, I’ve been a recipient of the UNLVino Scholarship Fund and when I saw the opportunity to interview for the class, I jumped right onboard,” said Maryna Naumenko, a junior in the UNLVino marketing team. “It’s really about getting to know more people and challenging myself.” A few students were even motivated since they had experience from previous years. “I’ve volunteered for UNLVino for more than two years (in the) back-of-house. When I interviewed with Chef Mark, I expressed interest in the front-of-house to step out of my comfort zone,” said Joseph Hill, team leader for the ticket sales group. “Last year, I loved seeing how it was being handled from a volunteer perspective. And, I wanted leadership experience in event planning,” said Lisa Stadtmiller, the team leader for volunteer coordination. The team leader for back-of-house, Kristina Dean, reflected on her experience: “So far, I’ve seen what it takes to put on an event of this size in such a short time frame. It’s a big event with a history of success. With this being the 45th anniversary, we want to succeed in honoring the past while still showing what we, as students, are capable of producing.” A gathering of new perspectives and more than 30 eager students working with their mentors instigates a history dating back forty-five years. This is a semesterlong project, a program run by student Mark Sandoval managers working towards a three-day event welcoming thousands of attendees. This year’s UNLVino events will include: Bubble-Licious on April 11 at the Keep Memory Alive Center, Sake Fever on April 12 at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa and The Grand Tasting on April 13 at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. Tickets for all three events are on sale now and available at A complete list of participating wineries, chefs and restaurants is available at Maryna Naumenko

Front & Back of the House

photos courtesy Vida Kitchens

Kitchen Provides Foodie Entrepreneurs with Options

By Gael Hees Gael Hees is a Las Vegas freelancer, specializing in written, graphic and audiovisual communications. She has written for national publications and has won numerous awards for tourism-related printed materials and videos, is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America and is a certified hospitality educator.

What would you do if you had access around the clock to a commercial kitchen, filled with professional ovens, stoves, smokers, slicers, refrigeration and a dish-washing area? Would you start a home delivery food service, or open a sandwich shop in a place with a great location but no room for a kitchen? Would you do catering on the side and keep your day job? Would you create high-end pet food for pampered dogs and cats? All of these options and more are available to you right now at Vida Kitchens in North Las Vegas. The facility is owned by Richard Zobrist and his son, Aaron. With 20-plus years of experience in the food distribution industry, they were seeking a space for their new enterprise, a USDA inspected sous-vide meat preparation company. They found a former grocery store that had more space than they needed so they created Vida Kitchens in May of 2017 and opened Vida Meats in November. For a tour of the facility, one needs to contact Melissa Leavitt, who has served as the kitchen manager since the opening. She is there to help with everything from obtaining a health department license to managing any scheduling issues. The kitchen itself is licensed as a commissary, but anyone using the kitchen is required to have a health permit of his or her own. “Everyone’s operation is a bit different,” said Leavitt. “I have some people who have licenses as caterers, other people as bakers, and others as restaurants.” At first, Leavitt didn’t provide help with

obtaining the health department permits. However, that changed quickly. “One of the things I noticed was that people would come in, I would tell them all of the things they had to do with the health department and they would get really, really intimidated and I wouldn’t hear back from them,” she said. She has now helped more than 70 individuals move through the permitting process. Leavitt provides applicants with the health department package, floor plans of the facility, and ensures that everyone applies for the license that best fits their needs. The five work spaces include three to four stainless steel tables and access to all of the cooking equipment. Other options, based on the package purchased, include a license hanger service, shelving in the walk-in refrigerator, shelving in the upright freezer, a personal dry storage rack, trash cans with free liners and provided soap and sanitizer at the sinks and in the dishwashing room. Workspaces are available by the month ($480 for 40 hours) and by the single event ($20 an hour with a five hour minimum), with other options in between. There are really only two main rules for kitchen users–be clean and be safe. Everyone is expected to leave the work stations and shared areas as clean or cleaner than they found them. About three or more times a week, one of the owners does a deep clean, attacking one of the ovens or changing the oil. Aside from a maintenance man who comes in a few times a week, the operation is covered by the owners and Leavitt. As to safety–that really translates into security. Entry to the building is through the back, and

access is with an electronic key that is checked out to a specific individual. When the rollup door is used, it is required that it never be left unattended. “In addition to creating a safe food working environment, we want just a safe general environment that everyone feels good in,” said Leavitt. It is not often that all five cooking stations are in use at one time, though it certainly has happened. Because the kitchen is in a huge open space and all of the cooking equipment is shared, chefs must communicate with each other. “One of my favorite things about my job is when I peek out my little window and see the kitchen full of people talking to each other, asking questions, and sharing ideas,” Leavitt said. “We look for people who to want to work in a shared environment.” The two owners are truly entrepreneurs and want to help enable others who have a similar spirit. “I sometimes hear three or more ideas for new businesses in a day from my boss,” said Leavitt. The word vida (pronounced veeda) means life, and the tree of life is incorporated into the company’s logo. According to Leavitt the Zobrists liked the name because they saw the kitchen as helping people grow. “We’re in the business of keeping people in business,” she said. “We’re growing and innovating, looking for ways for us to make money, but also to have a place where other people can do that as well.” Vida Kitchens is located in North Las Vegas at 1370 W. Cheyenne Ave. For more info or to schedule a tour, call Melissa at 208-3089892 or Aaron at 702-580-1638, email info@ or or visit

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By Bob Barnes

What’s Cooking

Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and covers the LV restaurant scene for He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

Boathouse Asian Eatery at Palace Station Another Great Example of the Property’s Transformation

Situated on the newly-added eastern side of the building just steps away from valet, the Eatery is bedecked with hanging lights, beautiful handpainted artwork gracing white tiled walls, wood features including a lattice ceiling and mahogany tables, open kitchen and a large faux tree in the dining room. From the outside, it may appear to be a casual dining venue, which it is in regards to the reasonable pricing and comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, but upon entering and seeing the stunning artwork and experiencing the upscale presentation and service, you will realize it’s the best of both worlds. The Boathouse moniker is derived from the fact that the restaurant’s founders, brother-and-sister team Cat and Tu Do, initially left Vietnam via a boat and eventually settled in the US and with their partner Hans Mogensen opened a restaurant of the same name in the Graton Casino in Rohnert Park in Northern California. Their roots are evident in the menu, with Vietnamese dishes such as clay pot catfish, Vietnamese-style egg rolls and sweet & sour catfish soup. The menu is built around sharing and dishes are served family style. In addition to Vietnamese, there are plenty of Japanese, Chinese and Korean offerings. I highly recommend starting with one of the sushi rolls, of which there are more than a dozen options, such as the trainwreck (spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, unagi, spicy aioli) or choosing from the large selection of nigiri/sashimi. Other representatives of Asian cuisine include hamachi jalapeno with yuzu soy, walnut prawns with creamy pineapple glaze and candied walnuts, shaking beef (wok-seared filet mignon cubes with bell pepper and onion) and Korean short ribs and kimchi fried rice. For a restaurant that centers around seafood, freshness is key, so it’s a major plus that seafood arrives every day except Sunday, and a live aquarium houses live lobster and crab until they are ready to be prepared. A knock on Asian restaurants is the lack of desserts, but here you can enjoy a rather unique creation: corn flake-crusted deep fried Oreos served with vanilla ice cream. Other more traditional Asian dessert choices include green tea, vanilla and red bean ice cream; and mochi in flavors of strawberry, mango and green tea.

photo by Dick Palcic

If you haven’t been to Palace Station in a while, you’re in for a happy surprise, for once you enter you will discover the property has been completely transformed. The two-year $192 million modernization project that included adding a movie theater and a major revamp of its eateries is nearly completed, and one of the most promising additions is Boathouse Asian Eatery.

