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Issue 4 Volume 17

US $3.95

Power of Love® Gala Much More Than Just a Great Party April 27, 2017




26th Annual Chefs for Kids Dinner and Auction South Point Hotel, Casino, Spa | May 13. 2017


Michael Severino and Binion Family Foundation Featuring a night of delectable food, dancing, and bidding wars for live auction packages featuring private chef dinners, tasting experiences and getaways.

More information, or (725) 333-BEET. Binion Family Foundation

April 2017



WELCOME BACK to your copy of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional where we are continuing to improve on how we get the most current news, views and comments from the movers and shakers in the industry to you monthly. You may or may not have noted that the magazine paper weight has been increased from #60 stock to #70 clean-white stock. Why? To improve the color of our photos printed in the publication and upgrade the clean print letter look. Overall, the completed magazine has a much heavier feel and increased value perception, making it more passable to friends, family and associates!






OUR APRIL COVER FEATURE is dedicated to a remarkable fundraising event to help Keep Memory Alive, THE POWER OF LOVE® GALA. Known for its headliner entertainment and food prepared by celebrity chefs and fine wines chosen by Master Sommeliers, it raises funds to help support the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s programs and services. Get your tickets!! PAGE 10 TAKES US TO DINING WITH THE HARRISES where this month they explore “Hidden Gems Beyond the Neon of the Las Vegas Strip,” which I totally appreciate and am a regular of when in town. Join them as they review a location you may, or may not already know! WELCOME BACK ON BOARD DR. MIKE MASUYAMA. On page 13 his new monthly column COOK•EAT: Asia we have his first installment on Climate & Food showing how Asians and Asian foods have migrated and how each regional food is in balance with the climate it is in. Mike-san, as he is known to friends and close associates, takes us on a journey through Southeast Asia, and this is one you don’t want to miss! TWINKLE TOAST ON PAGE 14 is a timely article on sparkling wines just in time for the warm summer season. Written by our women in wine, Erin Cooper and Christine Vanover, for those of us who are especially careful on our carb, sugar, and calorie intake and which wines are our friends and which are not.

Page 4 Hot off the Grill!

Page 12 Brett’s Vegas View

Page 5 Wine Talk From All Touch to No Touch Vineyard Practices, the New Age of Harvesting

Page 13 COOK•EAT: Asia Climate and Food

Page 6 What’s Brewing


Page 14 Twinkle Toast The Best Wines for Your Waistline

Page 22 Human Resources Insights Keeping Great Employees Page 23 The Bottom Line Aarti Sequeira: The path that took her from foodie to food celebrity Page 24 What’s Cooking

Page 8 Good for Spooning Russell Gardner – Nevada’s First Cicerone

Page 16 COVER FEATURE Power of Love® Gala Much More Than Just a Great Party

Page 9 Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips Beers to Enjoy as Spring Springs Forth

Page 18 Product Spotlight Product Review

Page 28 Really Stinky Cheese PART I

Page 10 Dining out with the Harrises Hidden Gems Beyond the Neon of the Las Vegas Strip Part II

Page 20 From Rednecks to Supreme Class

Page 29 USBG Las Vegas

Page 11 Chef Spotlight Chef Todd Clore

Page 21 Food for Thought Fall Squash in the Spring UNLV Epicurean Society

Page 26 Our Picks

Page 30 Events Ad Index

April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

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


April 2017 Mike Fryer

Sr. Editor/Publisher

On a recent visit to another great Las Vegas local restaurant, Honey Salt on the gracious invite of the owner, Elizabeth Blau, LVFNBPro Senior Editor Mike Fryer had the pleasure to once again, experience the skills of Other Mama’s Chef/Owner Dan Krohmer as he took over the Honey Salt kitchen. Chef Dan proceeded to prepare some great taste experiences including Kabocha Pancakes, Chicken Fried Kobe, Salmon Tartare, Spicy Seafood Stew, and for dessert, Poached Pear Crostada.

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

Juanita Fryer

Assistant To Sr. Editor ACF Chefs Liasion/Journalist

Bob Barnes

Editorial Director

And with all paired with wine, a great culinary experience!! Oh, and the photo is Mike’s amazement with the dinner... LVFNBPro Editorial Director Bob Barnes was impressed with Chad Castanino, a Culinary Institute of America-Hyde Park graduate, who is helming the kitchen of the new Oyster Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel and with Bradley Manchester has designed a menu of seafood delights utilizing fresh seafood that is flown in six days a week. During his visit Bob enjoyed Shrimp Scampi with house-made linguini, melt-inyour-mouth-tender Fish & Chips made with European sea bass, Calamari “Fries” battered with panko and crushed peanuts and Shrimp & Grits flavored with Tillamook, Vermont sharp cheddar. As General McArthur once famously said, “I shall return.”

Elaine & Scott Harris Editors at Large

March was a very busy month in Las Vegas for the Food & Beverage Industry and one of the highlights of the UNLVino events was Sake Fever held at the Red Rock Resort featuring hundreds of sake, with Japanese wines, beers and various small bites from some of the best Japanese restaurants in Las Vegas.

Juanita Aiello

Guests were also entertained by Taiko drummers, Kabuki dancers, Japanese cosplay and the artful presentation of a 250-pound tuna becoming sashimi. And in this photo, happy guests show their gratitude!

Adam Rains

Creative Director

Beverage Editor


Article Submissions/Suggestions

Calendar Submissions


Press Relase Submissions

General Information


The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional


Journalist Aimee McAffee

Photographer Joe Tholt

Accounting Manager Michelle San Juan

Journalist Brett’s Vegas View Jackie Brett

Journalist Shelley Stepanek

Journalist Food for Thought Les Kincaid

Journalist UNLV Epicurean Society Kimberly Verdin

Journalist John Rockwell

Journalist Chef Spotlight Leah Schmidt

Journalist Good for Spooning LeAnne Notabartolo

Journalist COOK•EAT: Asia K. Mike Masuyama Ph.D.

Photographer Audrey Dempsey

Journalist Chef Talk Allen Asch

Journalist Al Mancini

Journalist Heidi Rains

Journalist HR Insights Linda Bernstein

Journalist Green Restaurant Association Michael Oshman

Journalist Wine Talk Alice Swift

Journalist Latenight Megan Nicolson

Journalist The Bottom Line Ben Brown

Photographer Bill Bokelmann

Photographer Joe Urcioli

Journalists Twinkle Toast Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover

Journalist Lisa Matney

4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

Wine Talk with Alice Swift

By Alice Swift Alice Swift has been a resident of Las Vegas since July, 2011, and is currently an instructor as well as a Ph.D. student at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. She also works as Learning Design & Development Business Partner for MGM Resorts University. Check out her website at www. for the dish on wine, technology, or even both! She is happy to take suggestions for article topics or inquiries.

From All Touch to No Touch Vineyard Practices, the New Age of Harvesting

Last month, I read a very interesting article about the next evolution of wine grape harvesting. That being said, I’d like to provide some “beverage for thought” this month. Considering it isn’t surprising that technology is being incorporated in all sorts of arenas around the world, such as with laser-precise surgery in the medical field, drones delivering packages, computers beating humans on Jeopardy, etc., it is no wonder that the concept of integrating technology to streamline processes in the beverage world is coming along. What do the examples I’ve just mentioned have in common? Fortunately, and unfortunately, these innovations have the potential to reduce (not eliminate) human labor. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was thinking about what’s next in the world of winemaking and grape harvesting. At the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January, there was a panel session focused on vineyard mechanization. The panel of speakers had representation from notable wineries such as Nick Dokoozlian from E&J Gallo Winery in California, to Mark Krstic from The Australian Wine Research Institute. They discussed topics such as reduced labor availability, increased regulations and increasing costs. The concept of touch, or “no touch” in this case, was to address the possibilities and realities of reducing the number of touchpoints that a person has in a vineyard, as well as consolidation of operations and increasing of efficiencies. Though I was unable to attend the symposium, an article I read recapping the symposium in the Wines & Vines magazine did lead me to do a little more research on the subject. The concept of mechanization itself in the world of wine has been around for many, many decades. The advances in mechanics have led to machinery that supports the mechanical picking of grapes, sorting, crushing, rotating of champagne bottles with gyropalettes (to remove the lees faster than doing it manually), and so much more. With the increasing difficulty in obtaining the manual labor to care for and farm the vineyards, wineries must look to re-evaluate their vineyard layouts and grapevine structures and determine whether there could be a more efficient or streamlined approach. Labor is becoming more and more

scarce with the complications of immigration law. In addition, this hasn’t stopped the consumer demand for wine and grapes. As of 2011, the United States has remained the top country for world wine consumption, making up just over 13% of the world consumption as of the 2014 statistics. In other beverage sub-fields, such as soil monitoring or beverage production technology (e.g., wine, beer), innovations have already been implemented. Real-time monitoring systems allow one to keep track of criteria like soil moisture and temperatures at will, or receive alerts in case of unusual activity. Many vineyards, especially in California, have begun utilizing drones to collect data on things like canopy cover/density, water saturation and rodents (such as Hahn Estate Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands, or Alto Vineyards in Illinois). In Europe, there has even been implementations of “robots” that are equipped with several sensors that roam the vineyards to monitor 1) grapevines’ vegetative growth, 2) nutritional status and 3) grape composition in order to optimize the vineyard management and improve grape composition and wine quality. ( uploads/2015/05/GIESCO-2015.pdf) With so many innovations in (both technological and otherwise) in such a wide range of food and beverage areas such as with beverage preservation systems (iPad menu/display technology, mixology, etc.), are you really surprised that the vineyard practices are choosing to research and evolve their practices as well? What do you think the next big breakthrough will be in the grape growing and harvesting world? With technologies like drones and robots, increasingly effective sensors, better computer systems, etc., the possibilities are endless. Because of my personal fascination with automation and drone technology, if you would like to learn a little more about drones and winemaking, check out this Buzzfeed article: Until next month, Cheers~! Alice April 2017 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:

photos by Joe Urcioli

Pub 365 New Belgium/Firestone Walker Beer Dinner

Tuscany Executive Director of Operations Alex Bowden introduces Firestone Walker Rep Kenny Ichimaru and New Belgium Rep Nick Tribulato at the Pub 365 beer dinner.

