The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional - June 2019

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Issue 6 Volume 19

US $3.95

It’s Summer—Take a Dive into




June 2019


10 Cover



WELCOME TO THE LAS VEGAS FOOD & BEVERAGE PROFESSIONAL JUNE 2019 ISSUE, and thank you for your continued support and comments on the publication. We hope to keep all our professional readers updated and informed on what’s happening in the industry, especially focused on Las Vegas. OUR COVER FEATURE on page 16-17, written by Gael Hees, invites us to get into the swing of summer by Taking a Dive into Hampton Water, and tells us of the Rosé wine that is taking the country by storm. Gael details the fascinating story of how Hampton Water Rosé came to be and of how Jesse Bongiovi and his former college roommate Ali Thomas, with the support of Jesse’s father, famed rocker Jon Bon Jovi, created this wine that is perfect for summer or any season. In his Spirits Confidential column on page 7 Max Solano gives us a rundown on the 9th annual Nth Ultimate Whisky Experience, held recently at Wynn Las Vegas. Max informs us of the origins of this event, put on by our friend Mahesh Patel, and how it has grown into a unique high-end event that is now considered one of the top whisky events in the world. Read on to also find out which distilleries impressed Max and what some of his favorite pours were. In this issue we have several features by our journalists spotlighting our local chefs, who are shining their light through their impressive culinary talents. In his “Chef Spotlight” column on page 15 Pat Evans introduces us to Chef Juan Vasquez, telling us how Chef, like many chefs, worked his way up through the ranks from dishwasher to line cook to sous chef to his current position as Executive Chef of Tuscany Suites & Casino; in her “Dishing It with Sk Delph” column on page 18, Sk shows us not all of the culinary talent is found on the Vegas Strip and provides us with her coverage of the Vegas Unstripped, a showcase of 19 talented chefs from several off-Strip restaurants; on page 13 in his “What’s Cooking” column our Editorial Director Bob Barnes tells us about how Delmonico Steakhouse, celebrating its 20th anniversary, has stood the test of time, in large part due to the excellence of Chef de Cuisine Ronnie Rainwater; and in the Nevada Restaurant Association column on page 29 Bob reviews the recent Epicurean Affair held this year at the Red Rock Resort pools and shares quotes from several of the participating chefs at the event. CHEERS! MIKE FRYER

Page 4 Hot off the Grill!

Page 15 Chef Spotlight Juan Vazquez

Page 5 Wine Talk with Alice Swift Blind Wine Tasting: the Ideal vs. the Reality Page 6 What’s Brewing Page 7 Spirits Confidential with Max Solano “Nth 2019 Ultimate Whisky Experience Wows Again!” Page 8 Brett’s Vegas View Page 10 Sake Level One Class at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada Page 11 Front & Back of the House A Passion for the Imagination Page 12 What’s Cooking


Page 14 Twinkle Toast Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz

Page 16 COVER FEATURE It’s Summer – Take a Dive into Hampton Water! Page 18 Dishing It with Sk Delph Vegas UnStripped Second Helping Page 19 Chef Talk Butter Page 20 D’Agostino’s Features Outstanding Italian Cuisine with a Long Family History

Page 23 The Bottom Line Will Home-Cooked Food Disrupt the Restaurant Industry? Page 24 USBG Las Vegas Page 25 Human Resources Insights Having a Sound On-Boarding Process is Invaluable! Page 26 The Restaurant Expert Make Yourself a Priority Page 27 UNLV epicurean Society Page 28 Product Review

Kimo Sabe Mezcal

Page 29 Nevada Restaurant Association Epicurean Affair Remains One of the Premier Culinary Events Las Vegas Has to Offer

Page 22 Best of the Best

Page 30 Events

Page 21 The Restaurant Coach Try this System to Shave Five Points

Ad Index

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

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


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After wowing everyone with his heralded Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District, Chef James Trees has opened two more restaurants, the latest being Ada’s in Tivoli Village. The menu has some of the same awesome Italian dishes we enjoy at Esther’s, but also has a focus on pizza and house-made ice cream, like Foie Gras pie and Balsamic Strawberry & Buttermilk ice cream. Pictured here is Chef Trees with our Editorial Director Bob Barnes celebrating the restaurant’s opening.