Executive Chef Zy Alconcel and GM Ian Delph

Helming the kitchen is Executive Chef Zy Alconcel, whose resume includes five years cooking Japanese cuisine in Hawaii, and in Las Vegas at Robert Irvine’s Public House, banquet dining at The Mirage and eight years working with Stations Casinos. Chef Zy helps with menu formation and the Hawaiian tuna poke salad (fresh tuna in a spicy sesame sauce with tobiko and land and sea greens) is one of his superb creations. A fine example of the quality service is Eugene Kang, of whom we had the pleasure of being served by during our visit. When asked what he likes about working at the Boathouse, he said, “The open ambience and fusion of Asian cuisine gives variety to our customers and I appreciate sharing that with people.” It’s not often a restaurant has a general manager that is a highly skilled chef, but such is the case of Ian Delph, who has held executive chef positions at upscale establishments such as Center Cut Steakhouse. Ian finds directing his culinary orchestra very satisfying and has been known to jump into the kitchen to help out in a pinch. He describes his clientele as very diverse, including Asians looking for authentic cuisine and regulars of the casino seeking high quality dining at a very reasonable price. In the works are plans to further entice diners with wine, whiskey and sake pairing dinners. With pricing of the vast majority of menu items between $10-$15, a happy hour (Mon-Fri from 3-6 p.m. and 10-11 p.m.) with dozens of starters and sushi rolls under $10, beer for only $3 and well cocktails and house wine and sake ½ off, not to mention cuisine done exceptionally well and a varied menu that offers something for everyone, both locals and tourists have several reasons to visit again and again. Open Sun-Thu 11-10 and Fri-Sat 11-11 Boathouse

Esther’s Kitchen Celebrates 1st Anniversary

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photos courtesy Esther's Kitchen

Esther’s Kitchen, named for Chef/Owner James Trees’ late great aunt, a huge supporter of the talented chef who wrote the check that sent him to the Culinary Institute of America-Hyde Park, has created quite a following as one of our city’s top new restaurants, as well as being part of the Downtown Art District’s emergence as a critical part of our local dining scene. The native Las Vegan chef’s Italian restaurant, self-proclaimed as seasonal Italian soul food and known for its use of fresh, seasonal ingredients, has recently garnered several accolades, including being named one of the

Just barely past its first anniversary, Esther’s continues to wow its devotees, of which I count myself a proud member. During my recent visit I was enthralled with a tasting of Chef’s menu, which included yellowtail crudo with yuzu cucumber, radish and chili oil; charred octopus with tomato glaze and squid ink-infused black aioli/garbanzo salad; toasted beets with ricotta gnudi and pistachio pesto; cavatelli with truffle-braised crispy sausage; tomatoGreek pizza with sausage, salumi, cumin, fennel and coriander; branzino with orange fennel, farro and pesto; and pumpkin cheesecake with pepitas, chocolate graham crust and pumpkin spice latte ice cream. On a personal note, I was thrilled to be able to enjoy a pumpkin-themed dish well past the traditional holiday period. Do yourself a favor and make your way to Esther’s Kitchen, situated smack dab in the heart of the Downtown Las Vegas 18b Arts District. While the physical address is 1130 S. Casino Center, the entrance is on California St. just south of Charleston and a few steps west of Casino Center. There is limited parking on the streets, but they have a parking lot behind the restaurant which you can access from the alley just past the restaurant. Open for lunch MonFri from 11-3 (counter service), brunch Sat-Sun 10-3 and dinner daily 5-11.

photo courtesy Esther's Kitchen

Gayot 2018 Top 10 New Restaurants in the US and its inclusion in John Curtas’ 2019 Eating Las Vegas: The 52 Essential Restaurants.

Chef Marc’s Trattoria Delighting Clientele

The upstate New York native Chef Marc has a long and illustrious culinary career, having started cooking as a teenager at his family’s Italian restaurant in Southern Florida in the 1970s and later gaining experience at high-end restaurants in New York. After learning the ropes of running both the front and back of the house and opening restaurants back East, Chef accepted a new challenge and opened his first eatery in Las Vegas in 2000, at the aforementioned Marc’s Italian Steakhouse. After owning and operating a few other restaurants that he built up and later sold, Chef Marc’s latest iteration has been open since October 2015 at 8615 W. Sahara, in a shopping complex at the southwest corner of Durango and Sahara. The humble exterior belies the quaint décor inside, with wood tables and floor, hanging Edison lights, semi-open kitchen, rustic red brick wall and pictures of Sinatra and Italian scenery. Also helping to put you in the mood for Italian fare are musical stylings of Sinatra and other crooners from his era. And, when weather permits, an outdoor patio area is ideal for al fresco dining.

photos courtesy Marc's Trattoria

My first experience with the culinary genius of Chef Marc Sgrizzi was in the mid-2000s when my wife Lally and I dined at his Marc’s Italian Steakhouse at Lake Mead and Tenaya. So, it was a happy occurrence when we recently rediscovered Chef Marc at his Chef Marc’s Trattoria.

Attention to detail is evident from the beautiful presentation of each dish, the fact that fresh pasta and bread are made in-house daily, the restaurant cures its own meats and Chef Marc regularly takes trips to Italy to learn more about the food and wine he is so passionate about. During our visit we were treated to roasted butternut squash bisque (a five-star dish that was so delightful my wife had to order two servings to go); imported Italian creamy bufala cheese served with micro arugula, tomatoes and balsamic glaze; duck ragu, a Venice inspiration from Chef’s recent trip to Italy served on a paccheri pasta (like a large rigatoni); un-breaded and magnificent eggplant parmesan (proclaimed by Lally as the best ever and of which we also had to take two orders home!); vegetarian ravioli alla Roma with stuffed ricotta, egg yolk, brown butter sage and shaved black winter truffle; USDA Prime NY steak that was perfectly seasoned and brought back memories of our first visit to Marc’s Italian Steakhouse; and desserts of house-made rum cake, banoffee pie (banana cream with Oreo) and tiramisu. One of the focal points of the restaurant is the very attractive large glass wine cellar, in which are stored gems from seven regions of Italy, as well as vino from New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and California, such as the North Coast California Three Barrels Red Blend from Silvia Cellars I enjoyed. During our visit on a Thursday evening in mid-February, after arriving upon the restaurant’s opening at 5 p.m., we were impressed to see that within an hour nearly every table was occupied. We also learned that 90% of the guests are repeat customers. One thing that is a great selling point for any restaurant to give guests a reason to return again and again is having a fluid menu, which is the case here. Not only do dishes rotate seasonally, but a portion of the menu is devoted to daily specials and a section of inspired new dishes changes every few days. Repeat visits are also likely due to the fact that the food is sublime, and a bargain for the quality, with a range of prices mainly from $12-$24 and deeper discounts during Happy Hour from 5-7 Wed.-Fri.; and also because every guest gets to interact with the charming Chef Marc, who when not expediting and assisting his chefs on the line, visits with each table. Open for dinner Wed-Sun.

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Twinkle Toast

photos by Erin Cooper

Jordan Salcito and RAMONA

With over a decade spent in the industry, and an impassioned entrepreneurial spirit, Jordan Salcito is Director of Wine Special Projects for Momofuku as well as the founder of RAMONA, an organic Italian grapefruit wine spritz, and Bellus Wines. Master Sommelier Candidate, Wine Enthusiast “40 Under 40,” and 2018 James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional,” Jordan Salcito isn’t afraid to wear many hats, and we dare say that she wears them very well. With warm sunny days and outdoor activities on the horizon, we thought it would be nice to talk with Salcito about her latest endeavor, RAMONA. What was the catalyst or inspiration for the creation of this new product? RAMONA was born from what I perceived as a noticeable void in the market. At the time, I was overseeing the beverage programs for David Chang’s momofuku restaurants throughout the US. Every time I went to a concert, ballgame, the beach-any traditional ‘beer’ moment, I opted for water because I’ve never been someone who enjoys a ‘cold, refreshing beer’ in the romantic, traditional sense. That coupled with the fact that my go-to beverage before (and often after a long meal) was a spritz, led me to realize that no delicious, wine-based, all-natural and organic version of a spritz existed in a readyto-drink format. How did you choose the name RAMONA to represent it? My youngest sister, Anne-Marie, created an alter-ego scapegoat named Ramona when she was five. She was a big Beverly Cleary fan. Any time she did something she wasn’t supposed to, she blamed it on “Ramona.” That name in its various contexts always stuck with me. I loved saying it, and the spirit of a mischievous alter-ego felt fitting for a high-end organic wine spritz in a can. How did you determine where to source the ingredients for RAMONA?

By Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover Erin Cooper and Christine Vanover have been residents of Las Vegas since 2007. Vanover is also a UNLV Alumnus. Both women are Territory Managers for the Resort Wine Team at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, members of Women Gone Wine and the founders of Twinkle Toast. • Facebook: @TwinkleToast Twitter: TwinkleToastLV Instagram: TwinkleToastLV

As soon as I started researching grapes for our wine, I noticed that Italy, Sicily in particular, had extremely high quality ingredients available. I knew from Day One that an organic final product was important, because that’s what I personally want to consume. And after doing my due diligence and looking at wine, grapes and citrus from other countries and regions, Italy was the clear first choice from a quality and taste standpoint. In addition, our partner winery in Italy is family-owned, and the growers we work with are a network of small family-owned farms who have prioritized sustainability for generations. Who do you consider to be your target consumer? Truly, anyone who loves high-integrity, organic wine. Many people assume because of the branding that RAMONA might skew female, but we’re constantly surprised by how nearly even the fan-base is across men and women, as well as RAMONA’s ability to transcend age demographics. How has your background in food and beverage prepared you for this new venture? Throughout my career at wd~50, DANIEL, Eleven Madison Park and Momofuku, as well as the various wineries I’ve worked during harvest the past 12 years, I’ve been exposed to philosophies and standards that prioritize quality and consumer experience. That value system is absolutely a part of RAMONA, even though we’re packaged in a 250ml aluminum can. What do you feel has been the most challenging thing about creating a new brand? For me, the shift in skillset is a challenge I welcome but a challenge nonetheless. Curiosity and education have always been important, and they’re critical qualities for any good sommelier. That said, growing a brand, unlike working as a sommelier, is about incredible focus and commitment to force-ranking priorities; it’s just a different skillset. Knowing when to say “no” has been essential for RAMONA and a challenge because, as a hospitality professional I love to say ‘yes!’. We are fortunate to have many opportunities to collaborate and it’s essential to ensure we partner with brands or events that resonate with our mission and value system. What has been the most exciting or rewarding thing? For me, the most exciting aspect of RAMONA has been changing people’s perception of what ‘quality’ can look like. This day and age