The latest beer dinner at Pub 365 turned out to be a tag team between two brewery reps exchanging friendly barbs, but also a display of exceptional beers and an evening that was quite a bit of fun. As we entered we were handed a mystery beer in a brown paper bag, which as it turned out half of us drank the New Belgium Dayblazer Easygoing Ale and the other half the Firestone 805 (named for the phone area code of the brewery), both of which were similar in style and flavor, crisp and easy drinking, described as lawnmower beer but with all malt (no rice or corn). The aforementioned brewery reps were none other than Kenny Ichimaru of Firestone Walker and Nick Tribulato of New Belgium. Kenny said, “We like to banter. Firestone is the

godfather of breweries in terms of flavor. I was a fan of the brewery and becoming a rep is a dream job for me.” Nick added, “We are direct competitors but want to introduce people to good beer.” And we were certainly introduced to good beer accompanied by good food. Our first course paired Ahi Crudo with celery leaf “gremolata” with New Belgium Trippel. Before it was poured Nick provided us with a tutorial on how to evaluate beer and related that the Trippel was the fourth beer the brewery ever made and is graced with a touch of coriander. The 2nd course of Chicken Lettuce Wraps was a bit of a competition with the New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale and Firstone Walker Luponic Distortion 005, two very hoppy beers. Kenny told us we were the first in Las Vegas to try the Luponic with pineapple and floral notes containing 5 hops, and Nick said the Voodoo Ranger, a West Coast Pale Ale, had only been released a few weeks earlier. The next course of Duo of Duck, a delectable seared breast with blueberry gastrique and confitted leg with strawberry-Madeira demiglace, was a competition between two sour beers: New Belgium Clutch Sour Stout and Firestone Bravo. Nick related that New Belgium is the oldest US sour beer producer and is currently using 64 foeders (large wooden vessels used to age the beer in) and

April Beerfests Motley Brews Great Vegas Festival of Beer April 7-8 Big Dog’s 8th annual Peace Love Hoppy-ness April 29 festivals/plh Montelago Beerfest April 29 Kenny informed us that Firestone began barrel aging 12 years ago and now is one of the most prominent breweries involved in barrel aging. The finale was Whoopie Pies (chocolate, vanilla and red velvet) with Firstone Walker Velvet Merlin, a 5.5% oatmeal stout that is an excellent companion to dessert. The back and forth between Kenny and Nick greatly added to the fun and Pub 365 is to be commended for a dinner that flowed very well with no gaps in service. Note: A few weeks after the dinner, Nick transitioned into a new position as the Nevada State Craft Beer Manager for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where, in a Facebook post, he said: “I’ll be fortunate enough to continue to represent New Belgium along with a bevy of other talented breweries.”

Rx Boiler Room De Brabandere Beer Dinner Rx Boiler Room featured the beers of the De Brabandere brewery, one of Belgian’s oldest breweries, founded in 1894. During the reception we enjoyed Bavik Pils with passed appetizers of Chicken Pot Pie Nuggets and Kampachi Fish Tacos. The dinner was held in the upstairs private dining room, and Chef/Owner Rick Moonen introduced each food course and Global Beer Network Southwest Sales Manager Natasha Walewski filled us in on interesting aspects of each beer. The dinner began with Linguini with Surf Clams and sea urchin butter and herbs, paired with Petrus Aged Pale, a sour beer of which Chef Rick said, “funkiness of lambic works so good with food” and Natasha related is aged in a foeder with 7 strains of bacteria for two years. Braised Colorado Rabbit Ragu with ricotta gnocchi and foie gras butter sauce was matched with the Oud Bruin, which Natasha said is a blend of old Aged Pale with a new brown ale and Chef Rick said the depth of flavor in the rabbit worked with the richness of the beer. Manchester Farms Roasted Quail with porcini mushroom bread pudding paired with Sour Quad brought sweetness from the malt balanced with a tartness that was more dramatic than the Oud Bruin, of which Chef Rick said goes well with mushroom and proclaimed it as heavenly and delicious. We finished with Petrus Aged Red, a big 8.5% brown ale cherry beer, with Warm Spiced Chocolate Cake and Sweet and Sour Cherry Sorbet (made with the beer). During the dinner Natasha suggested we save a bit of each beer and at the conclusion she invited us to blend the ones we 6 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

Chef Rick Moonen discusses the food pairing as Natasha Walewski looks on.

Rx Boiler Room Beer Dinner Menu.

liked best, a grand idea. I wound up blending them all and enjoyed the perks of each brew. This was my first beer dinner at Rx Boiler Room and I must confess I had no idea how entertaining and witty Chef Rick is. Listening to him talk and the quality of the food is well worth the price of admission! As always, great beer happens in Vegas!



he Las Vegas Epicurean Affair is the gourmet event of the year.

Set in a lush poolside paradise, the Las Vegas Epicurean Affair will take your senses on a wild ride. From savory cuisine and succulent cocktails to the stunning sights and sounds of sultry surroundings, this is truly an event that offers its guests the best of everything. Join us for a night of divine indulgence!



By LeAnne Notabartolo

Good for Spooning Russell Gardner – Nevada’s First Cicerone

A culinary event coordinator and live cooking demonstrator, this “Edu-tainer” with more than 1000 demos under her belt lives to cook and eat. She works with chefs at events and learns from them and translates info for home cooks. She is the Chick in Charge of Good for Spooning – read her blog here:

photo by LeAnne Notabartolo

family-owned and -operated local concern, serving Southern Nevada exclusively. Russell’s job is multifaceted, including everything from sales and marketing to menu and recipe development. He says the part of his job he enjoys the most is the education aspect and loves teaching people the ins and outs of tasting events and helping others learn about craft beer. Assisting bars and restaurants create a “balanced tap list” is one aspect of sales and marketing that aligns with the education aspect. A “balanced tap list” according to Russell is paramount to having a great beer program. It’s important to have a little of everything from light and crisp to big and heavy, because beer drinkers are more knowledgeable than ever, and their numbers and knowledge grow every year. He admits that the more handles you have, the easier it is to create that balance, but it is possible to have balance regardless of the number of tap handles. With all of the great choices in the craft beer industry right now, he has fun! In addition to his regular duties at Bonanza, you can expect to find Russell at every beer event in town, whether he is working or not. Just look for his trademark handlebar moustache and walk up and say hello. In fact, the accompanying photo was taken at the Brews Best Craft Beer Festival benefitting New Vista, a charity focused on helping the intellectually challenged. Both Russell and Bonanza are committed to local charities and participate in events several times a year. When not selling, serving, or enjoying beer, you can find Russell on the ice. Hockey has long been a passion for Russell and he continues to play three times a week with former professionals at local ice rinks for enjoyment and fitness. He looks forward to the arrival of our Las Vegas Golden Knights at the T-Mobile Arena, as do we all! *From The word Cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring, and serving today’s wide range of beers. In case you didn’t know, a cicerone is akin to a sommelier for beer. To learn more about the Cicerone Program, how to participate, take the exams and become a Cicerone visit Certified Cicerone Russell Gardner at New Vista’s Brews Best Craft Beer Festival. Modern Times is distributed by Bonanza Beverage.

8 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

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

W Harmon Ave Jay’s Sharpening Service

Cutting Board Resurfacing & Replacements

Arville St

Certified Cicerone Russell Gardner grew up here in Vegas, and has a degree in art and commercial photography. Like many Las Vegas hospitality professionals, once he started working in the industry, he found he enjoyed it, and stayed there. His love of the craft beer industry bloomed just when the craft beer scene started to explode here in Nevada. He started in the restaurant world at the age of 16, worked his way through the remainder of his years at Chaparral High School and through his college years as well. While working at Margaritaville, he became an intern at a local brewery, Joseph James Brewing, and his career path made a sharp turn toward beer. Eventually he became the head brewer at Joseph James. He had a hand in crafting Joseph James’ Hop Box and Red Fox beers. He went on to work for Block 16 Hospitality helping Holstein’s and Public House create some of the best tap programs in the city. While working for Block 16 Hospitality, he took the certified Cicerone test* and is now a Certified Cicerone, and he was the very first in Nevada to achieve that title. Each level’s test is more involved and requires a great deal of preparation, in addition to knowledge. He is a trailblazer and set the tone for the beer servers in this town. Several bartenders, servers and bar owners have now become Cicerones as well. Being a Cicerone helped him land his current job, and Russell has been the Director of Craft for Bonanza Beverage Company for three years. Bonanza is distinct in the beverage distribution industry in that they sell only beer. They do not distribute spirits or wine, and they are a

Steak & Table Knife Re-Serration / Sharpening

W Tropicana Ave

Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips

Beers to Enjoy as Spring Springs Forth By Bob Barnes The Bruery Chocolate Rain Members of The Bruery’s Society Members and Preservation Society (clubs with an annual membership fee that allows members to purchase rare, special beers not available to the general public) have already been enjoying this beer, but now for the first time it is available for public purchase. Here is the backstory from the brewery: “One of the holy mothers of dessert beer in America started with a single cask at the first Black Tuesday release in 2009. Demand was instant, and The Bruery Chocolate Rain was finally bottled in 2011. The only downside to this beer? Only available to The Bruery Reserve Society members.” That is true no longer, but although available beginning March 24, you may still have trouble finding it, but you can visit, which will allow it to be shipped in California, or you can visit the tasting room in Placentia. Each 750-ml bottle is wax-dipped and retails for $39.99. This barrel aged Imperial Stout takes over a year to make and features TCHO (a pod-to-palate chocolate company located on Pier 17 in S.F.) cacao nibs and fresh vanilla beans. It’s rich in chocolate, vanilla, oak and bourbon, and at a huge ABV of 19.6%, truly puts the “imperial” in Imperial Stout.

Furstenberg Pilsner It’s been a while since a new German Pilsener has made its way to the US market. Now Paulaner USA, the US importer of the legendary Paulaner Brewery portfolio, has added Fürstenberg to its premium line of brands. When I say new German Pilsener, I mean new to the US, for the Fürstlich Fürstenbergische brewery located in Donaueschingen, Germany was founded in 1283 and has 730 years of brewing experience. The launch capitalizes on recent marketing research indicating that 45% of craft beer consumers are searching for more sessionable brews under 5% ABV. At 4.8% this Pilsener certainly qualifies as sessionable, and is a classic German Pilsener direct from the Black Forest brewed following Reinheitsgebot (the German Purity Law of 1516 requiring the use of only of malt, hops, yeast and water), and uses brewing malt and Hallertau and Tettnang hops from the region.

O’hara’s Irish Move over Guinness and Harp. O’hara’s is currently the largest craft brewery in Ireland, and first opened its doors in 1996 with the goal to revive the brewing tradition once common in Ireland long lost since the end of the 1800s. Although not German, the brewery also follows Reinheitsgebot (using only malt, hops, yeast and water) and beers marketed in the US include Irish Red—4.3%, traditional hop flavor to balance a sweet malt finish; Pale Ale—5.2%, an Irish IPA style that unlike most UK IPAs, is dry hopped for a zesty citrus burst; Irish Stout—4.3%, the flagship of the brand, Fuggle hops lends a tart bitterness to the dry espresso-like finish; and Leann Follain Extra Irish Stout—6%, full-bodied, flavors of dark chocolate tones with a hint of vanilla.

Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Most bourbon barrel-aged beers are brewed in dark styles with higher ABV such as Imperial Stout, but this new brew from Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. is a 5.5% ABV cold-conditioned Cream Ale brewed with a hint of flaked corn and bourbon vanilla beans, and aged in freshly decanted Kentucky bourbon barrels for a minimum of two months. “The use of selective barrel aging allows us to bring a much gentler, almost soft, hint of bourbon and oak to Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale,” said Ken Lee, Master Brewer at Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. “It allows the vanilla bean and refreshing cream ale to create a unique melody of flavor.” After tasting, I have to agree. Unlike darker bourbon aged styles, the bourbon is definitely more moderate, allowing the vanilla and sweet malt to come through more prominently. The brewery, founded in 2000 by Irish entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons, specializes in barrel aged beers, and its location in Lexington, Kentucky greatly enables it to procure fresh Kentucky bourbon barrels. Note: In 2012, the company became part of the world-renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail with the opening of its Town Branch Distillery, which crafts Town Branch Bourbon, Town Branch Rye, Pearse Lyons Reserve malt whiskey and Bluegrass Sundown bourbon-infused coffee liqueur. For more information, visit

April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 9

By Elaine & Scott Harris

Dining out with the Harrises

Sommeliers and Editor-In-Chief of Nationally Recognized and Vino Las Vegas LLC. They are the Las Vegas City Editors for TheDailyMeal in New York City. • Facebook:ElaineScottHarris Twitter: VinoLasVegas • Instagram : Cuisineist

Hidden Gems Beyond the Neon of the Las Vegas Strip

photos courtesy Toddy Shop

Part II

Las Vegas is a city that never slumbers, and that is especially true when it is the food and beverage industry. If you can make it here in the food industry you are probably doing something incredibly right since the competition for culinary cash is fraught with intense heat in and out of the kitchen. Most new restaurants, especially momand-pop places spring up along the Vegas strip malls like cactus in the desert, but how does one stay relevant year after year as the number of new chefs and celebrity chefs weave their way into the Vegas restaurant landscape? From observation it takes many factors, but the two that truly stand out are customer service and great food. If you excel at both, than you are sure to survive and thrive in a city that is hungry 24/7. The trend for having that local in the know hidden eatery seems to be on the rise, and more people want to know where the locals go. Often they are found in areas that seem a bit questionable, or perhaps deceiving. Once, in Miami, we had a fabulous meal inside a gas station. Yes, a gas station that had a restaurant and a great wine bar, in the back of the convenience store where you purchase snacks and lottery tickets. Here in Las Vegas, we found another startling place somewhat similar to that experience, tucked away in the back of the neighborhood bar Inn Zone on S. Rainbow Blvd., called Toddy Shop. The Toddy Shop is better known in the Kerala region of New Delhi that serves as a the regional food hangout serving up dishes that are flaring with flavor, but this one happens to be located far

from the streets of its origination. Toddy refers to the preferred beverage of the region that is made from the sap of the palm tree. Although this Toddy Shop has created a reputation surrounding the authentic and unique food offerings, it serves up some authentic Indian food without having to purchase an airline ticket. We walked into the dimly lit doorway and noticed the bar where several locals were hunched manically over video poker monitors, with beer mugs and cigarettes strategically placed for a Friday night of gaming. We immediately began to question if we came to the right place, but the friendly bartender assured us that the chef was at the tiny kitchen in the back behind a small window that lent itself to an ordering station where some of the best Indian food is being dished up in an almost clandestine manner. We looked at the printed menu, ordered directly from the chef, and went to a dimly lit back room, with several tables, that looked like it was more of a surplus room than a place to dine. Although the namesake beverage was not offered on the menu, dishes offered are texturally rich, savory and exotically spicy without needing a gallon of fire-quenching beverages to extinguish the burn. Multiple dishes came to our table that both surprised and elated us. How can such interesting cultural cuisine be relegated to the back of a local’s bar? According to Chef Hernant Kishore the concept to start out small seemed to be the best way to get his cuisine established for a bigger market. We began with The Queen Karimeen, which boasts

10 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

to be the classic Toddy Shop delicacy, consisting of spice rubbed flash fried whole pompano generously doused with onion-tomato masala and then wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf. The pompano was perfectly drenched in tangy flavor and steamed to perfection. Chef’s childhood favorite, it quickly became one of ours as we indulged in the Indian Chop Suey, which is ironically called American Chop Suey in India. Crispy noodles are bathed in garlicky chili gravy mixed with stir fried veggies, char grilled baby bok choy and bulls eye. One of our favorite dishes of the evening was the popular TD bar snack, Rajah Masala. This dish is deceptively simple and yet, simply addictive with a blend of roasted peanuts, pico de gallo and assorted chips. Creative cooking can spring up anywhere, including in the back of a Vegas dive bar and we were certainly glad we found this under-the-radar place. Toddy Shop may just be a trendsetter in giving a glimpse of great ethnic food where many locals find their respite in the Vegas way: at a small neighborhood bar, with a drink and a hot machine and some great grub. Toddy Shop 238 S Rainbow Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89145 702-255-5588

Chef Spotlight Chef Todd Clore Todd’s Unique Dining

By Leah Schmidt Leah is a graduate of Purdue University where she studied Creative Writing with minors in French and Design. She enjoys reading, writing, and being outdoors. A Chicago native, she recently moved to Las Vegas and is excited to get a taste of all it has to offer!

Did being raised in Denver have any influence on you as a chef? Being raised in Denver definitely had an influence on some of the cuisine that I do. I ran a Mexican restaurant in Denver so it gave me good insight on a different style of food that was more rustic. When I got back from culinary school Denver was a booming food place. That only lasted a little while because of the oil prices going up, and a lot of the fine dining restaurants closed. That gave me the opportunity to go somewhere else that was booming in the food scene. If that hadn’t happened I would have stayed in Denver a lot longer and who knows where that would’ve taken me. Did you always want to be a chef? It was a chosen thing. If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t do it. I had finished all my credits junior year of high school and there was a vocational school that had a cooking program. I thought, “This is cool, I can go to school to learn and do something I like.” I was working as a busboy at a local restaurant but didn’t love it, so I went back in the kitchen as a dishwasher. The owner told me if I had time I could help out the cooks. After about six months of working there I had done all the desserts and helped with sauces and asked, “When do I get to cook?” I ended up taking over the kitchen after two years and worked there for around five before going to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. What was your experience at the Culinary Institute of America like? The Culinary Institute in my opinion is the most prestigious of culinary schools. I was there in ’81 and there were probably only 1,200 people on campus so it was relatively small. People knew you’d come out with a good understanding of the kitchen if you went there, but they always told us that you’re not a chef when you come out which was really true. I found out a lot of the stuff I had learned applied more to corporate America than to me being in a physical kitchen. While there we had to do an externship at a restaurant, so I went back to Denver and worked at the number one restaurant there, Café Giovanni, where I worked for a couple months after graduation. Can you talk a little about your experiences between school and opening Todd’s Unique Dining? I’ve been doing this since ’77 and there are a lot of jobs you do over the years. After graduation I worked at Café Giovanni, but Denver had a small network of people in the high-end restaurants and I knew people, so after a couple months I got the opportunity to open the restaurant Cliff Young’s as the sous chef. I worked there for a few years. Then I moved to Napa Valley and got a job at Domain Chandon and spent a couple years there. Again, it’s all about the people that you know and someone I knew asked me to work in L.A. I worked at a French restaurant L’Orangerie for about two and a half years. Then

photo courtesy Chef Todd Clore

“I love to see the happiness I can bring by cooking someone something that they really like, and hearing a dish make a memory is the icing on the cake.” For Chef Todd Clore, being in the kitchen is only natural. Working in a variety of restaurants before opening his own 14 years ago, Chef Clore discusses his experiences and what makes his cooking so unique.

I moved down to Orange County and worked for a Chinese-French restaurant for around two years and then got an opportunity to open a French restaurant called Pascal. I was there three years and that was when I started getting a good amount of press. Then I got a call to run a hotel in Laguna Beach. After a few years working there, I got a call to run Bally’s and work the Sterling Brunch. I did for 10 years, and in 2004 I left and opened Todd’s. How often do you introduce new things to the menu? Why do you think it’s important to do this? Daily we add and take things away on the menu by having specials, but I would say seasonally is when we do more drastic changes to the menu. Salads and appetizers will change on a seasonal basis. Entrees are always evolving. It gives me the opportunity to play and to really push to do some different things. What makes the menu at Todd’s unique and what do you use for inspiration for creating different dishes? We started calling it Todd’s Unique because if I want to cook Mexican one day or if I want to cook Asian one day I want to be able to do it. We have some basic things on the menu, but everything has a little twist to it. I think inspiration can be anything. I try to be current by reading and learning about what’s new. I always try to bring something different, have little ingredients I can play with and keep everything fresh. I try to always think about what we can do better. April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 11


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. She is also an instructor covering Special Events at CSN- College of Southern Nevada.


Blossoming Entertainment

Backstreet Boys opened their exclusive Las Vegas residency Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life show at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood. Cher added 18 dates—Aug. 2-19 and Nov. 8-25—to her extended Classic Cher engagement at Park Theater at Monte Carlo. The Pin Up show at the Stratosphere Showroom closed. The World’s Greatest Rock Show tribute production will open there on June 4.

English rock band The Who will launch their first six shows and exclusive Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace July 29. American rock band Boston will make a Hyper Space Tour stop at Park Theater at Monte Carlo Saturday, June 17. Magic Mike Live Las Vegas based on the hit films Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL opened at the Hard Rock. Grammy-winner Peabo Bryson will bring his soulful hits to The Orleans Showroom April 28. Grammy-nominated recording artistssongwriters Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benét will bring The M.E. Tour to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay May 25. Actress Cindy Williams of Laverne & Shirley fame has returned in a guest starring role in Menopause The Musical at Harrah’s through May 29. Pete Vallee, who stars as Big Elvis in free afternoon shows at Harrah’s, is the latest Las Vegas Walk of Stars recipient. Country singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson will headline Brooklyn Bowl in The Linq Promenade Friday, April 28 with Margo Price and Brent Cobb. Twelve-time Grammy Award winner jazz saxophonist and songwriter, Kirk Whalum, will headline The Foundry in SLS Las Vegas on May 13. Reba McEntire, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn with the longest running country music residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace will return in June, July, November and December. The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz venue will be renamed in honor of president and CEO Myron Martin.

Dining and Beverage Changes

A new two-story Sugar Factory American Brasserie opened at Fashion Show Mall with a walk up indoor/outdoor carousel bar and outdoor patios on both levels.