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

Bob Barnes

Editorial Director

Juanita Fryer

The 2019 Epicurean Affair was held last month at the Redrock Resort pools and we were there to cover it. Pictured here is Editorial Director Bob Barnes, hard at work interviewing Edge Steakhouse Executive Chef Steve Young. To see what Chef Steve had to say about the event and several other participating chefs, read Bob’s article on page 29.

Adam Rains

Assistant To Sr. Editor ACF Chefs Liasion/Journalist

Beverage Editor

Juanita Aiello Creative Director


Article Submissions/Suggestions

Calendar Submissions


Press Relase Submissions

General Information


The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional


Journalist Wine Talk Alice Swift

Journalist The Bottom Line Ben Brown

Accounting Manager Michelle San Juan

Journalist Brett’s Vegas View Jackie Brett

Journalist Best of the Best Shelley Stepanek

Journalist UNLV Epicurean Society Savannah Reeves

Journalist May I Recommend... Blake Myers

Journalist The Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters

Journalist USBG Las Vegas Terry Clark

Journalist Front & Back of the House Gael Hees

Photographer Audrey Dempsey

Journalist Chef Talk Allen Asch

Journalist Don Chareunsy

Journalist Dishing It Sk Delph

Journalist Spirits Confidential Max Solano

Photographer Bill Bokelmann

Journalist Pat Evans

Photographer Joe Urcioli

Journalists Twinkle Toast Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover

Journalists Elaine and Scott Harris

Journalist HR Insights Linda Bernstein

4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

Wine Talk

with Alice Swift

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

Blind Wine Tasting: the Ideal vs. the Reality Wine tasting is an activity that allows consumers to taste a flight of wines and hopefully learn more in the process. Your senses (sight, smell and touch/taste) are used to objectively evaluate and form your subjective opinions from the wine. The key word here is objectivity. The ideal is to be neutral when wine tasting so that consumers can evaluate specific characteristics of the wine itself. Unfortunately, preferences are swayed by many aspects, like bottle labels, region, varietal and/or producer. Price and reviews are also major factors when judging quality, and amazingly, this all happens before the wine is even tasted! Herein lies the benefits of blind tasting! Wine is evaluated using your senses and excluding possible biasing factors. However, there is an ideal vs. the reality when contrasting general consumers versus professionals. Although social consumers may not want the formality of a professional blind tasting, there are still best practices that can be applied. Here are some factors to consider: Environment/Setting The Reality: Blind tasting in social settings have many potential distractions. Poor lighting, loud music, party type atmosphere, all contribute to bias when evaluating wines. The Ideal: o Neutral, natural lighting o Minimal noise distractions o White tablecloths (or provide white paper as a backdrop to visually inspect the wine) Packaging The Reality: There are many ways to conceal a wine label (aluminum foil wrapping, brown bagging, newspaper wrapping, etc). However, there are still some remaining visual biases, like the shape of the bottle if tightly wrapped, the foil/capsule or bottle color or the cork. The Ideal: o Re-pour the wines into neutral glass bottles like large format San Pellegrino or Perrier bottles. o If re-pouring isn’t practical, remove as many visual cues as possible (cork, foil, etc.). Wrap a large paper bag loosely around the bottle to help distort the shape. Consumption Order and Quantity of Wines The Reality: If the entire group wants to participate, then chances are the wines will simply be grouped into white/red. Lack of ordering can lead to some wines overpowering