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we are all so busy and self-care, which we all want to prioritize, is harder and harder to do. Life’s moments that feel like luxuries (like sitting down to drink a great wine) are often the first to go when life moves too quickly. We believe taking time for yourself in a hectic day is a necessity and shouldn’t require a sacrifice in quality or convenience. You don’t need an occasion to enjoy high-integrity wine and it should be able to go wherever you do. We know that RAMONA also tastes amazing in cocktails. Do you have a favorite? That’s like choosing your favorite child. ;) It really depends on the mood and the season, but the RAMONA Paloma is always a tried and true classic. It’s bright, refreshing and the chili salt rim gives it a great kick! Here’s a recipe below from our friends at Legacy Records: RAMONA Paloma (from Legacy Records) 1 oz. Del Maguey Mezcal Vida .75 oz. lime juice .5 oz. red bell pepper syrup 3 oz. RAMONA (top) Prep: shake Glassware: collins Garnish: chili salt rim ***Bell pepper syrup 8 oz. bell pepper (by weight) 16 oz. simple syrup Combine ingredients with an immersion blender and fine strain. created by Jeff Bell (PDT New York // Hong Kong) Are you working on developing any additional flavors or formats? We are! We’re still deep in the development phase, but hope to be able to announce some new sister products in the RAMONA portfolio soon. Where do you see RAMONA in 5 years? Such a great question. The goal for RAMONA has always been to create something that bridges the high-low gap and makes people rethink their perception of ‘quality.’ In the longer-term we want to help people demand more transparency for the wine they consume as well as get more comfortable drinking whatever it is that they actually enjoy, as opposed to what they’ve been told to enjoy. RAMONA is very much a rebellion against the ‘point system’ that relies on one person’s opinion of excellence. In five years, we will be telling this story louder, and in more places!

Chef Spotlight Sean Roe

By Pat Evans Pat Evans is a writer based in Las Vegas and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a regular contributor to Grand Rapids Magazine, October and The Manual often writing about food, beer and spirits. He has written one book, Grand Rapids Beer, and has more on the way. Twitter: @patevans Instagram: @patrickmevans

Sean Roe never stops learning. A thirst for knowledge has been his quest since he first stepped foot in a kitchen as a dishwasher at 17. His career in food was purely accidental, but the Upstate New York native has traveled the country making his way around the industry before having a chance to join Emeril Lagasse’s culinary team. There’ve been a few detours, but Roe is the director of culinary operations for Emeril’s Las Vegas restaurants: Delmonico at The Venetian, Emeril’s Fish House at MGM Grand and Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. How’d your career get started? My first job was as a dishwasher in an old pancake house when I was in high school and they made me a cook pretty quick. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and cooking was something I was good at and could earn money at. I met some people who knew about food and knew about the world of fine dining, which I had no idea even existed. I grew up in that lower middle class and my idea of a good restaurant was Red Lobster, but they introduced me to this new world and I saw how big and large the world of food really was and never gave it a thought. I realized as a lifelong learner, I’d never get to the end of food and that appeals; I’m energetic and like to be moving. How’d you end up in Las Vegas? I worked [in Albany] with French chefs mostly and realized if I wanted to go farther in this field, Albany wasn’t really the city to do it in. It’s an OK dining scene, but it’s Albany. I said, ‘Well I gotta go.’ So I packed my car and left for California. I moved to San Francisco and got a job there for one month before I got a job in Napa, which was my first real jump into fine dining and cuisine and I got my head ripped open. But I stayed and stuck it out, learned a ton and then from there I moved to New Orleans and found Emeril, just by coincidence. Albany is so close to New York City, why California? I like NYC a lot. I went down there a fair amount, knew of all the chefs and I loved it, but I just can’t just live there. So then, California to New Orleans then Vegas?

photo courtesy Emeril's Restaurants

Some people I knew told me about a position in a catering company and went for that and it turned out to be a disaster, nothing like they said. New Orleans is another planet from Napa. I ended up having to leave and as I was looking for a job, I didn’t know New Orleans chefs; I saw a full page ad for (a position with) Chef Emeril, and ended up applying there and got a new job in New Orleans. I was a line cook, but by April was promoted to sous chef and stayed for three years. Then Emeril was talking about Vegas, and the person he slated to be chef, I liked a lot, and we worked together and just clicked really well. So when he was coming out I decided I was ready to get out. You’ve been with Emeril that whole time? I left for about 5 years, and opened a place outside Chicago. I came back from 2002-2007, but not working for the company. I helped open Wynn, some stuff in Green Valley Ranch. Since then I’ve been chef at Delmonico, Table 10. Then I was promoted to director. So what’s it like to have an organization that’s been so welcoming to you? It feels amazing. I honestly feel thankful every day. I was really fortunate and still am to be with a good company. I’m one of those people who won’t work for something I don’t like and I like Emeril a lot. He’s a great chef, great person and allows me and the other chefs to do what we need to to stay fulfilled.

You’ve worked so many places, have you drawn on each region’s style? How important is it to never stop learning? All the way back to Albany, the French chefs, I learned butchering and breaking down whole animals, anything you can think of; it was 100 percent from scratch. That’s what I learned in and came up in. I like buying the food, knowing where it’s coming from. I believe learning is paramount. As the years have gone on and I’ve been cooking for a long time, nowadays I tend to focus and enjoy learning about food history, where it comes from, how it came to be in society’s diet. March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 15

A Vintage Year UNLVino Celebrates 45 Years!!–April 11-13 Remembering a Groovy 1974 to Present Day By Don Chareunsy

What was once old is new again at this year’s 45th Annual UNLVino: Take a Sip for Scholarship.

This is the largest annual fundraiser for UNLV’s Harrah College of Hospitality, voted the top hospitality program in the nation (QS World University Rankings), beating out Cornell University three years running.

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Along with the retrospective-themed celebration to mark UNLVino’s start in 1974, UNLVino is returning to its beloved three events format this year with Bubble-Licious (April 11), Sake Fever (April 12) and the Grand Tasting (April 13). Ticket sales for the events are quickly filling up as the word is spreading about this year’s festivities and honorees. Here is a sneak peek at what this year’s attendees can expect…

The Events: Bubble-Licious, Sake Fever and The Grand Tasting Guests attending Bubble-Licious at The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health will enjoy a wide variety of wonderful champagnes, sparkling wines and small bites from some of Las Vegas’ favorite restaurants. Sake Fever at Red Rock Resort Casino & Spa boasts a fantastic selection of sake styles and producers, Japanese and other Asian spirits and cocktails, and fare from some of the very best Asian-inspired restaurants Vegas has to offer, including the carving of a 300-pound fresh tuna provided by Naked Fish’s Sushi & Grill. The three-night fundraiser culminates with UNLVino’s signature event: The Grand Tasting. This year’s big event will be held at The Mirage Hotel & Casino, where wine and food fans will imbibe a premium selection of wine, spirits, craft beers and other beverages amid 1970s-themed entertainment. Attendees are encouraged to dress “Disco” and get their groove on. They will enjoy cuisine by Hospitality College students alongside many of the best Las Vegas chefs and restaurants. UNLVino, an event “for the students, by the students” of UNLV’s renowned College of Hospitality, will raise money for the school and scholarships. This now iconic Vegas institution was started in 1974 by Southern Wine and Spirits and UNLV. A complete list of participating wineries, chefs and restaurants is available at

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The 2019 Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence Honorees are Announced This year’s Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence honorees, who have “distinguished themselves by setting an example through their inspirational leadership, character and work ethic,” are Donald Ross, Vice President of Catering, Convention & Events at Caesars Entertainment, who will be recognized at Bubble-Licious; Hae Eun Lee (Mr. Lee), owner of Lee’s Discount Liquor, at Sake Fever; and Nicole Brisson, Eataly Las Vegas Executive Chef, at The Grand Tasting.

Ross, with more than 40 years of

experience in hotel, resort and casino management, is a longtime supporter of UNLVino and has been instrumental in properties in Las Vegas and outside the city and Nevada. Ross currently oversees banquet, catering and conference and meeting services teams at 10 Caesars Entertainment properties.

Mr. Lee, as a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, is a household name in Las Vegas with 23 Lee’s Discount Liquors locations along with those hilariously cheeky billboards. Lee’s nonprofit Lee’s Helping Hand has assisted other nonprofits, including The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Opportunity Village, Blind Center of Nevada, Spread the Word Nevada and New Vista Community. Brisson, a young pioneer among female

chefs on the Las Vegas Strip and the first female to become executive chef of an Eataly in America, has lived and worked in Las Vegas for more than 15 years. Brisson (“Chopped,” “Late Night Chef Fight,” “Action Bronson Munchies,” “Beat Bobby Flay”) became the first chef appointed to Southern Nevada Health District’s board of directors and recently served on the board of Urban Seed Las Vegas.