Superstar Pitbull launched a partnership with his Voli 305, which is now the exclusive vodka used in Sugar Factory’s signature cocktails. The Plaza downtown replaced the long closed Islands Sushi & Hawaiian Grill with Brightside – Breakfast and Burgers, a New York-style deli on the casino floor. Jared’s Old Fashioned Hotdogs & Hamburgers has opened at Pawn Plaza next to the famous TV Pawn Stars store. JC’s Irish Sports Pub at JW Marriott closed its doors on March 20 to make room for a full sportsbook. Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Las Vegas chefs are collaborating on a dinner series “Tour de Emeril.” The remaining Friday-evening dinners are: June 23 - Lagasse’s Stadium; Sept. 8 Delmonico Steakhouse; and Dec. 8 - Table 10.

About Town News

Pinot’s Palette, paint-and-sip studio, opened a third Las Vegas location at Town Square with a main studio and smaller private party room. Las Vegas Motor Speedway will hold a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race beginning in the fall of 2018 making it the first facility to host two annual event weekends with all three national touring series. The Springs Preserve’s seasonal Butterfly Habitat is open through May 29. The Plaza has a new 5,000-square-foot, multi-purpose flexible space adjacent to the casino floor. Keep Memory Alive will honor illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher of legendary duo Siegfried & Roy, who has cared for partner Roy since the tiger accident onstage, with the inaugural Caregiver Award during the 21st annual Power of Love gala Thursday, April 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

12 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

The new Dance With Me studio opened at Tivoli Village. Three of the business’ owners are Dancing with the Stars professionals Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani. Drai’s Beachclub is back at The Cromwell rooftop with celebrated DJs, returning exclusive resident artists G-Eazy, Machine Gun Kelly and other artists. For the first time, South Point’s Bingo Room will host a $1 Million Extravaganza Bingo event Friday and Saturday, July 21-22. Elite Motor Rentals will open at Pawn Plaza offering rentals of The Polaris Slingshot, an exotic three-wheel hybrid of a car and a motorcycle. Get A Haircut barber shop is the newest of eight ground-level storefronts at The Promenade at Juhl downtown. The Corner Market will open next. A $425,000 city grant will allow the Neon Museum to purchase adjacent land to expand and display another 30 signs.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) awarded the Mob Museum downtown accreditation, the highest national recognition afforded U.S. museums. Forbes Travel Guide unveiled its 59th global list of Star Rating recipients. Two Five-Star Las Vegas winners for hotel, restaurant and spa are Mandarin Oriental and Wynn. Three FiveStar hotels are Aria Sky Suites, Encore Tower Suites and Skylofts at MGM Grand and spas include ESPA at Vdara, and spas at Encore and Four Seasons. Five-Star Restaurants include: Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Le Cirque and Picasso at Bellagio, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at Mandarin Oriental and Wing Lei at Wynn. Alex and Ani, the eco-conscious jewelry and accessories brand, opened its sixth Las Vegas location inside McCarran International Airport’s C Gates. Lush Cosmetics opened an all-new three times larger location within the Fashion Show mall.

By K. Mike Masuyama Ph.D.

COOK•EAT: Asia Climate and Food

Asia is not all in one. Asians are not entirely characterized by slanteyes but some have hazelnut eyes. Generally speaking, however, Asians are round faced with the color of skin mixed by red and blue, who have lived for many thousand years in the eastern Asian continent and adjacent regions. Some of them came to America as contract laborers who worked in pineapple-sugar plantations in Hawaii, transcontinental railroad constructions, agriculture or other labor-intensive works in the west. Firstly, Chinese and Filipinos, followed by Japanese and others. They settled down here instead of returning to their homelands after the contracts ended. They have three distinct characteristics in common. First, a Mongolian spot. Most Asian babies have dark or amber spots on the back or thigh or arm at birth, which the Caucasians do not show. Second, flushing when consuming alcohol. Asians have lower activity of an alcohol breaking down enzyme in their liver. A flushed red face is a little bit embarrassing when drinking a bottle of beer at lunch. Third, lactose intolerance. Most Asians show an allergic reaction to regular cow milk because of lower activity of milk sugar (lactose) breaking down enzymes in digestive organs. These factors would deprive them of assimilation or blending with other ethnicities. When it comes to food culture, the Chinese civilization has a strong influence at every corner of this area. Every Asian food has a trace back to the Chinese culinary, almost. Asian food has been in our eating soon after Asians came ashore. They cooked not only for themselves but also for others as kitchen hands. Chinese food was a first Asian food, followed by additional Asian foods brought by returnees or newcomers after WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War. They have added exoticism and diversification to our eating as well as business. In this new series, cooking/ eating in an Asian-Japanese style here is for our further understanding of Asian foods. Division is not but fusion and mutual respect is my goal through characterizing Asian food cultures, comparing to the west. So as at everywhere, food cultures are shaped by the climate to grow or produce or eat. Most of the area belongs to tropical, sub-tropical, temperate climate zones where water is available abundantly. It enables to grow rice-other grains and various fruits-vegetables. Particularly rice, which is the highest yield per acreage grain, requiring abundant water, can sustain a large population, leading to a high density of population. Abundant water comes from the sky by the Monsoon or Typhoons. Access to abundant water at seashores, rivers, lakes or rice paddy fields brings marine and fresh water creatures including fish, crustaceans and snails. Aquatic creatures are indispensable parts of their diet and often preserved by drying, salting, pickling or fermentation. Legumes or beans-peas provide good protein to add to rice nutrients for healthy eating. Here soybean curd, soy sauce, Natto–Tempe (only

Mike Masuyama is a bi-cultural science-technologybusiness consultant. He earned a Ph.D. in Food Science at Cornell University, is involved in teaching, research and business in major-beer, micro-beer, soft drinks, sake, sea salt, rice, white soy sauce and other areas both in Japan and the US., and has published several books and dozens of articles. “Ask Doctor Sake” was his last series in this journal.

in Japan and Indonesia) are key plant protein sources for appetite and palate in addition to nutrition. Damp environment promotes fermentation by bacteria, mold or yeast, yielding soy sauce, vinegar, miso and other flavoring materials besides preservation. Land animals are not excluded from Asian eating. Wild animals were hunted for meat. Chinese eat anything with four legs except for a table. Two legged chicken are eaten including legs. Under influence of the Zen sect Buddhism, meat eating was discouraged because animals may suffer from slaughtering. It is well practiced in agricultural regions but not much in dairy & live-stock regions where grains are hard to cultivate at high altitudes or acrid landscape. Asia is thus diversified.

TRADITIONAL YET NEW Perfect Soy Sauce Flavor without the Color! A golden color white soy sauce No burnt dark soy sauce flavor No darkening color in cooking Remarkable for sea foods, veggies, pasta, fusion and natural foods April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 13

Twinkle Toast The Best Wines for Your Waistline

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

Pool season is quickly approaching, and if you are like us, you are starting to look more closely at the calories and carbohydrates in what you are consuming. An average glass of wine can contain anywhere from 110 to 300 calories with red wines generally having more than whites. This is determined by a few factors: serving size, alcohol content and inherent sweetness or sugar. Usually, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories. Per gram of wine, alcohol contains seven calories and sugar contains four. All of these numbers can get a bit confusing, but don’t fret! We have found a handy dandy formula to help decipher how many calories are in each bottle, or glass, and how to choose the best wine with your waistline in mind. Champagne and sparkling wines are a typical go-to for the summer pool season. What many people do not realize is that the majority of them contain an added amount of sugar called “dosage.” Dosage is part of the Champagne or sparkling winemaking process, and the amount of dosage in each bottle can range from zero to fifty grams of sugar per liter. states that a standard 5 ounce pour of Champagne can range from 124 calories, in a Brut Nature or Brut Zero, to 175 calories, in the sweetest Doux. We did a little digging, and discovered a couple tasty sparkling options that omit the dosage process which you guess it, equates to less sugar and fewer calories.

crafted to be 20% lighter in calories versus the classic Brancott Estate wines. These Marlborough wines are only 88 calories, and are designed for guilt-free consumption, or close to it. The Santa Barbara winery, Palmina, specializes in producing traditional Italian varietals here in the United States. Owner and winemaker, Steve Clifton, produces a delightful Malvasia Bianca at only 12% ABV, and it would be an amazing addition to any sunny afternoon or summer evening. German Rieslings are another great still wine option, and are generally lower in alcohol, at eight to nine percent, which you now know means

lower in calories too. Although sweeter wines contain more residual sugar and higher alcohol, the standard pour is usually only 2 ounces. A 2 ounce glass of B&G Sauternes Passeport contains only 90 calories. This smaller serving size could be a great alternative to an actual dessert while still satisfying your sweet tooth. *Please note that we are in no way suggesting that you replace all food calories with wine calories. Should you have any questions regarding health and nutrition, please contact a trusted healthcare professional.

Photo by Christine Richards

Beau Joie Brut and Brut Rose are zero-dosage Champagnes, with no additional sugar added, and both feature a stylish copper casing that help the bottle stay cold for 45 minutes to an hour without the use of an ice bucket. Keep in mind that this length of time is reduced a bit if the external temperature is 80 degrees or above. A newer sparkling wine option, which entered the Las Vegas market last year, is Syltbar Prosecco, and only contains 49 calories per glass. You can find this Italian sparkling wine poured by the glass at The Barrymore inside Royal Resort Hotel, where locals get half off bottles of selected wines on Wednesdays, and in several retail outlets as well. If you prefer still to sparkling, Brancott Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio were 14 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

• 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 Bends • Private labeling • Now Certified Kosher

Power of Love Gala ®

Much More Than Just a Great Party

By Bob Barnes Photos courtesy Keep Memory Alive

What is the Power of Love® Gala?

The Gala is much more than a party. It’s an annual celebration of life that was created to raise funds for Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s programs and services. This is an evening to remember for Keep Memory Alive — an annual event renowned for its first-rate headliner entertainment, food prepared by Celebrity Chefs and wine chosen by Master Sommeliers. Origins The origins of this astounding event date back to February 1995, when Larry Ruvo hosted a memorial dinner in honor of his father Lou, who had succumbed to Alzheimer’s a year earlier, at which friends contributed unsolicited funds. That dinner was the first annual celebration of Lou Ruvo’s life and it would certainly not be the last. This yearly tradition ultimately became the Power of Love™ Gala, raising funds for Keep Memory Alive - a nonprofit organization that was created to increase awareness and support the research, management and treatment of brain disorders. Three years later, in 1998, Lou

Past Galas Ruvo’s doctor, Leon Thal, MD, suggested that Larry Ruvo use the funds he had raised to build a clinic in Las Vegas and honor his father’s memory. That dream came to fruition in February 2007. Ground was broken on what would become the Frank Gehrydesigned headquarters and medical clinic of the Lou Ruvo Keep Memory Alive Center for Brain Health, which after partnering with the Cleveland Clinic, opened in 2010. Fast forward to 2017 and the Clinic has now had more than 55,000 patient visits and now sees approximately 225 new patients monthly.