others. Too many wines tasted in one sitting can also lead to palate fatigue. For purely social drinkers, it’s not a big deal. But, for those who do want a learning experience, palate fatigue is when your sense of smell and taste becomes overworked, and the wines consumed start to blur together, smelling and tasting the same, producing flawed evaluations. The Ideal: o Provide drinking water for consumption/ rinsing your mouth between wines. o Provide neutral food to cleanse your palate and take pauses in between wines. Characteristics like acid and tannins often linger on your palate. o Have one person (who will know the wines being poured) order the wines properly (light to full bodied, low to high tannin, white to red, etc.). Other Consumed Items The Reality: Wine tastings are often paired with food, which affects the wine evaluation itself. I’ve experienced guests who favor a wine during their meal. When they later purchase/ consume the wine by itself or with other foods, it is disliked. All items consumed during wine tasting affect neutral evaluation and should be taken into consideration when forming your subjective opinions. The Ideal: o When blind tasting, the only items that should be consumed with the wines are water and a couple neutral items (unsalted/ unflavored crackers or neutral white bread). o If food will be served, then perhaps wait to serve food towards the end of the tasting

when the fuller bodied red wines are being poured. By this time, your palate may be increasing in palate fatigue anyway, and food may be beneficial at this point. Wine Evaluation Method The Reality: Often during social events, blind tasting is very casual, with questions like “What kind of wine do you think it is?”, or “Do you like this wine?” This results in lack of identification of specific traits that the participants likes or dislikes, and are forced to draw conclusions without evaluating the wine properly. Participants may also have a wide range of wine education/tasting experience. The Ideal: o Introduce the concept of wine tasting evaluation (sight, smell, taste, major evaluation factors, etc.). o Provide some sort of evaluation or tasting grid for people to fill out for each wine to maintain consistency and neutrality when evaluating. My favorite is the Wine and Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine, which provides a tasting grid as well as categorized descriptors. A sample intermediate level grid is provided here: www.wsetglobal. com/media/2491/level-2-wines-satenglish-2014.pdf In conclusion, there are many methods to reduce internal/external biases when blind wine tasting. At the end of the day, the goal is to enjoy yourself and learn more about what is it you like or dislike about the wines you taste. Until next time, Cheers~! Alice

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5

By Bob Barnes


He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

photos by Joe Urcioli


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

Able Baker Beer Dinner at Veranda at the Four Seasons Hotel

Veranda at the Four Seasons Hotel hosted its first beer dinner, featuring the brews of Able Baker and the very entertaining storytelling of Able Baker co-owner James Manus, who regaled us with tidbits about the brewery’s origins as he and co-owner/brewer Randy Rohde began homebrewing in his garage, how they come up with the interesting, historical names of their beers and the descriptions of the beers we enjoyed during the dinner. The five-course beer pairing dinner was ably prepared by chef de cuisine Joel Ott, who had the opportunity to make a departure from the normal Italian fare his restaurant normally offers and created one-off dishes especially for the evening. We began with Hawaiian big eye tuna sashimi with olive and sesame emulsion paired with Test Site Saison, which James said is made with chamomile, ginger and Mexican allspice and was first brewed in his garage using a yeast strain he cultivated from a mix of saison and Bavarian hefe yeast.

Stout-braised mushroom pie with Swiss gruyere mornay sauce and caramelized onions was matched with Chris Kael Impale’d Ale, also an original brew from their homebrewing days in the garage, and made for their rocker friend it’s named for. Jumbo lump crab and artichoke fritter with spicy eggplant sofrito and honey-lime-cilantro salad was served with PRESS IPA, an easydrinking, not-bitter IPA with notes of papaya and pineapple, which is named for and made exclusively for the Four Seasons PRESS Bar and Lounge. 12-hour braised pork belly with beer-braised red cabbage and sour cherry glaze was paired with Swimming with Debré, a sour delight that was aged in a bourbon barrel with brett for 14 months. James told the fascinating backstory of it being named for French Minister of Defense Michel Debre who swam in a lagoon in Tahiti after an A-bomb detonation in 1970 (when the French were still doing above ground testing) to make reporters think the radiological effects of the nuclear tests were harmless and surprisingly suffered no ill effects. The finale was mandarin parfait with Cointreau-