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1974 2018

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UNLVino in 2018 Last year’s UNLVino was a fabulous, supersized and one-night-only event at The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health featuring more than 50 celebrated chefs; more than 130 world-class wine, spirits and beer vendors; and honorees Robin Leach, a longtime celebrity journalist, who was lauded with a 21-cork salute; Excalibur President and COO Ann Hoff; and Donald Carano, recipient of the inaugural Dom Perignon Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year’s UNLVino also included a release of 1,926 red, white and blue balloons in honor of the late Paul Bocuse’s birth year. Past Dom Perignon Award of Excellence honorees include David Hoenemeyer, Jan Jones Blackhurst, Jerry Vallen, Jon Taffer, Larry Ruvo, Renee West, Robert G. Goldstein, Romero Britto, Scott Sibella, Tony Hsieh and Chefs Brian Massie, Daniel Boulud, Guy Fieri, Masaharu Morimoto, Steve Martorano and Thomas Keller. From humble beginnings in the Southern Wine & Spirits warehouse, UNLVino has grown into a premier wine, spirits and food event and serves as the year’s largest fundraiser for UNLV’s College of Hospitality. Founded in 1974 by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Senior Managing Director Larry Ruvo and former College of Hospitality dean Jerry Vallen, UNLVino has raised millions of dollars in scholarships and become one of the city’s must-attend events of the year. UNLV’s College of Hospitality is consistently ranked as one of the top hospitality programs in the world. Just blocks away from the epicenter of the hospitality industry, the Las Vegas Strip, UNLV hospitality students have unparalleled opportunities to gain handson, industry-relevant experience. Each year the college organizes nearly 600 internships, welcomes more than 100 national hospitality brands to recruitment events, and pairs an average of 175 industry mentors with students. With the recent completion of Hospitality Hall, UNLV’s new, state-of-theart academic building, students are helping UNLV usher in a new era of excellence in hospitality education. “UNLVino shines the spotlight on UNLV’s world-class and award-winning William F. Harrah College of Hospitality and its talented students, who are tomorrow’s leaders,” summed up Michael Severino, Senior Director of Special Events & Marketing at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, a longtime headliner sponsor of UNLVino.

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UNLV College of Hospitality Justin Leung, 22, is a student in UNLV’s College of Hospitality from Atlanta and graduates in May (Leung also is a featured writer in this issue of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional). His primary duty for 2019 UNLVino is overseeing volunteers alongside three others. “We are called Volunteer Coordinators and are in charge of recruiting students eligible to participate and assist us with event operations. We will have volunteers at all three UNLVino events: Bubble-Licious, Sake Fever and The Grand Tasting.” Taking the UNLVino class at UNLV, a course dedicated to planning and executing the annual scholarship fundraiser, has kept Leung busy, as well as inspired him. “My experience has been quite a journey. We have been working hard and taking part in meetings with faculty members. Speakers from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and previous UNLVino student managers have presented to us. “My journey has been packed and enjoyable. I’m learning how to connect with professionals and the proper way to pitch to all kinds of potential partners. I can’t express how exciting it is being a part of the planning, preparation and execution of UNLVino. My experience in the UNLVino class has been a joyride with diverse and skilled peers. There is much to experience in this year’s event!” When Leung graduates from UNLV, he plans to participate in The Management Associate Program with MGM Resorts in Food & Beverage. After the program, his goal is to continue learning as a manager in F&B and eventually become an executive in the field.

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Tickets for all three events are on sale now and available at

Bubble-Licious Thursday, April 11, 2019 Keep Memory Alive Event Center The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health 7 to 10 p.m.; $125 advance/$150 door

Sake Fever Friday, April 12, 2019 Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa 7 to 10 p.m.; $75 advance/$100 door

The Grand Tasting Saturday, April 13, 2019 The Mirage Hotel & Casino 7 to 10 p.m.; $125 advance/$150 door

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By Sk Delph

photos courtesy Sk Delph

Las Vegas Inaugurates ‘Chef Battle’

Sk Delph knows her way around food and wine, not necessarily in that order, having lived and traveled from Sonoma, California to Boston and back to Vegas for the last fourteen years with her chef husband, turned GM here in Vegas. She has been published in various short story anthologies and is currently working on her first novel.

I love a chef battle, and the Chef Battle Las Vegas, held on February 13, was a great one! The chefs showed up armed with that secret wow factor ingredient, knives sharp enough to cut the tension in the air, and hungry for a win. You could taste the excitement as the broth bubbles and protein hit the flame and the aromas intoxicated. And what could be a more fitting place for this great battle than the iconic Hofbräuhaus (4510 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169), a true old-world German beer hall with a great selection of German brews and a party atmosphere. I suspect Oktoberfest happens here every day. The Chef Battle venue, created by Social Power Hour, has already battled in ten different cities including Spokane, Portland, San Diego and now Las Vegas. Their plan is to bring this battle to all fifty states in 2019. Samantha Thomas, host of the lifestyle talk show Small Talk with Samantha, got this party started and everyone caught the vibe; it's contagious! The chefs had one hour to execute the dish of their choice using ingredients from a mystery pantry and were allowed to bring a sous chef to help them. Adding to the excitement was the 30-second pantry run during which the chef competitors were allowed a second chance to add last minute touches. Let's meet the chefs. First, I found Chef Amanda Woodward, a Banquet Sous Chef at The Cosmopolitan. She adores tacos, which are her go-to dish, and tonight was no exception. “I love a challenge,” she said. It's true. She competed on Chopped and made it through the first round. Props, Amanda! Chef Amirah Brown is excited about her food. She put together some of the lightest, melt-in-

your-mouth turkey meatball medallions topped with a creamy rich mushroom sauce. Amirah is vibrant and energetic, and excited to be here. “This is my time!” she exclaimed. “I was ‘organically’ inclined to become a chef. I come from a big family of bakers and chefs.” Yes, she used the word, organically. It's part of her essence as a chef. We have to agree, Amirah! Chef Peter Rochford worked with serious concentration. The Chef de Partie from Trump Tower said, “My competitive spirit brought me here today.” When not handed a menu to prepare, Peter's passion is Italian food. He lights up just talking about it. “I was exposed to true classic and traditional Italian dishes at a very young age,” he said. Well then, buon appetito! Next up, Chef Will “Dubs” Staten cooked with a constant smile. An award-winning chef, he's the owner of Ragin Cajun Cooking. “I'm a black belt in karate,” he announced with pride. It's a discipline he carries over to his creole and Cajun cooking. Among his many awards, his most prestigious placed him in the top twenty-five at the World Food Championships. His flavorful jambalaya added yet another notch to his belt when he placed third in the battle. The chef battle surprise was Chef Jon VanHusen. Jon won the Crowd's Choice Award and came in second place for the battle itself. His offering was a perfectly executed pork belly with fall vegetables braised in beer. He then ladled it over with a creative Chinese hot mustard beurre blanc, followed by a finishing touch of crumbled rice crackers sprinkled over the top for a crunch that produced a flavor on par with a well-executed amuse bouche. Both honors were well deserved. Chef Jon's approach to everything is humble. He was the only competitor without a sous chef, insisting he didn't need one. He was right!

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Executive Chef Oscar Sanchez, Owner of Oscar Catering was the night's big winner, taking first place. His award-winning dish was a beautifully seasoned striped bass with quinoa, dressed with an avocado cilantro sauce. “I love challenges,” he said, “and enjoy introducing new fusion flavors to the palate.” Chef Oscar insists on using healthy ingredients—gluten-free, non-GMO— and produces several vegan options. His passion is to develop new flavor profiles for the palate. Both Chef Jon VanHusen and Chef Oscar Sanchez will travel to the West Coast Regionals this November in Anaheim, California. And if either one wins, he'll compete with the Nationwide winners in the All-American Chef Battle in 2020. Congratulations to Chef Oscar for taking first place in the Las Vegas Chef Battle, Chef Jon VanHusen for winning the Crowd’s Choice award and second place and to Chef Will Staten for placing third. There were four judges: Shaun O’Neale, Master Chef Season 7 Winner and Author of My Modern American Table; Michael Politz, Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Food & Beverage Magazine; and Elaine and Scott Harris of The Daily Meal. All did a fabulous job choosing the winners, and the audience was in close agreement with the judges and showed their appreciation. Proceeds from the chef battle will benefit The Golden Rule Charity and the Las Vegas sponsors included Hofbräuhaus, Breakthru Beverage Group and Food + Travel Today. A special shoutout to Matt Hensler of Hensler Agency, for his amazing work putting this event together. This chef battle was a first for Las Vegas and if we can judge by its reception, it's not going to be the last.