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Keep Memory Alive’s Power of Love® Gala has become an annual tradition as one of Las Vegas’ signature celebrity events and now attracts a national audience. Chefs have included Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Giada De Laurentiis, Todd English, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck. The 2012 Power of Love was featured on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods America. Entertainers have included George Benson, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Cee Lo Green, Enrique Iglesias, LL Cool J, Lenny Kravitz,

Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and several other luminaries.

This year’s Power of Love® Gala The 2017 Power of Love® Gala will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Thursday, April 27 and will feature special performances by Gwen Stefani and Jon Bon Jovi, as well as several other top names in the entertainment industry. The extraordinary dinner will be prepared by award-winning celebrity Chefs Wolfgang Puck and Michael Mina, paired with wines selected by Master Sommeliers and dazzling desserts prepared by the MGM Pastry Team.

Awards One aspect of this tremendous yearly event is the acknowledgement of members of the community whose actions show testament to the “power of love.” This year’s Gala Honoree is Ronald O. Perelman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated. Over the past four decades, Mr. Perelman has become known as an accomplished industrialist and generous philanthropist. He is recognized as an innovative leader and major supporter of the arts, medical research, education and humanitarian causes. This year’s Community Leadership Award recipient is Andre Agassi. Mr. Agassi is well known as a tennis legend and is the only American to win all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. Off the court, he established the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which has raised more than $185 million dollars, and opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a K-12 tuitionfree public charter school. This year a new award is being instituted to honor the helping of someone in need: The Caregiver Award. The first recipient will be Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried & Roy for his unwavering support of his partner Roy Horn in the years after Horn was dragged offstage by the white tiger, Mantecore during their show at The Mirage in 2003.

A Few Words from Founder Larry Ruvo Larry, at what point did you realize that this annual dinner in memory of your father had become such a landmark Las Vegas event? “At the very first dinner at Spago, I was blown away by the incredible amount of support we received and the passion I saw in others to fight these horrendous brain diseases. It was after that night that I realized we could do something really special here in Las Vegas. With the support of the community, celebrity chefs and entertainers, the Power of Love gala has grown to be the biggest night of philanthropy in the city and it’s truly remarkable to see the legacy we have created in the past two decades.”

The Particulars The Gala will begin with cocktails and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and live auction at 6:30 p.m. Live entertainment begins at 9 p.m. Attire is fashionable (upscale for ladies and jacket but no tie for men).

Sponsorship Opportunities Include: Individual Gala seats, which begin at $1,500 Bordeaux—table of 10 for $15,000 White Truffle—table of 10 with premier seating and a color ad in the program and digital displays at the event for $25,000 Caviar—table of 10 with premier seating, a color ad in the program and digital displays at the event and special VIP invites to any prepost receptions for $50,000 Champagne—table of 10 with exclusive seating, a color ad in the program and digital displays at the event, special gift for you and your guests and special VIP invites to any pre-post receptions for $75,000 Platinum—table of 12 with exclusive seating, a color ad in the program and digital displays

at the event, luxury gift for you and your guests and special VIP invites to any pre-post receptions for $100,000 All proceeds will benefit Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Since Keep Memory Alive is a nonprofit organization formed in the state of Nevada to increase awareness of and raise funds for the research, management and treatment of brain disorders, contributions may be tax-deductible. Sponsorship Opportunities Table Guest Lists are due no later than Friday, April 7.

To take advantage of Sponsorship Opportunities visit or call 702-263-9797.

April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 17

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT | There is no confusion when it comes to Major Pan-Asian Infusions! More than just a broth, Major’s PAN-ASIAN BASE range is the perfect way to add an exotic twist to any dish. Create healthy, fun, on-trend street-worthy recipes in seconds. It’s OH so SIMPLE and versatile: • use in casseroles, stir-fries, pasta dishes, noodles and soups • create seasonings and dressings • brush onto protein, vegetables or fish as a marinade • stir directly into sauces Making the chef’s life that little bit easier, Major Products blends the ingredients so you don’t have to. From coconut to lemongrass, cilantro, chili pepper, ginger, herbs and spices, and available in four mouthwatering flavors: Beef, Chicken, Pork and Vegetable, you can not only maximize on flavor but stay on budget and save on time.

Product Review By Bob Barnes


Recently I reported on a product for commercial bars and restaurants that could rapidly chill spirits. Now I have found one you can use at home. Called HyperChiller, in one minute or less it can chill any non-carbonated liquid up to 8 oz, such as coffee, tea, wine, or spirits. The apparatus contains two food grade stainless steel cylinders that are filled with water, assembled within each other and placed in the freezer. After it’s fully frozen you pour your drink of preference into an opening at the top, swirl or let sit for about a minute and then pour from the other opening into your glass. I found it works great and actually does chill a spirit in less than a minute to about the same temperature as it would be if poured on the rocks, but with zero dilution. I must confess its use has become a part of my daily routine. The HyperChiller sells for $29.99 and can be ordered at

Custard Chardonnay

Now that the temps are inching up many of us turn to lighter wines, such as Chardonnay. Just in time for the season is Custard Chardonnay from the premiere wine growing region of Sonoma. The Custard brand is inspired by Donny Sebastiani’s favorite childhood treat: a glazed donut with a creamy custard filling. I sampled the 2015 vintage, which is 100% Chardonnay and is 14.5% ABV and was impressed with the notes of pear and citrus intermingled with smooth vanilla cream pie. Definitely a warm weather delight, but I could enjoy it any time of year. Custard Chardonnay is distributed in Southern Nevada by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and in Southern California by Epic. The SRP for a 750 ml bottle is $17.99.

C3 Carciofo Artichoke Liqueur

Anyone who reads this column knows I like unusual products and this one jumped out at me. I truly never thought of making a spirit from artichokes, but that’s just what Don Ciccio & Figli did. Produced and bottled in Washington, D.C. and based on a traditional Italian recipe from 1911, a nod to the original Don Ciccio & Figli distillery that produced liqueurs on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast for nearly a century, the name refers to the fact that three types of California-grown artichokes are used, along with cardoons, grapefruit and 18 selected botanicals. It is aged in a barrel for 12 months, and is 23% ABV. This unique Italian-style handcrafted bitter liqueur tastes simultaneously bitter and sweet and the medium-to-high bitterness level was designed with cocktail aficionados and fans of bitter aperitivi in mind. The SRP is $35.99. For more info visit or

Nomad Outland Whisky

This whisky breaks the rules. An interesting back story is that it was born and aged for 5-8 years in the highlands of Speyside, Scotland and refined for an additional 12 months in Pedro Ximénez (a type of grape) sherry casks in Jerez, Spain. It benefits from both the warm and humid plains of southern Spain with the wild yeasts and a quintessential Scottish highland character. Sipping it brings a palate of sherry combined with the sweetness of wood and you are rewarded with a long aftertaste. Nomad is 41.3% ABV and the SRP is $44. For more info visit en/nomad-outland-whisky-2.

18 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

By Shelley Stepanek

photos by Kevon Stover

From Rednecks to Supreme Class

Redneck Riviera’s flag fashioned entirely out of beer cans.

REDNECK RIVIERA Sound like some kind of fun place? You’re right. It’s the first one in the US opened by Nashville entertainer John Rich with a 2nd to be in Nashville later in the year. Redneck Riviera said hello in January with an awe-inspiring unlimited view of the Strip, on the 2nd floor of the shops in front of Bally’s. Best way to get in, is over the bridge in front of the hotel. Redneck is country all the way, from the cowboy boots at the front door, to the tables, comprised of guitar parts, to the beautiful bedazzled rotating saddle hanging from the ceiling. Redneck will seat 150, and 30 at the bar. The windows aren’t windows at all but big glass garage doors that can open in good weather, the perfect viewing place for fireworks. A second bar made of beer cans shaped like the American flag will be happy to offer all active military a free drink. Just show your ID. It’s a total salute from John to all of the military, and tells you what a patriot he is. With country entertainment Thursday thru Sunday and plenty of dancing, hooting and hollering from the stage, you’ll see everything from boots to high heels on the dance floor. Need to take a bathroom break? Great fun there. The women’s sinks are made of tires, and I hear the men’s uses beer kegs. If you want food, Wahlburgers right below can send up the best chicken and turkey burgers with plenty of fixings. Their all-year Thanksgiving burger is fantastic. Media night signaled John’s friends to come out, including Marie Osmond, Gretchen Wilson and the Tenors of Rock appearing at Bally’s, to name a few. Open 11 a.m.-4 a.m. daily, no reservations taken. 702-476-9251 John Rich will be making surprise visits.

The 28th Annual SPLENDOR IN THE GLASS, a wonderful wine and beer tasting afternoon and evening was held at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa at Crimson. This is a yearly event, changing locations to highlight some of the marvelous vendors we have in Las Vegas. This year there were over 40 wineries and breweries who came out to participate from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. There were talks by various companies who represented fantastic products. Fantastic raffle prizes included a stay at The Venetian, a staycation at South Point, a night at The Cosmopolitan, tickets on JetBlue, dance lessons from Arthur Murray, a top-notch guitar and tickets to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Entertainment was provided by DigDug. A new premium sparkling wine cocktail called Hug was out this year, and I loved all the wines from Constellation and Teriato. Treasury Wine Estate, Pernod Ricard, The Deutsch Family, Beso del Sol, Bronco, Mam Cellars and Wagner Family of Wines were just a few that one could sample. From the door opening at 4 p.m. people poured thru to sip and taste and meet friends they see at this yearly event. With live entertainment, food and a luxurious silent auction, Splendor in the Glass was a huge success. Please put it on your calendar around February or March of next year, to come out and buy tickets. Visit VegasPBS. org/wine or call 702-799-1010 x 5344.

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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.

Shelley Stepanek interviews susperstar and owner of Redneck Riviera - John Rich.

Twisted’s Moscato was one of many wines featured at 28th Annual Splendor in the Glass.

Shelley Stepanek poses with a bottle of wine at 28th Annual Splendor in the Glass.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Fall Squash in the Spring During a recent trip to the grocery store I stumbled upon a package of pre-cut butternut squash, which to me was very exciting because, firstly, butternut squash is extremely difficult to peel and cut, and secondly, one of my favorite soups is roasted butternut squash soup which is usually more in season during the fall. So, I bought two packages. But just because it’s spring does not mean we cannot enjoy a bit of an earthy, delicious fall favorite in the early spring. This creamy butternut squash soup features pureed butternut squash and onion and highlights the rich, sweet flavor of this winter squash. Roasting concentrates the flavor of the vegetables. If you like, add a couple of cloves of garlic. Just because the weather is warming up it’s no reason to forget how great a butternut squash soup tastes. This soup is a luscious, smooth soup, delicately seasoned with nutmeg—perfect for cool autumn evenings at home or to start your spring menus. It’s also a good time to buy squash from your produce supplier. The price is reduced toward the end of the season. Try it.