infused brownie and chocolate sorbet with A119 Imperial Stout, an imperial dark ale with Madagascar vanilla, chocolate, ancho chiles, jalapeno and cocoa nibs, which proved to be a dessert in itself! James informed us the intriguing story of the name of this beer being derived from a top secret plan by the USAF in 1958 (kept secret for 45 years) to detonate an atomic bomb on the moon as a show of force to the Soviets, which thankfully was deemed to be not such a good idea, and the mission was scrapped. The dinner was held out on the restaurant’s patio on an evening with absolutely perfect weather and was nearly sold out with attendees mainly made up of fans of the brewery along with a handful of hotel guests. Count me a new fan of Chef Ott, and without question the favorite dish everyone seated around me agreed upon was the stout-braised mushroom pie. Hopefully this will be the first of many beer dinners prepared by this talented chef. And, you will soon be hearing more about Able Baker, as mentioned in this column in the May issue, as their new brewery in the Arts District will be opening this summer.

New Local Beer Magazine Launched

Good news for beer fans is a newly launched local publication all about craft beer. The brand new publication is called Nevada Beer Quest and can be accessed online at; or if you are like me and like to hold a magazine in your hands when you read it, you can look for it at more than 30 locations (including 595, Aces & Ales, Bad Beat, Banger, Barley’s, Chicago, CraftHaus, Lovelady and Pub 365), with more locations being added all the time. For the complete list see Owners/Publishers/Editors A.D. Cook and Beti Kristof founded the magazine and in addition to writing articles, Cook also puts his artistic abilities to good use as the Creative Director. The premier May/ June issue has features on brew hoppenings, a listing of places to find good beer, regional beer news, info on becoming a cicerone and a spotlight on a featured server. To my knowledge this is the first ever printed publication focused solely on Nevada craft beer and is a welcome addition to our local beer community. 6 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

SPIRITS CONFIDENTIAL with Max Solano “Nth 2019 Ultimate Whisky Experience Wows Again!”

Without question, whisky across the globe continues to experience an incredible ascent into all-time popularity. I’m not even sure if we’re even close to having it reach its pinnacle, but this brings me to the subject of this year’s Nth Ultimate Whisky Experience which was held, once again, at the majestic and beautiful Wynn Resort on April 26-27. It was approximately nine years ago when I had first received a call from a gentleman by the name of Mahesh Patel telling me he was thinking of putting on a unique high-end whisky event in Las Vegas. Little did I know that Mahesh was not only the owner of a very successful commercial development and construction company in Atlanta, Georgia, but was also an extreme whisky enthusiast and one of the largest private collectors of whisky in the world. When I first met Mahesh and his lovely wife Nina in 2010, they kindly took the time to sit down with me and describe their new concept in detail. In my mind, I already knew this was going to be a game changer and Las Vegas was the perfect setting for something of this caliber. This idea had stemmed from Mahesh having hosted some of his closest friends over the years at his house and occasionally, he would open some of his very high-end whiskies from deep within his vault and offer them up. At some point, it was suggested to Mahesh by one of his closest friends that he should consider creating an experience such as this, but on a larger scale. It was during this time that the largest and hottest of the North American whiskey events such as Whisky Live and Marvin Shanken’s Whisky Fest were the must-attend events for all whisky enthusiasts, old and new. Whereas these popular events catered to large crowds, Mahesh’s vision was to create an exclusive and quality-focused event where the world’s most renowned whisky brands would showcase their whisky personalities (whether it was the master