By Chef Allen Asch Feel free to contact Chef Allen with ideas for comments or future articles at

Chef Talk Spring Is Almost Upon Us

Spring is such a great season for epicureans. There is a bounty of fresh ingredients and with the changeover from heavy cooking like braising to lighter cooking, such as the grill, we see an influx of lighter dishes being brought to the table. Besides produce we see items like the spring lamb coming to the table. In both the Jewish and Christian religions lamb is a traditional meal served during the spring holidays. In the Jewish religion the Torah, the first five books of scripture, states that there should be a sacrifice of a lamb the night before Passover and the meat should be eaten on the first day of the holiday. In Christianity the lamb is a traditional food served for an Easter feast which is a carryover from the Jewish tradition. The reason that this food is equated to these holidays is the abundance of young sheep during the spring season. Sheep live for at least 10 years, but when they are young, they are called lamb. The meat that is eaten off of a sheep that is older than 1 year is called mutton while younger than a year they are called lamb. Sheep are a very important part of the worldwide market, producing wool, milk and meat. This meat is usually tougher than lamb and needs longer cooking times and moisture while cooking, to help tenderize it. When the meat is less than a year it is much more tender and fits into the quicker cooking methods used in the cooler months. Sheep came to America with Columbus and now

Chef Allen Asch M. Ed., CCE is a culinary arts instructor that has earned degrees from Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University and Northern Arizona University. He is currently teaching at UNLV. He earned his Certified Culinary Educator Endorsement from the American Culinary Federation in 2003.

there are 40 breeds, out of the 900 worldwide, producing milk, food and wool. An average sheep can produce 8 pounds of wool a year, in its one shearing per year. This amount of wool can make 80 miles of yarn. The three major producers of lamb in the world are Australia, New Zealand and the United States, most notably Colorado. The domestic breeds are the largest of the varieties so if you like large muscles this is the best type to buy. This would be especially so for racks of lamb. Since most American lamb is grain fed this will also have the least gamey flavor. New Zealand produces the smallest and the youngest of the breeds. Australian lamb was traditionally grown for wool production so the meat was less desirable than other countries’ meat. In recent years they have worked hard to create a more desirable product for food and have bred their sheep with American breeds to create a more desirable product for eating. This lamb meat is cheaper than a domestic product. The lowest quality meat comes from the New Zealand lamb. These breeds are used to produce wool but the quality and quantity of meat is much less than the other varieties. These breeds are also grass fed rather than grain fed which adds to the “gamey” taste you might experience. This is a very common product used when cost is a bigger factor than quality. This is the youngest

of the products brought to market. Usually 6-7 months old. Lamb consumption in the United States is on the decline, down to about a pound a year per person. This is in great contrast to Icelanders that consume 55 pounds per year. The Icelandic lamb is only available in the fall and usually in a higher end store. China has the largest amount of the 1 billion sheep in the world, but it is used for wool production more than for a food source. If you like the flavor of lamb but do not like the price of it, there are many cuts that you can buy that are cheaper and easy to use. The most-tender cut, as with most animals, is the center cuts such as the ribs. These muscles work very little so they are tender. The young lamb, under one year, is tender but some muscles even though they are not used are still tough. These are the muscles that the animal will use as it ages so it is rife with tendons and ligaments. The tender cuts are the rack and the loin chop as well as the leg. These cuts can be cooked by dry heat methods such as roasting, grilling and frying. Less expensive cuts of lamb would be a shoulder chop, breast and sirloin roast. These cuts have excellent flavor but they cannot be cooked on the grill or other dry heat methods. These cuts have a better and fuller flavor but need to be braised or stewed to tenderize the tough cuts of meat.

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 27



P V E .L W W W


USBG Las Vegas

By Adam Rains Adam has a true passion for food, wine, beer & spirits. He is tiki-attaché and lead bartender at The Golden Tiki, a long-time cocktailian, and a member of the Health & Wellness Committee for the United States Bartenders’ Guild in Las Vegas. Adam strives to learn every day and during his career he’s studied at SDSU, USBG, BarSmarts, International Sommeliers Guild, Certified Cicerone Program and the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Academy. His mantra with both food & cocktails is, “Fresh is best.”

RO X A N N E G O MEZ The USBG and this city see a constant flow of energetic and talented people come into its ranks, and one of those is Roxanne Gomez. She is originally from central California but came to Vegas to fulfill her service industry dreams. The new Las Vegan (she is a vegan by the way!) can be seen sipping G&T’s at some favorite local bars when she is not behind the bar. How long have you been in the USBG and what do you enjoy about it? photo courtesy RoxannE Gomez

I have been in the USBG for three months now. I love that everyone knows everyone and I feel like we are all one big family.

How do you approach our profession? My approach to bartending is making sure I am personable with every guest! Anyone can make a drink but your personality and demeanor is what they will remember ♥️. Where are you practicing your craft? I currently work at The Golden Tiki and a new fusion restaurant called Blume in Henderson! I have also worked concerts and shows as well as weddings.

What are some of your favorite spots around town? I like to drink at locals bars and support our local USBG friends and bartenders.

G RE G O R Y R ODRIG UEZ Out of many assets to our Chapter, Gregory Rodriguez is a definite standout. This four year USBG member has worked his way up and down the Strip in numerous facets but now has landed in one of Las Vegas’ more iconic bars, Oak & Ivy. We are truly lucky to have him in our family. Where are you from? I’m born in Miami, FL to a Dominican mother/Cuban father. My formative years I grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and for the last 13 years I’ve been in Miami and Las Vegas. What do you like about the USBG?

Random Gregory facts? I’m a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I’m a Miami Marlins fan. Where do you like to drink? I’m a big fan of Caribbean fare; that is why I’m in love with Jammyland. They encompass the Caribbean hospitality to the fullest. Also, they make handshaken Hurricanes!!! What’s your favorite drink to drink/ make? A classic Old-Fashioned or a fresh Daiquiri. Regarding bartending? Be a constant professional behind the bar, be open minded and have Fun.

photo courtesy Gregory Rodriguez

The USBG is communal! There is a lot of love and admiration towards the talented bartenders in Las Vegas. I love supporting other bartenders

in their endeavors and the USBG is graceful in doing this.

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 29

By Shelley Stepanek

Best of the Best

Shelley Stepanek is President of DSA, the oldest non-profit tourist association in the state, along with being on the board of ticket brokers. Shelley has previously owned three restaurants.

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photos by Shelley Stepanek

photos courtesy Fred’s International Bakery

FRED’S INTERNATIONAL BAKERY Baking is somewhat of an art and science combined. If one is also lucky to be born in a rural and traditional lifestyle where baking is essential to everyday living, that person is even more qualified to be a successful baker, as baking is their second nature growing up. One such person is native Transylvanian, 34-year-old Alina Kolman. She and long-time resident Frederick Kolman joined forces a year ago and bit the bullet of exploring a new venture. The duo have entered into the very challenging European array of baking products. Fred’s courage of venturing in this business was mainly inspired by his wife’s ability to meet the task at hand that is necessary on a daily basis. In a short period of time the two have built a vast menu of various types of bread (Sourdough, Ciabatta, French Baguettes), quiches, savory pies and over 20 specialty desserts based on Old World recipes. Everything is made with the freshest all-natural ingredients and with an absolute care to the looks and taste. I tried their Cremeschnitte (which means Cream Slice in German). Magnificent! The puff pastry is handmade using only flour, butter and water, none of the commercial canola oil or hydrogenated fats, and you can tell the difference from the first bite. Alina is also a certified health coach and she is particularly interested in the nutritional value of her products. She cooks with walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, raisins and dates and she also makes gluten-free and low-carb bread and desserts for people on special diets. Their Chocolate Salami is the only one made in the state and it is delicious. They offer prompt service including delivery. As a wholesaler, Fred’s Bakery is mostly looking for commercial accounts; however, their exquisite loaves of bread and baguettes, as well as other fabulous dessert items can be found at local farmers markets. I can’t say enough about this place. For more information on products, prices and farmers market itinerary call Alina at 702-292-4752 and check their Facebook page @FredsInternationalBakery. Fred’s Bakery motto is “Bake with passion or don’t bake at all.” MANZO IN EATALY! Manzo, located in Eataly, the giant Italian conglomerate of Italian eating, shopping and indulging experiences in front of Park MGM, opened last month. The small but intimate restaurant is amazing. There is a wood-fired grill, and slowly cooked ducks, permeating the restaurant with the terrific smell. Try the house-made pork and veal filled pasta, with bone marrow and winter black truffle butter, called Agnolotti del Plin. The grilled sea bass, with fennel and artichokes, and the white Peking duck breast are absolutely to be tried. They serve a 42 oz. dry-aged Ribeye Appesa, enough to feed three people. Manzo will be happy to pair your wines. Sides include charred broccoli rabe, oven-dried tomatoes with garlic and lemon, and the Cavolett, with Brussels sprouts, speck and shallot, of which I tried all. We wish this grand new place a great success. And a special thanks to the team: Nicole Brisson, Executive Chef of Eataly Las Vegas; Arnold Corpuz, Executive Chef of Manzo; and David Barragan, Assistant General Manager of Manzo and the Gran Caffe Milano. HAKKASAN Hakkasan at the MGM is one of the liveliest and most magnificent dining places in town. Its huge dining area, two stories high, and private dining rooms add to the best of experiences. We started with Peking duck with crispy bean curd and mango as an appetizer with a Ping Jink cocktail of Haju vodka, Campari, Vanilla liqueur, tea, blood orange, lemon and yuzo soda. Pretty exotic names in a drink. A dim sum duo of chicken puff and seafood sesame rolls with a Chilean seabass and bamboo soup followed. Wok-fry lobster with spinach and lily bulb, was the main course with stirfried vegetables including shitake mushrooms and deeply marinated lamb was another sure dish. They have crispy suckling pig or roasted jasmine chicken, both with sticky rice. We topped out the night with a dark chocolate and crispy hazelnut tart, along with a sweet citrus flavor of mandarin, which were the highlights of the evening. Elegance, class and sophistication abound. Great service every time I have gone. HEADS UP! Red Rock will be hosting The Epicurean Affair this year on May 16th. Numerous restaurants all around their beautiful pool. Bon Appetite’s Vegas Uncork’d, with several events held at various locations, will be the previous week, for four separate nights of feasting May 9-12.