Butternut Squash Soup 1 medium onion diced 3 tablespoons sweet butter 2 butternut squash, about 3-4 pounds, diced into 1-inch cubes or a package of pre-cut 5 cups vegetable stock, or enough to cover squash in pot (Use chicken stock if you prefer.) 1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning Pinch cayenne pepper Juice of half a lemon ½ cup whipping cream

Sauté onions in butter in a heavy-bottomed stock pot until soft. Add peeled and diced squash to same pot and then add vegetable stock until it reaches about a half inch over the squash. Bring contents of pot to a simmer, but take care it never boils. Continue simmering until squash is tender and breaks apart easily, about 1 hour. Stir in brown sugar, rest of spices and lemon juice and while stirring let simmer for 10 minutes longer. At this point, puree mixture with immersion (stick) blender if available, or remove mixture from pot and puree until smooth with blender or food processor. Once smooth, return to pot and whisk in cream, incorporating fully. Reminisce a little about fall this spring day over a bowl of savory and creamy roasted butternut squash soup. Serve with some shredded sage as garnish. Yield: 6-8 servings


Epicurean Society March was a busy month for all UNLV students, including Epicurean members. Project deadlines and midterm testing were on everyone’s mind as the end of the spring semester draws near. The Epicurean Society typically holds an event every month, but unfortunately testing did not allow for much room to plan or adjust schedules in order to hold an event worthy of the Epicurean name. As we all know, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in March. A themed event for that holiday would have been a great experience for all members as it would have been Epicurean’s first time to hold an event for that holiday. Of course, the Epicurean Society members were not the only ones with too much on their hands. Even other Hotel College clubs either held a small event or none at all. We hope to hold a St. Patrick’s themed event next year along with additional members. On April 18 and 26, Epicurean will be teaming up with Greek fraternities Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Alpha Mu for an event held by the Greek community at UNLV. The club plans to sell fizzy fruit at the event. If you do not know or are not sure what fizzy fruit is, well let me explain. Fizzy fruit is basically fruit that has been carbonated with dry ice. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide at a temperature around -108 ˚F (-78 ˚C). Fruits that work best are grapes, oranges, pears and more. While the Epicurean Society will be using those same fruits, they will also be using a few more special fruit selections. These fruits are typically firm and sweet so that the carbonic acid from the concentrated carbon dioxide (CO2) balances out the sweetness. In a container or a cooler, the dry ice will be placed first and then fruit. The fruit and the water inside of it has to be made as cold as possible without freezing so that the carbon dioxide can dissolve into it. If the fruit freezes, then it will not be fizzy when it is taken out of the container. The colder and higher the pressure, the fizzier the fruit. Fruits will be wrapped tightly in the container with the dry ice for about 12 to 14 hours to carbonate. The dry ice will cool the fruit down and make the solubility

By Les Kincaid Les Kincaid is a food, wine, and golf expert and cookbook author. He hosts the nationally syndicated wine radio show Wines Du Jour each Thursday from 7 to 8 pm. You can enjoy his website or his broadcast at

By Kimberly Verdin Kimberly Verdin, a Hospitality Management student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, represents the Epicurean Society, a collective of food and restaurant enthusiastic students, where she is on the leadership staff. She’s a Vegas local who believes that there is no end to learning about the hospitality industry.

of the Co2 higher inside the liquid of the fruit. When it warms up, the dry ice turns back into a gas and this in turn raises the pressure. As the pressure goes up and the temperature of the fruit goes down, more Co2 molecules can be forced into the liquid of the fruit. The sort of fizzy sensation that is felt when eating or drinking anything that has been carbonated is due to the large amount of Co2 into the mouth and retro nasally coming up into the nose, triggering a pain response in the nerves. This heightens your other sensory inputs, making everything more aromatic and fragrant. Essentially it is that same combination of coldness and acidity that makes fizzy fruit so unique and amazing, especially as it increases aromatics. The main goal for the event is not just to earn more revenue for the club, but it is also to get the Epicurean Society’s name out there and create more interest in students of all majors to join. In turn, hopefully a lot of new members will join Epicurean this semester or the following semester. Epicurean anticipates that the sale will go well as the Valentine’s Day strawberry covered chocolate sale had been such a success. On April 7, Epicurean Society will be holding the Epi Garden event. Epi Garden will be a mixer for all Hotel College clubs, faculty, and staff. The event will be held at the UNLV community garden, located directly next to the Rebel Recycling on the north side of campus near the Stan Fulton Building. The garden consists of about 41 raised planter beds, one belonging to Executive Chef Mark Sandoval and one to the Food and Beverage Department. The garden is rarely ever visited and many people have yet to know of its existence. The mixer will allow for more awareness of the garden and hopefully more people wanting to contribute to the garden. Not only that, but the mixer will also be both a great network opportunity and a chance to interact with and form closer relationships with other clubs. This will allow for more possible collaborations with other Hotel College clubs to create exciting and bigger events for everyone to enjoy at UNLV. April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 21

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:

Keeping Great Employees

What is the secret to keeping your best employees? Good pay, flexible work hours, or generous vacation time? Maybe a little of all of the above. But I have found, over my many years in human resources, that people thrive and even contribute more effectively, when the following three (3) attributes for success exist. • a good company culture, • an opportunity to be heard and to contribute (engagement) • a respectful team around them. A good company culture is characterized by open communication, fair policies and compassionate practices for dealing with issues, changes and challenges that may occur in a person’s life. What do I mean by “compassionate practices?” I mean that people are treated like human beings: with respect and consideration, especially when issues arise at work that may reflect a change in a person’s behaviors. Do you talk confidentially with the employee to find out what is going on in their life? Do you have steps that can be taken to get a person some help? Do you not condemn or pass judgment, especially until you have a

better idea what factors contributed to their situation? People are creatures of habit and most sudden changes in behavior stem from a problem in the person’s life such as marital/ family issues, addiction or health problems. People also thrive on an opportunity to be heard and contribute. Have you ever seen the look on someone’s face when they get credit for a good idea or to help solve a situation with their idea or input? It’s like the sun shining through their eyes! They show joy and their face reflects the pride they feel in the opportunity to have made a valued contribution! Those contributions must be acknowledged and appreciated by you for what they are … engagement and effort! Last, but definitely not least, every successful organization must support and expect that respectful treatment is the cornerstone of their people philosophy! Without respect you have nothing. When people or policies are condemning or harsh, you will have nothing but meek, fearful and hesitant employees focused on how to CYA (cover your a$$). That is clearly not a productive work environment.

When you do, you can make changes toward ensuring you can keep your good staff. I’d do this by making sure your pay policies and incentives are in line with your competition. Basic incentives, recognition programs or other rewards can go a long way to increase employee morale and thus productivity and longevity. It is unfortunate, but many organizations today do not put much time or effort into ensuring that they retain their valued talent. Why? I think that it is because, 1) we are too busy with the day to day, 2) we take for granted that people need their job, and 3) we don’t appreciate what we’ve got until it’s gone. Good employees tend to be good because of their people skills not just their results. To reduce turnover and dissention, you must not be afraid to tell your employees, at least once in a while, that you appreciate their efforts and contributions.

First and foremost, you have to embrace and recognize that turnover has costs to the organization in lost productivity and morale.

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. 22 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

By Ben Brown

The Bottom Line Aarti Sequeira: The path that took her from foodie to food celebrity

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.

Aarti Sequeira is living the foodie dream. The winner of Food Network Star season six, Sequeira went on to host her very own Food Network Show, Aarti Party, as well as author her own cookbook, Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul. She’s appeared on a dizzying number of cooking shows and assured the world of her talents by winning Chopped All-Stars.

photo courtesy Wagstaff WorldWide Public Relations

Getting to this point, however, was far from easy. Dubai-born Sequeira’s entrepreneurial journey didn’t even start in the kitchen. A journalism graduate from Northwestern University, Sequeira began her career behind the camera. It took a long time for her to discover her passion for cooking, and even longer for her to build that passion into a business. Sequeira took the time to discuss the fascinating path she took to land where she is today, as well as share her insights for all the aspiring food celebrities out there to do the same.

You started out as a producer on CNN. What took you out of the newsroom and into your first restaurant job at Lucques? When I was in New York, I was on a track. I knew exactly where I was professionally and where I was going. When I moved to L.A. to be with my husband, I found that it was hard to get work. But when I thought about it, the real reason it was hard is that I lost the hustle, I lost the appetite for [being a producer]. When I was in journalism school, one of my instructors said, “if you ever lose the fire, then you have to get out of it.” That’s when I started cooking. It’s been in my blood. My mom loves it, my dad is a huge foodie, my grandmothers were amazing cooks. Cooking is practical and healing at the same time. I found that when I followed a recipe, I could transform something raw and ugly, like an onion, into something beautiful, like a French onion soup. I found that the passion I had for news, I now had for cooking.” What was it like getting scouted off of YouTube and onto Food Network? When I started doing the YouTube show it was just pure joy. My husband [Brendan McNamara] was the director. After a while, a woman at [online food platform] Good Bites saw my YouTube channel and apparently said, “I can make that woman a star.” I started shooting cooking videos for them. I remember thinking, “holy cow I would do this for free.” It was a moment where everything slowed down and I realized this is what I want to do. When people told me to try out for Food Network Star, I thought there

was no way that they would pick me. When you’re in the spotlight, you feel like all people want to do is look down on you. It was definitely a leap of courage and faith. And then they picked me. And when I won, it was incredibly validating. What advice do you have for all the food bloggers and YouTubers out there looking to become the next Aarti Sequeira? If you want a cooking show, well, just make one. It is easier than ever to set up a camera in your own home and film yourself. Learn to edit too. That helped me a lot. My big advantage in doing Food Network Star is that I had basically already done the job. I had been doing it on my own for 9 months. I had the on-camera experience and the kind of recipes people were looking for. I knew the kinds of lines and film cuts that Food Network was looking for. For food bloggers, I blogged because I needed an outlet to talk about what was going on in my life and in the kitchen. It helped me figure out what my point of view was and what made me different as a chef. There’s a lot of copycats out there and you have to figure out a way to separate yourself. The only way to do that is to get yourself on a regimen of blogging 3 times a week. You just have to do it, and do it, and do it. I spent years of just writing and shooting and editing and blogging before going onto the Food Network. April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 23

By Bob Barnes

He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

photo by Mike Fryer

photos courtesy SUSHISAMBA

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

Steve Young Wins “Best New Chef/Rising Star” at 2017 Silver State Culinary Awards

SUSHISAMBA Launches Japanese Whisky Experience and Expanded Whisky Menu

I was pleased to be asked to be one of the nominators for the 2017 Silver State Culinary Awards, which this year generated a record tally of more than 16,000 online votes. I was also honored to be asked to present the “Best New Chef/Rising Star” winner at the awards ceremony on March 6. My honor turned to delight when I opened the envelope and discovered one of the talented young chefs I had nominated had won, and had the pleasure to read off the name of Steve Young, Chef de Cuisine of Edge Steakhouse at Westgate Las Vegas. When asked to comment on his win Chef Young stated, “Passion for what you do comes from within. Work ethic grows throughout time, and integrity is what defines you!” This award adds to Chef’s collection: in 2016, he was awarded a “Top Chef Medal” at the 2016 Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival. A week later I dined at Edge and the tasting Chef provided me with included his specialties of Wagyu Tartare with Kaluga Caviar; Bone Marrow Flatbread with smoked shallots and red onion jam; Cauliflower Served Three Ways: fritter, roasted, and cream of cauliflower soup enhanced with pork belly; Sunchoke Ravioli with black truffle; Sweet Pea and Ricotta Agniolotti with parmesan and cream, morels and black truffle; Prime bone-in rib-eye, dry aged NY and domestic Wagyu NY with housemade sauces; and Crème Brulee and 7-Layer Chocolate Cake. This delectable and very creative tasting by the 33-year-old culinary phenome was an excellent reminder of why I had nominated him and a testament to why he won this prestigious award.

After conquering sake for the past 15 years SUSHISAMBA at The Palazzo is now introducing Japanese whisky to its guests in a new and exciting way, through the Japanese Whisky Experience, a seven-course Japanese whiskey pairing. We were treated to the Experience recently by Operations Director Hayes Swope and Executive Chef Joel Versola, who took us through the tasting. Our dinner began with the Wagyu Cocktail infused with A5 Wagyu, maple syrup and salted caramel, a unique drink Hayes created using 100 grams of A5 rendered down and infused with whisky, resulting in a prominent beef flavor. Following courses were Passionfruit Whisky Sour matched with crispy tempura sweet oyster with osetra caviar; Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Whisky paired with smoked ocean trout roe and wasabi crème; Nikka Yoichi Single Malt paired with robata grilled hamachi kama with agave ponzu sauce; Akashi Single Malt 5-year Sherry Cask matched with whisky-soy marinated robata grilled pork ribs with aji panca barbeque sauce

24 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

and A5 Wagyu roll with edible soil; Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky paired with braised beef cheeks with red wine-soy whisky reduction; and Japanese Cherry Manhattan Granita matched with dark roasted coffee custard, chocolate hazelnut crumble, sweet cream ice cream and Japanese whisky foam. The dinner pairing must be reserved 48-hours in advance so ingredients can be procured and the cost is $250 per person. In addition, one of the pairings is being rotated weekly on the regular menu through April 10. Of particular note: SUSHISAMBA now has the largest Japanese whisky selection in Las Vegas and one of the largest in the US, with 31 choices currently gracing its whisky list. The impressive collection includes some rare award-winning selections such as the Mars Komagatake 30-yr (currently the only bottle available in Las Vegas) and Nikka Taketsuru 17-yr Pure Malt (a line dedicated to the founder of Nikka). Also, Hayes is THE man to talk to about sake, as he is a Master Sake Sommelier, one of just over 100 “Sake Professionals” in the entire world.

photos by Bryan Kuhl

Mercato della Pescheria —Who Says Dining on the Strip Has to be Expensive? Translated from Italian to “the fish market,” Mercato della Pescheria may make you feel like you’ve been transported to a traditional coastal seafood market one would find along the shores of Italy. Located in St. Mark’s Square inside of the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian/ Palazzo, the restaurant’s curated décor is designed to put you in the middle of a market, with cured meats hanging from the ceiling, 12 market stations throughout and the aroma of charcoal ovens. The most popular seats are in the patio, overlooking the open St. Mark’s Square, which offer a view of the stage where a variety of entertainment takes place throughout the day and night. But inside the restaurant offers entertainment of another sort. Not to be missed are several antique items scattered throughout the space, including a 1908 National cash register, a Keeley cast iron stove from the 1700s, an espresso machine, meat slicer, bean grinder, Howe scale and 50’s-era radio. Another example of Italian authenticity can be found in the kitchen, which is helmed by Executive Chef Marco Scabin, a native of Venice, who has worked in Italy, Spain, owned his own restaurant in Buenos Ares and worked under Michael Mina at his Bourbon Steak in San Francisco’s Union Square before bringing his talents to the Mercato della Pescheria in Miami. Chef Marco opened the restaurant in Las Vegas as sous chef and was promoted to executive chef in August and everything on the menu is now his creation. As soon as we were seated we were warmly greeted by our server Alessio David, who hails from Napoli and worked with Chef Marco in

Miami. His first words were, “You are in my home now.” His kind, friendly and professional service sure did make us feel welcomed and cared for. As for the menu, it is divided into sections of Appetizers, Raw Bar, Salad, Pizza, Pasta, Butcher Shop and Seafood. Many of the items are meant to be served family style and some I recommend for sharing are wood roasted charred Mediterranean octopus enlivened with chickpea puree, fennel, tomato confit and fingerling potatoes; Italian pork/beef meatball slow braised in roasted tomato marinara; and eggplant parmesan with mozzarella and Grana Padano cheese, tomato and basil. Although these were all shareable appetizers, they were fairly large portions and priced at $20 or less. The pizzas, cooked in a wood-fire grill, are indeed like ones you would find in Napoli. We asked Chef Marco to make us his favorite one, and he delivered with a margarita simply dressed with San Marzano tomato and mozzarella. Our absolute favorite dish we sampled was the gnocchi Bolognese: handmade potato gnocchi tossed with roasted shallots and pea tendrils piled on a bed of rich Bolognese and finished with Grana Padano, which at $23 is well worth the price. Lovers of fresh seafood will also like the spaghetti frutti di mare ($34) loaded with manila clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp cooked in a lobster broth. A unique Spanish-style Josper coal-fired oven, something rarely found in Las Vegas, is utilized to prepare the fine meats including half free range chicken, osso bucco veal, NY strip, bone-in rib eye; and fresh seafood such as Mediterranean sea bass, salmon, yellowtail, scallops and grilled Hawaiian prawns. Complementing the authentic Italian dishes

are approximately 60 wines mainly from Italy and Napa, 26 of which are sold by the glass or ½ bottle; and a culinary-influenced cocktail program uses fresh ingredients to create libations, such as the Cucumber-Basil Martini made with Bulldog Gin, cucumber, basil & lemon muddled fresh, Caravella Limoncello and cucumber bitters. The finale of your meal should include the tiramisu, which is presented tableside. When delivered to our table, Alessio poured hot chocolate over the Savoiardi Lady Fingers and Segafredo Espresso, mixed in mascarpone and then finished it by shaving chocolate over the top. Who says dining on the Strip has to be expensive? The menu here has a range of prices, but most items are $25 or less. Show up from 3-7 and everything on the daily happy hour menu is priced at $6, with choices of meatball slider, crispy gnocchi, pepperoni pizza, bruschetta, wine, beer and spirits. And, since it’s at The Venetian/Palazzo, you won’t have to pay for valet or self parking; and save a bundle by skipping the cost of airfare to Italy and instead taking a short drive to the middle of the Vegas Strip. Mercato della Pescheria @The Venetian/Palazzo 3377 Las Vegas Blvd South Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-837-0309 Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 25

By Adam Rains

Our Picks

Adam has a true passion for food, wine, beer & spirits. He is a barman at CarneVino, a brand ambassador for Brooklyn Brewery, long-time cocktailian, and the Social Media Chair 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 and the Certified Cicerone Program. His mantra with both food & cocktails is, “fresh is best.”

photo by Adam Rains

Sweetbreads at CarneVino You have to love a restaurant that serves offal! Ironically “Cucina Povere” may not always be commercially viable, but Mario Batali has never shied away from using the more humble parts of the animal. He knows that the connoisseur will always appreciate the unique texture of the delicacy and the true deliciousness that lies within. In this case Executive Chef Arnold Corpuz celebrates sweetbreads (Veal-Thymus). He starts by soaking them in milk until tender and then pan-sears them to perfection. It is placed on top of a sunchoke puree and garnished with crispy pan-fried sunchokes, lemon zest and parsely. A veal reduction adds savor, sweetness and depth to this most sought after delicacy.

Coming soon (we hope)!!! In a meeting with Mt. Gay’s Master Blender, Allen Smith, he gave us a preview of a very exclusive product. It’s the culmination of hundreds of years of rum making and is a celebration of Barbados’ independence.

photo courtesy Mount Gay

It is the Mount Gay XO Cask Strength and is only available in a very limited amount. This overproof expression shows the best of Barbados and is a tribute to its people and culture. This rum is a blended column and pot still spirit which is aged from 8 to 15 years. You do not drink this rum as much as it drinks you. It is a warming and engulfing experience with multiple layers to uncover. From the nose alone, its heavy aromas of cocoa, licorice, banana and coffee bean will leave you in contemplation. It is not one to be taken lightly at 63% alcohol. I would not describe as hot, but more as enveloping. As you wet your lips, sip after sip you find a multitude of integrated flavors. The magic of the island and of the barrel come together and exhibit rich baking spices, ginger, molasses, dark chocolate and coffee. It is not yet available in the Las Vegas market, but soon I hope that we can all sip some together. Contact your local rep for more details!

photo by Adam Rains

Hainanese Chicken Rice

26 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

Chef Sheridan Su has struck a chord in this city. After working at some of the better kitchens in town, he has now opened two beloved restaurants near Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. The newer of the two, Flock and Fowl, has had the praise of critics nationwide. What it’s most known for is the Hainanese Chicken Rice #1. The rice stands alone as the centerpiece in this dish and is truly fantastic. It’s cooked with aromatized chicken fat and broth; the ginger, scallions and garlic along with the essence of chicken permeate every bite of this jasmine rice blend. With every plate he serves, it’s his hope that the food tastes like your Asian grandmother is in the kitchen, and he succeeds. The food out of his kitchen is both soulful and with a conscious. The chicken he uses is organic and free range from Mary’s Chickens in California and is slowly poached in his own housemade chicken broth. The soft & succulent bird is served with a house-made Sambal chili, ginger scallion, Cantonese soy sauce and more of the broth for dipping. Go see Chef very soon for what could be the best lunch in the city!

By John Rockwell

Really Stinky Cheese

John Rockwell is a native Southern Californian and career English teacher working in the Riverside area. In his spare time, he rides his bicycle to breweries, restaurants, and cheese shops, and is always looking for culinary delights within riding distance of the vast network of SoCal bicycle trails.

photos by John Rockwell


Beautifully presented on a piece of slate (it’s a stone, get it?), the cheeses from Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens are both unique—not run-of-the-mill grocery store cheese—and “by the book” in the sense of balance: two mixed milk semi-hard cheeses with a Brie and a blue.

The beautiful and sublime Red Hawk begins its life as a triple creme, but is exposed to B. linens. Now that Cowgirl Creamery has been sold to Swiss dairy company Emmi, we may see Cowgirl cheeses in the same places we see Cypress Grove Chèvre (also owned by Emmi).