The Bottom Line Avoid Customer Confusion by Keeping Things Simple

Are you an upscale burger joint or a gastropub? Do you serve Mexican food, Mexican fusion or just have a few Mexican dishes on the menu? Is your craft cocktail program one of your main selling points, or do you want to push guests toward your beer selection? On the surface these can seem like trivial details, but they all fall under the branding umbrella. Your restaurant’s value proposition—the main ingredient that gets someone to walk through your doors—should be clear and consistent across the guest experience, with special focus on your menu, price point and ambiance. Sadly, a restaurant’s value proposition isn’t as simple as “good food, good service.” These elements are, after all, what essentially every restaurant aspires to. The question you want to ask yourself is “How do I want my customers to describe my restaurant in a sentence?” There will inevitably be overlap between your establishment and many others in your area. “Great Italian food,” for example, is a perfectly acceptable answer. The key, however, is consistency. If you lined up your last 100 customers and asked each of them to describe your restaurant in a sentence, then at least 90 of them should say roughly the same thing. An even split among “great Italian food,” “wine bar” and “pizza joint” paints three very different pictures of your restaurant’s brand, and could either unnecessarily turn customers away [people looking for something more filling than a wine bar] and/or unnecessarily disappoint others [people looking for a wine bar but stepping into a casual pizza joint that happens to serve wine]. Here are a few tips for keeping your brand clear and consistent.

By Ben Brown Benjamin Brown, MBA is Restaurant Editor of The SoCal Food & Beverage Professional. A seasoned

writer and consultant, Ben works with Fortune 500

companies and mom & pop shops alike in Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, PR and Business

Development. Contact Ben at or follow him @Foodie_Biz.

two elements tie together. Perhaps the owner immigrated to the US and fell in love with burgers, and decided to create American dishes with Japanese influence, as well as sushi with an American influence. If you’re experimenting with new items that stray away from your central theme, justify it with a story. Add a description that states the inspiration behind the dish. Give the customer every reason possible to understand and appreciate your offerings. At the same time, if an item isn’t selling and it strays from the rest of your menu mix, you may be better off by removing it altogether.

Justify your ambiance.

Ambiance and price have a pretty direct relationship. While it’s critical to make ends meet financially, it’s also important to match your prices to the feel of your restaurant and the quality of your food. Charge too much and you’ll be seen as overpriced, and eventually lose loyalists. Charge too little and people may not correctly perceive your quality, and you’ll leave money on the table. Then there comes the issue of a wait. If your restaurant has a line, it should be due to overwhelming demand and not poor management. Pink’s Hot Dogs [at least the original location in L.A.] is a perfect example of the line being part of the experience. If you’ve got a wait with empty tables visible, on the other hand, that may well be the message that your patrons are passing along to their peers.

Keep imagery on par.

Nothing adds a personal touch to your menu like a brief synopsis on the story behind your restaurant. This is your prime opportunity to define your brand and your key message points in a cohesive, genuine story. Take a good look at your menu mix and ask yourself how it all ties together. The answer is simple at some places, such as a classic sushi spot. For a place that serves both sushi and burgers with a Japanese influence, however, it’s important to paint a clear picture of how these

Photos of your food and dining areas should match the experience you’re looking to create. Higher-priced establishments should tolerate nothing less than beautiful food photos. No gastropub owner wants to be mistaken as a burger joint due to lack of investment in good imagery. More casual establishments can get away with lower-grade images. Professional-grade food photos may actually have a negative effect in these cases, as some guests could perceive the restaurant as overpriced from investing too much in marketing. On the other end of the spectrum, however, kitschy photos should also be avoided. Simply capture your food in the way you want your customers to perceive it.

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 31

Add a story to your menu.

May I Recommend...

Blake Myers visited Las Vegas many times annually for over 35 years, and as his familiarity with so many restaurants grew, more and more people “back home” began asking him where to eat on their “upcoming visit.” In 1998 he began formally reviewing and recommending his best picks in a newsletter he published, and after moving here in 2008 soon established his website, Bestofvegasdining. com, through which he shares his selections with a worldwide audience.

photos courtesy Golden Steer and Blake Myers

Golden Steer

By Blake Myers

Science fiction writers have long written about time travel. Though the idea of traveling back in time is plausible in theory, the world’s leading scientists have concluded that, in reality, it may only be a distant dream. The world’s leading scientists are wrong! To easily experience time travel right now, knowledgeable diners in Las Vegas need only venture one block off the Strip to 400 W. Sahara Ave., the location since 1958 of the Golden Steer Steakhouse, described in their words as the oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas. We discovered the Golden Steer in 1971. They did no tourist advertising then, as they had an abundance of local customers, and many celebrity high-rollers regularly hung out at what was one of the “coolest” spots in town. The superstars of yesteryear who regularly frequented the restaurant included the “Rat Pack,” a name given by the media to describe the loosely-knit group of entertainers who reigned over the Las Vegas casino scene. They included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, all of whom are well-known today even by those who hadn’t even been born at that time. Though the Golden Steer began as just a small restaurant with a dining room and bar, they have regularly expanded by taking over various neighboring shops. In the 1970s they added a larger bar/dining area that recreates an old Victorian-era vibe reminiscent of the Gold Rush days of San Francisco. Further redecoration continued in the 1990s with modern improvements while, at the same time, meticulously maintaining the original look of the premises.

From owner John Kludjian’s opening until today, the restaurant has remained as famous as any of the few remaining businesses from the city’s glittering past. Dr. Michael Signorelli purchased it from Kludjian in 2001 and, to his credit, has retained the tuxedoed waiters, classic menu items and the interior ambiance of leather banquettes, wood paneling, flocked wallpaper and old west art that seem frozen in time. After being seated in the main dining room, one of the first decisions facing many diners is the wine list. Sommelier Leo Teodorescu, the Wine and Beverage Director, has created a comprehensive selection with comfortable pricing that often is below that found in many Strip locations. His wine categories are: Sparkling, Whites and Rosés, New World Pinot Noirs, New World Merlots and Other Reds, California Cabernet Sauvignons and Blends, Golden Napa Valley Selections, and Old World Reds. Additionally, a supplemental list is named “Remaining Gems - Limited Availability Selections” that features a number of very interesting additional choices. If you wish to bring your own bottle, the restaurant charges a $30 corkage fee, which is more modest than you may find elsewhere. Your initiation to time travel continues as you open the menu and gaze upon classic 1950s appetizers that are virtually non-existent in most restaurants today, such as escargots de Bourgogne, seafood-stuffed mushrooms and toasted ravioli (a St. Louis specialty). You may want to experience one of the classic Caesar salads, of which they prepare more than 100 nightly. Ours was executed tableside by Venko, a very personable Bulgarian-born

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waiter who has been demonstrating his talent at the Golden Steer for 27 years. His length of service is not an anomaly; there are many on staff who have been there for 20, 30 or more years. The restaurant’s food has remained consistently great because of the presence of the two lead chefs, who have been there 20 plus and 30 plus years, respectively. Your journey to the past will be enhanced by seldom-seen entrees like extra large Dover sole in lemon butter and Chateaubriand for two with vegetable medley. Lest you forget that the Golden Steer is a dyed-in-the-wool steakhouse, you’ll find a cornucopia of steaks and chops ranging from bone-in rib eyes, double-cut lamb chops, filets, strips and porterhouses, to prime rib in 10-, 18- and 24-ounce cuts. All their beef is 21-day aged Prime, cut in-house, and in my experience, you definitely won’t need a sharp knife. Non-beef lovers will be tempted by a jumbo Western Australian lobster tail, Alaskan king crab legs, shrimp scampi, Alaskan salmon and the previously mentioned Dover sole. You’ll want to save room for two delectable desserts of yesteryear as the waiters do a tableside preparation of the 50s era classics: cherries jubilee or bananas Foster, among other tempting choices. During the meal we were joined by the very vivacious Amanda Signorelli, daughter of owner Dr. Michael Signorelli, who confided that she has left her Chicago career and very recently returned to her Las Vegas roots to join her father in the restaurant’s operation. This certainly bodes well for your time travel opportunities well into the future. Don’t wait to go back to the past.

By Linda Westcott-Bernstein

Human Resources Insights

Linda Westcott-Bernstein has provided sound human resources advice and guidance to Fortune 500 companies and others for over 25 years. Linda has recently re-published her self-help book entitled It All Comes Down to WE! This book offers guidelines for building a solid and enduring personal work ethic. You can find her book on Amazon or Google Books. Phone: 702-326-4040 Email:

Are You Working in a Toxic Environment? Toxic. That is a rather harsh sounding word to use to define a place that a person might work. Just to clarify, I am not speaking about work that is done in a nuclear plant or at a garbage dump site. Those places can actually be physically toxic. When I speak of a toxic work environment, I define it to mean…“an extremely unpleasant or malicious” place. The toxic work environments that exist out there today have characteristics such as retaliatory, condemning, harsh, unfriendly, disrespectful and even poisonous in nature. These places exist because there is no cohesion, culture, leadership, and most noticeable, no expectation of respect.

The work environment is what we make of it. If we don’t support the value and contributions our employees make then we tend to condemn it. Even the most good intentioned management team can create a toxic environment when they become disinterested in the success and welfare of their employees. This environment of disinterest consists of managers and supervisors who do not listen, nor have compassion or can even communicate well or relate to their workforce, regardless of the age, demographic, gender or ethnicity.

Let’s review and compare the components of a toxic environment as compared to the preferred attributes: Toxic attitudes and behaviors:

Preferred cultural and leadership attributes:

Focus on the negative, laying blame, jealousy

Focus on the positive, ask questions, seek resolution

Lack of teamwork and dissension in the ranks

Team goals, efforts and ideas are shared freely and openly

Backstabbing and scapegoating

Identify root causes/problems, then seek a better outcome

Assuming fault, looking for problems, anger

Work together towards solutions, problem-solving, ideas

Lack of cohesion, compassion and communication

Emphasize information and communication between all

Human Resources (HR) can have a significant impact on your culture, the environment and the overall cohesion of the organization, if, and only if, they have the support of management and the proper mindset of caring, team, and approachability, as well as a clear understanding of their role—which is to serve. When or if an HR function becomes

too lofty, unapproachable or disconnected from the needs of their constituents, they fail to be effective in leading that company toward the end goal of superior customer service, respect for all and a sound business and people culture.

HR Question of the month:

Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 33

The RESTAURANT EXPERT How to Hit a Home Run in Labor Controls

How do you make money in the restaurant business? The reality is it’s the small things that add up, such as reducing the cost of cheese by a nickel a pound or reducing the number of garbage pickups a month by one. But every so often, like in a game of baseball, with the bases loaded, you bring up your cleanup hitter to clear the bases with one big swing. In baseball, this is known as a grand slam. If that cleanup hitter is a system, then with that one system, you’ll reap huge savings. This article is about choosing the system that is your cleanup hitter. It’s the one batter who can hit a restaurant profits grand slam for almost any restaurant. You simply need to know how to send him in. Start with the right equipment. When it comes to controlling your labor cost, you must start with the right tools and equipment. In this case, that includes a labor budget and labor budgeting system. First, you need to know your target labor cost. That starts with knowing what your prime cost should be. That’s the sum of your total cost of goods sold and your total labor cost. Prime cost for a full-service restaurant needs to be 55 percent, no matter what type of restaurant you are. Please note that it doesn’t matter how you divide up that 55 percent between cost of goods sold and labor, just so that together they don’t exceed your prime cost target of 55 percent maximum.

By David Scott Peters David Scott Peters is a restaurant consultant, coach, speaker and founder of, a company committed to the success of independent restaurants. Peters is a restaurant industry-recognized blogger and his writing is regularly published in restaurant industry publications, such as Restaurant Hospitality, Catersource, and QSR Magazine. Learn more at

You need a good warm up. Before you can hit the big one, you have to be warmed up. To warm up, you need to calculate what your labor expenses were last week. This will give you some key numbers to ensure you hit your projected labor budget for next week. Below is an example of what you need to calculate. With this information, you’ll be able to tell each of your managers, by department, how many hours they have to schedule and how much money they have to spend (not including taxes, benefits and insurance.) Swinging the bat. Now that you know what your average hourly wages are by department, average hourly wage for all line employees and the percentage of hours by department, you can now follow my step-by-step system to ensure you hit your target labor cost and ultimately make more money! You need to know how much you have to spend on labor next week. To do this you need two pieces of information: a) your projected sales for the week; and b) your target labor cost percentage, excluding taxes, benefits and insurance. How much money do you have to spend, minus management salaries? Since management salaries are a fixed expense, simply subtract their salaries from your total dollars available. How many hours do you have available to

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schedule for your line employees throughout your entire restaurant? Take your average hourly wage for the entire restaurant and divide it by the total dollars you have to spend for all of your line employees. How many hours does each department get? You were probably asking yourself earlier, “Why do I need to know the percentage of hours each department used last week?” By multiplying those percentages by the total number of hours available for next week, you quickly determine how many hours each department gets. Last but not least, based on average hourly wages by department, you’ll be able to allocate every penny each department gets and stay within budget… guaranteed! Hitting the home run. You should be saying to yourself, “WOW! That’s really easy!” And that’s because it is. Your final step is to give each manager the number of hours they have to schedule for next week and how much money they can spend. Then have them write their department schedules. The attitude here is to schedule to stay within budget, not just to fill shifts. By following my step-by-step labor budgeting system…you’re in position to hit your very own restaurant profits grand slam!

By Justin Leung

photos courtesy Savannah Reeves, Deanna Wong, Emily Yang and Savannah Reeves

Justin Leung, a Hospitality Management student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, represents the Epicurean Society, a collective of food and restaurant enthusiastic students. As the journalist on their leadership team, Justin desires to share the club’s experiences with the public. He is from Georgia and decided to pursue his passion for hospitality in Las Vegas.

January 22 marked the start of a new semester at UNLV. Students were steadily adjusting into their temporarily, abandoned traditions: grabbing cups of triple-shot espresso lattes or energy drinks, treading through campus fields and maneuvering through lecture hall aisles and seats. Their winter vacation was nothing close to a haze and captured memories of gatherings were the first photos you’d see in their smartphone gallery. Getting together in social groups and reuniting with friends to share vacation stories seemed to be on most people’s agenda. In the following week, opportunities for university gatherings resurfaced. Basked underneath the sunlight and met by the early morning drafts, nearly all of UNLV’s registered student organizations had set up their own booths for the bi-annual Involvement Fair on January 30. Welcomed amongst fellow partners and classmates, a couple of members and I introduced Epicurean Society to the hundreds of students passing by the UNLV Alumni Amphitheater. Our organization continues to grow daily and the message of our organization’s food enthusiasm spreads throughout campus. With that knowledge in mind, Epicurean Society’s leadership team made a strategic decision to host weekly meetings on Tuesdays. Formerly, the club would meet once a month which admittedly did not maintain the interest of our community. The new weekly meetings not only provide a space for discussion and planning, but also more efficient and frequent communication between our committees. Front-of-house. Back-of-house. Marketing. Restaurant outings. These are our four Epicurean Society teams that have returned from a small revamp of the organization’s teams. Instead of having more teams, our

executive team made the decision to have student committees handle more duties instead of less. Front-of-house committee members will be responsible for overseeing the activities for each meeting, planning and putting together a décor proposal for events, assist with floor plans/seating arrangements and creating entertainment or activities for the club’s programs. On the flip side of operations, backof-house individuals will not only assist with culinary projects, but will also be in charge of coming up with food items and recipe lists for inventory purchases. The marketing committee will be in charge of utilizing graphic design or artistic practices in order to promote and create awareness of Epicurean Society and its programs. Their work will also correlate with the duties of front-of-house and back-of-house teams. Not only do these approaches provide accurate representation of our themes, utilizing all forms of media aid potential partners and local organizations to connect with our humble team of food enthusiasts. To augment the marketing team’s efforts, restaurant outing members are in charge of researching and selecting the next best venue or opportunity for a club outing. This particular team also contacts restaurants or vendors to coordinate the time and day of the event. Combined efforts of the two committees: Marketing and Restaurant outings, Epicurean Society is able to establish extensive connections in Las Vegas. With efforts of our Restaurant Outings team and Marketing group, we were connected with a new, exciting and merry adventure. A brand-new resort brought to life by the theme of parks and nature, Park MGM stands

at the center of an all-inclusive destination. With Park Theater and The Park all within walking distance of this European-inspired megaresort, one of the most anticipated visitations had finally opened on December 27. New addition to the resort and the city of Las Vegas, and a venue known all around the country, Eataly Las Vegas became a novel adventure for the world to relish. We, as a team, had to take a gander for ourselves. On February 12, we visited the new marketplace in town. Featuring handmade, freshly created, and authentic selections, Eataly Las Vegas brought a whole new meaning to experience. Since it is connected to the casino resort, parts of it are open 24/7 and is the only Eataly ever to have eating, shopping and learning all in the same place. They believe in the concept of “Anything is Possible” and with inspirations from Las Vegas, guests will find poker chips with Eataly’s iconic symbols on them. From cafes, counters, bars, dining spots and the market, guests will certainly want to spend time here. Pizza. Pasta. Selections of cheese and meat. Wine on tap. Cooking classes, and even tasting events. Epicurean Society members helped themselves to a number of delicacies such as cannoli with Nutella cream, gelato with prosecco, a Nutella banana crepe and handmade pasta. The Eataly experience, however, does not stop there. Guests are welcome to shop at a premium Italian wine store which not only contains wine, but beer and liquor as well. With more than 1,000 wines available, Eataly Las Vegas certainly sets a new stage for the Strip. Epicurean Society bids Eataly farewell, until next time.