The odor is so strong on this one, it is sealed in a plastic container. Once sliced, this aesthetically beautiful cheese is a delicious flavor combination of meat, yeast, and mushroom. It has been washed in Burgundy wine, which gives it its reddish color.

He is an ardent fan of the waiver theater culture in Los Angeles. He is new to cheesemaking, but has been a homebrewer for over twenty years.

A visit to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens is an idyllic gastropub experience, whether you’re visiting the Escondido location or Liberty Station—though at San Diego’s Liberty Station, conversations in the beer garden may be occasionally squelched by airport traffic. The Escondido location was a stop on a recent brewery tour, and of course in my ongoing quest for trying cheese, I was thrilled to see a regular appetizer selection named “The Really Stinky Cheese Plate.” Its description is tantalizing: “A selection of intensely odiferous cheeses, fruit and marmalade with barley cracker bread.” The cheeses on this plate vary by season, but in March, I had a Shropshire blue, a goat Brie, and two semi-hard cheeses: one goat’s milk, and one cow’s milk. I remember thinking to myself, ‘there’s nothing really stinky on this platter,’ but chalked it up to my newfound exuberance and high tolerance for all things cheese-related. Nobody around me complained about the odor, but they were more busy sampling beer than paying attention to this excellent food offering. Stone’s “stinky” cheese platter caused a conundrum for me because I wanted to be able to define and understand what causes that sense profile in cheeses. I don’t define blue cheeses as “stinky”—pungent, maybe, but that is a result of the sharp and sour flavors I find in blues (when this cheese is made, the milk is often ripened to a sour state before adding rennet). And even though I know there are endless variations of Brie, I definitely do not categorize them as “stinky”—although, a good one is always welcome on my plate. I began to read about and seek out “stinky” cheeses, and found out that there is a special bacteria that contributes to an amazing aroma unceremoniously labeled as “foot odor”—probably, because as it turns out, Brevibacterium linens is partially responsible for what we perceive as foot odor. In the cheesemaking process, the same bacteria can be added to the milk before rennet is added, sprayed onto finished cheese rounds during the aging process (sometimes called smear-ripened), or developed as rinds are “washed” with a brine that inhibits white molds like P. candidum. B. linens can be used for soft cheeses, which is the focus of this piece, as well as varieties of semi-hard cheeses, especially popular in Switzerland, like Red Witch or Challerhocker. Much to my surprise, I was already a repeat customer of a soft B. linens cheese, the famous Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery. According to legend, Red Hawk was created by accident when some of their Mt. Tam Triple Creme was exposed to B. linens. Believing the cheese ruined, it was stored, and when tasted later, an award-winning cheese was born. Depending on the ripeness of this cheese, the odor can be quite strong, but the pleasing mild yeasty flavor makes its bark worse than its bite. It is an ideal “stinky” cheese for beginners. Now that I knew what to look for, I began to hound stinky cheese at the recently installed Whole Foods Market in Brea. In Southern California, it is difficult to find a round selection of international artisan cheese. Whole Foods is one chain that can always be counted on for an excellent selection, though the varieties will differ from location to location and season to season. Some Ralphs Supermarkets have made a deal with Murray’s Cheese Shop (located on the Lower West Side of Manhattan), and if you can find a Ralphs with a Murray’s kiosk (Marina Del Rey, Long Beach or Beverly Hills are three), you are going to find some unique varieties. For “thrifty” shoppers, both Whole Foods and Murray’s have a nice “leftover cutting” basket at each store that has small chunks of more expensive cheese, so while at Whole Foods, I grabbed some Epoisses, because I noticed the requisite reddish, B. linens-stained rind. When I got it home and opened it, it was overripe and the odor was so overpowering, my family cleared the room. But when I tasted it, I was amazed. Meaty and yeasty, I knew I had found something great. On subsequent trips to cheese counters, and knowing what to look for, I now noticed countless varieties of “stinky cheese” and made it my goal to try as many as possible. It turns out that soft washed-rind/smear-ripened cheese is not a product of France alone, though it certainly does seem to have the corner on the market with Epoisses, Pont l’eveque, Reblochon, Tomme de Savoie and Munster Mon Sire (if you buy them in the US, they are produced in versions using pasteurized milk especially for our food laws). Over the course of the past couple of months, I have tried more than fifteen different variations of soft, smear-ripened cheeses that favor the wild, odiferous, salty, and often meaty, mushroomy, yeasty, and bready B. linens strain. In Italy, there is Taleggio and Rosso di Langa; in Germany, there is the lunchable rectangular Limburger; in the United States, Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont seems to have the corner on the market producing stinky and runny gems like Winnimere, Willoughby and Harbison. Vermont Creamery, which specializes in goat’s milk and mixed mild soft cheeses has an amazing washed rind goat and cow’s milk cheese called Cremont. If you ever get the chance to try some Oma from VonTrapp (Vermont) or Good Thunder from Alemar Cheese Company (Minnesota), you are in for a special treat. In fact, next to the Epoisses, Oma and Good Thunder were, to my taste, the most distinctly stinky and flavorbalanced cheeses on this list. Look for Part II of this story in the May issue.

28 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017


Las Vegas

By Adam Rains Adam has a true passion for food, wine, beer & spirits. He is a barman at CarneVino, a brand ambassador for Brooklyn Brewery, long-time cocktailian, and the Social Media Chair 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 and the Certified Cicerone Program. His mantra with both food & cocktails is, “fresh is best.”

JASON GORDON Secretary of the Las Vegas Chapter, USBG

About the USBG

photo courtesy MGM International

Like many of us, Jason Gordon has come to this city to further his passion. While he hails from the Big Apple, Las Vegas has been his home since 2003. His service industry journey has taken him from bartending party cruises, local bars and into managing in the Wolfgang Puck organization. All the while, he had been fervently studying wine & spirits and the USBG gave him numerous opportunities to do so. “I really began to put a lot of effort into it. I began to take wine courses and tests, and went to every beverage seminar I could attend.” His two most recent positions have been as General Manager: first at Oscar’s Steakhouse downtown, and most recently after 23 years of working in restaurants, at the Grand Wok and Sushi Bar at the MGM. He brings all of this knowledge and experience with him for his newest endeavor. As the Secretary for our Las Vegas Chapter of the USBG, he is ready to serve his community and further the craft of bartending. “As for my goals, the bar has been set high by the last council, so mine are to continue the great job that they did while trying to engage more of the membership. I’d also love to have more beer and wine events. I know the membership would like to have a larger range of education events. What I like about the USBG: I love the community and the support everybody is eager to provide for each other. There’s no shortage of support in this community, whether it’s professional or charitable, it’s always there. There’s also the amazing job the guild’s membership does at supporting a different charity each year. This year’s charity is Opportunity Village and I’ve already seen amazing members donating both time and money for the cause.”





Spurred by owners Joe Bastianch & Mario Batali, CarneVino Italian Steakhouse has had a love affair with Amaro for years. It is no wonder that a majority of the cocktails on their list feature one Amaro or another. The Watch Me Disappear is no different; at its base, it is savory, refreshing and celebrates the spirit of Mexico, Tequila. It also uses one of Italy’s biggest selling Amari, Vecchio Amaro Del Capo. This Calabrian delight has a wonderful viscosity with multiple layers of citrus & prickly pear with a bittersweet finish. The Amaro is backed up by the ginger spice of Domain de Canton and the lightly-bitter rhubarb sapor of Aperol. Lime juice brings a lively acidity and the Celery Bitters enrich the already present green notes of the tequila. Around the rim is a savory & salty spice blend that coercively invites you to taste again and again... Salute!

Watch Me Disappear

photo by Christina Stephan

1 1/2 oz Milagro Blanco 3/4 oz Domaine de Canton 1/2 oz Vecchio Amaro Del Capo 1/2 oz Aperol 3/4 oz Lime Juice 2 dashes of Celery Bitters

For information on how to join, please go to

Calendar 4/5 Dalmore Event 4/6 Roundtable with Diageo 4/9 Jameson Bartenders Ball 4/25 Quady Vineyards Event 5/1 Southwest Regional Conference

Combine all ingredients into mixing glass and STIR (to maintain texture and not over dilute). Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass with a Tajin rim. Garnish with a lemon peel and red-veined sorrel leaf.

The United States Bartenders’ Guild is comprised of spirit professionals dedicated to the art of the craft of Bartending. What was founded in 1948 has now spread all over the US with Las Vegas being the largest chapter in the country. Through events, charity, and education they support and enhance the great American livingart that is Bartending.

5/19 For the Love of Cocktails

April 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 29



There are several major food & beverage events coming up in the next few 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

page 15

Jay’s Sharpening Service 702-645-0049

page 8

April 5-8 the 7th Annual Universal Whisky Experience will take place at Encore 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!

Big Dog’s Brewing Company 702-368-3715

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Las Vegas Epicurean Affair

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April 7-8 the Motley Brews 7th Annual Great Vegas Festival of Beer will again be held in Downtown Las Vegas in the heart of the Fremont East Entertainment District, with more than 400 beer choices from 100 breweries, the largest craft beer selection of any beerfest held in Nevada. April 27 the Power of Love® Gala at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas’ premiere fundraiser event, is an annual celebration of life that was created to raise money for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s programs and services and is an evening you will want to remember as you Keep Memory Alive.

Chefs for Kids Dinner and Auction 702-333-2338 Designated Drivers 877-456-7433

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Hawaiian Frost page 27 Frozen Dairy Treat

Major Foods 702-838-4698

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Power of Love Gala

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White Soy Sauce

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World Tea Expo

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April 27-30 is the 11th Annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit, a celebration of wine, food and spirits with 24 events hosted by an array of celebrity chefs, with the highlight being The Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace on April 28. The 4th annual For the Love of Cocktails by Back Bar USA will attract mixology fans from all over the country, who will show up and express their “Love of Cocktails” by sampling the innovative libations, all while raising money for charity. The Grand Gala on May 19 will take place at the Skyfall Lounge inside Rivea at the top of the Delano Las Vegas Hotel.

30 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I April 2017

Pre-Conference: June 12, 2017


Conference & Expo: June 13-15, 2017

Las Vegas Convention Center, North Hall


Advancing the Business of Tea

World Tea Expo 2017 is just around the corner! Enter the code TEAM5 for $200 off the Premium Conference Pass. Register today at!

World Tea Expo is the largest tradeshow and conference in North America focused 100% on premium teas and related products. Join us to blend fresh ideas, discover the latest trends and new distribution channels through three days of focused buying, selling and education. World Tea Expo is your chance to capitalize on this growing category to the fullest.

April 2017 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional  

Trade publication for food & beverage professionals in the Las Vegas area.

April 2017 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional  

Trade publication for food & beverage professionals in the Las Vegas area.