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 35

Product Review By Bob Barnes

DNX Foods Grass-Fed Beef & Uncured Bacon Jalapeño Bar The word bacon got my attention and jalapeno was the icing on the cake. Well, not a cake, but rather a new protein bar made with certified organic spices, grass-fed beef from New Zealand and Australia and uncured bacon. Those on a keto diet will be happy to know it has 14g of protein, 9g of healthy fats from high-quality animal sources, no sugar or sugar alcohol added and only 1g of carbs per bar. And, it’s vacuum-packed to stay fresh for a year without refrigeration, tastes great and has just enough jalapeño to give it a bit of a kick without being too spicy. Other bonuses are the fact it contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives, fillers, GMOs, MSG, dairy, soy, gluten, antibiotics or hormones.

Bumbu XO Appreciation for aged rum is on the rise and I count myself as one of those enjoying this expanding segment of the market. My latest find is Bumbu XO. Named for the term used by sailors in the past to describe their rum when mixed with Caribbean fruits and spices to enhance its flavor, this small batch premium rum is aged up to 18 years in bourbon barrels and finished in white oak sherry barrels from Andalusia, Spain. It’s distilled and aged at a 120-year-old distillery in Panama and uses only local sugarcane and pure spring water. The 80 proof rum exhibits aromas of toffee, toasted oak and vanilla and on the palate presents notes of orange zest, peppery spice and a hint of coffee. Classy packaging is in a paperless glass bottle, with a striking matte black finish, silver and white details and a tarnished silver “X” medallion.

Hangover Recovery I’m often leery of hangover recovery claims and in my unscientific experimentation the only prevention I’ve found to be at least partly effective is sobering up before going to bed. So, one that helps speed up that process, has some promising aspects. Such is the case for the Nilo Hangover Recovery, which is a natural blend of herbs engineered to help detox and prevent hangovers, by accelerating the breakdown of toxins in the liver released by drinking alcohol. While the mix is proprietary, it is advertised to have Hovenia Dulcis (DHM), a Japanese herb super antioxidant that boosts liver detoxification and minimizes the rebound effect alcohol has on your brain; milk thistle, which contains "Silymarin" that protects the liver against damage caused by toxins; and glutathione, a natural antioxidant that works to neutralize toxins released when drinking alcohol.

Redemption Rye Rye was the preferred spirit and #1 seller in the US before Prohibition, and after nearly being forgotten, is now making a big comeback, so much so that in recent years American farmers have had to increase production to meet demand. To be an American Rye a whiskey must be aged in new charred oak barrels and contain at least 51% rye, the ingredient that provides its peppery bite and spicy splash of flavor. This Rye contains 5% barley malt and a whopping 95% rye, so it rocks the aforementioned spicy profile. The Redemption name was chosen to reflect the idea of Rye re-claiming its status. This Rye is sourced in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, the old Seagram’s distillery founded in 1847, before being batched and barreled in Bardstown, Kentucky. The ageing and batching process is all done to taste insuring consistency bottle to bottle, the combination of high rye content allows the whiskey to gain significant flavor in new charred oak barrels with less ageing and each bottle is hand numbered to reflect the batch and bottle.

Schöfferhofer Pomegranate Bier German Hefeweizens are an ideal drink when you want something refreshing or when you want a brew on the lighter side. This new US release from Radeberger Gruppe (Germany’s largest brewery group) is a follow up of its Schöfferhofer Grapefruit, with this version made of 50% unfiltered German Hefeweizen and 50% pomegranate juice. Although it reminds me more of a fruity soda than a beer, those that love the taste of pomegranate will appreciate it for what it is: a tasty, sweet drink with a hint of tartness in the aftertaste; and at only 2.5% ABV, it’s nearly a non-alcoholic beer.

36 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I March 2019

By Ben Brown

Searsucker Adds Elegant Flavor to Caesars Palace

Benjamin Brown, MBA is Restaurant Editor of The SoCal Food & Beverage Professional. A seasoned

writer and consultant, Ben works with Fortune 500

companies and mom & pop shops alike in Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, PR and Business

Development. Contact Ben at or follow him @Foodie_Biz.

Once Chef Brian Malarkey’s brain child and now owned by the evergrowing Hakkasan group, Searsucker melds sophisticated flavor profiles with a playful and energetic atmosphere. Chic lighting, chef-centric wall art, a spacious dining room and an upscale menu are certainly a big step up from Munchbar, the late night spot that used to occupy the space. Even though Chef Malarkey is no longer at the helm, Searsucker continues to showcase a globally inspired menu of upscale renditions on comfort classics. Hovering somewhere in the ecosphere between high-end gastropub and modern steakhouse, Searsucker presents a concentrated yet diverse array of options to satisfy a broad spectrum of palates and budgets…by Vegas standards, at least. Begin your outing with Searsucker’s award-winning bone marrow, with a buttery richness and bold, flavorful crust that sits perfectly atop the grilled crostinis served alongside. Also worth checking out is the calamari, where Searsucker goes in a great new direction with slices of calamari steak breaded just enough to add texture and drenched in a chili honey glaze. A number of off-beat steaks (think flat iron) make up a fair portion of the entrees, as does some excellent seafood. The seared diver scallops are perfectly cooked and go very well with the meaty hen of the woods mushrooms served alongside. If you’re really in the mood to indulge, make your way to the ‘family’ section and spring for the 2-pound lobster, a succulent masterpiece in all its glory. Pair it, or anything on the menu for that matter, with the duck fat fries, a mountainous concoction chock full of garlic, parmesan and pancetta. End your meal with the chocolate croissant bread pudding, or another cocktail from Searsucker’s inventive list. Watch the lines build up at Omnia nightclub right next door. You never know; your evening might just be getting started. Searsucker is located at Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. Open 5 – 11p Sun, Mon, Wed and Thu; 5p – midnight Tue, Fri, Sat. Average out-the-door price for appetizer, entrée, split side and 1-2 drinks is ~$145/person. For more information call (702) 866-1800 or visit

4310 W Tompkins Ave Las Vegas, NV 89103

702-645-0049 •

Mobile Service Our mobile service vans provide sharpening services on-site to even the largest resort properties, without disrupting workflow. Commercial Knife Exchange Program We furnish sharp knives to your kitchen on a weekly or biweekly rotation schedule.

photos by Ben Brown

Jay’s Sharpening Service

Cutting Board Resurfacing & Replacements

Arville St

Equipment Sales We offer top-of-the-line knives, culinary tools, kitchen supplies and replacement parts.

W Harmon Ave

Steak & Table Knife Re-Serration / Sharpening

W Tropicana Ave

March 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 37



There are several major food & beverage events happening in the coming months. Here is a sampling of some of the events we highly recommend, so if planning to attend you can start booking now.

Al Dentes’ Provisions 702-642-1100

March 4-7 the International Pizza Expo returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center with the world’s largest pizza, ingredients, products, and service expo, including demos and contests plus samplings all day long! March 5-9 the Natural Products Expo West, held at the Anaheim Hilton and Anaheim Convention Center, will include the newest trends in natural food & beverage products. March 9 the 24th Annual Educational Taste of Excellence: Wine Tasting, Spirits & Jazz Scholarship Fundraiser will be held at Palace Station Casino with sampling of more than 100 wines, spirits and craft beers; and tastings from 17 local restaurants. March 25-27 the Nightclub & Bar Show comes to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the largest beverage and bar show in the world, with unlimited tastes and treats! Don’t miss it.

page 9

Big Dog’s Brewing Company 702-368-3715

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Designated Drivers, Inc. 877-456-7433

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Keep Memory Alive Event Center 702-263-9797

page 2

Jay’s Sharpening Service 702-645-0049

page 37

UNLVino 2019

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March 30 the 7th annual Boulder City Beerfest at Wilbur Square Park will offer more than 30 brewery tents pouring close to 100 beers. April 11-13 the 45th annual UNLVino, an event that raises money for UNLV college scholarships, will consist of three main events: BubbleLicious, a celebration of Champagne and sparkling wine on April 11; Sake Fever, an event featuring myriad sakes, Japanese spirits and cocktails on April 12; and The Grand Tasting, highlighting a collection of premium beverages alongside cuisine from UNLV’s culinary students and celebrated Vegas restaurants on April 13. April 26-27 the 9th Annual Universal Whisky Experience will take place at Wynn Las Vegas. Founded by our friend, whisky enthusiast Mahesh Patel, it will feature exclusive tastings of the world's finest whiskies, classes and other whisky experiences. This event is one not to be missed by any serious whisky aficionado!

38 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I March 2019

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