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

distiller, blender or some other high-profile name), and their high-end drams in a very limited and intimate setting. Hence, the Nth Ultimate Whisky Experience was born. This year marked the Nth’s ninth year of existence. And, once again, it did not disappoint! Over the years, the Nth has continued to grow and expand its offerings into additional nights of smaller intimate events for those who can’t get enough whisky pampering as a precursor to the show’s two main nights of tastings. For example, a couple of years ago Mahesh held a very exclusive whisky tasting on one of the nights at the Grand Canyon where an extremely limited of individuals were flown out via helicopter. This year, there was a very cool and intimate crawl for only a dozen or so enthusiasts which included a special interactive experience and tasting at the Mob Museum, dinner at Pierro’s hosted by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and a special dessert that followed at The Golden Steer. Fuhgeddaboudit!!! If you are not already familiar with the show’s format, the first of the main tastings took place on Friday evening 4/26 and is known as the High-Roller event. About 100-125 very hardcore aficionados attended this event with the purchase of a hefty fee that will gain them admittance to not only this evening but the next evening as well. Only super high-end drams of ultra-rare whiskies and other aged spirits are offered during Friday’s night’s exclusive tasting, with no limit as long as stock remains. Simply put, there really isn’t another forum in North America that will provide you with this kind of tasting experience and one-on-one interaction with the whisky celebrities. There were just way too many highlights to name this year, but the one pour that stole the show for me was the independently-labeled Crabbie 40-year-old single malt Scotch, which was from an undisclosed Speyside distillery aged in

both ex-Bourbon casks and ex-Spanish Oloroso sherry butts. We also got to sample the newlyreleased and super rare MaCallan M Black using some very old stocks that were made from peated maltings as old as 70 years of age in the vatting (only 800 released worldwide). Other amazing standouts were the Chivas Regal 62 Royal Gun Salute, Craigallachie 23 and 33 year and Gordon & MacPhail single malts (practically, every one of them) just to name a few. The Grand Tasting, which was held the next evening, was included with the purchase of the High-Roller ticket package or could be purchased on its own under the Connoisseur ticket price. This evening hosted between 400-450 spirits fanatics and featured quite a few more distilleries pouring their mainstay offerings, including some magnificent craft distilleries such as Park City, UT-based Alpine Distillers, Garrison Brothers Bourbon based in Hye, TX and Woody Creek Distillers located in Basalt, CO just to name a few. Also, everyone who attended were given two tickets in their bag that they could redeem for any of the ultra-rare high pours from the evening prior (if available). Attendance was strong once again this year. But, even more impressive was the growing number of female consumers in attendance this year! As usual, I have way too much information to provide and just not enough column space to fit it all! So, I will leave you with this. Mahesh has already promised me that next year’s 10th showing of the Nth will be something truly special and not to be missed ... Not that for a second I was ever actually contemplating whether to attend. So, hopefully, I will see you all at the end of April 2020 at next year’s show. For more information please feel free to go to ~ Cheers!

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7


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


Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group’s new show “R.U.N.” will open at the Luxor Oct. 24 and be the company’s first live action cinematic thriller following two clans and exploring the world of stunts. Paula Abdul will headline her new Las Vegas residency “Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl” at the Flamingo with dates Aug. 13 through Jan. 4. British music icons Duran Duran will return to The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan for two nights Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7–8. Future mega-stars lined up for The Colosseum at Caesars Palace include: Sting headlining a residency, “My Songs,” opening on Friday, May 22, 2020; rock band Journey with a nine-date engagement Oct. 9-26; and Madonna, who will be announcing her “Madame X” tour stop after her album release June 14. Reggaeton’s leading global ambassador J Balvin’s fall North American tour “Arcoiris” will visit The Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Saturday, Oct. 19 with Puerto Rican music stars Lyanno and Eladio Carrión opening. Future acts at The Joint at Hard Rock include: Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons with their first ever co-headlining tour on Sunday, Oct. 6; as well as Cedric The Entertainer returning Saturday, July 27. Diana Ross will return to the Encore Theater with six performances of her “Diamond Diana” residency Aug. 14–24. “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert” at Harrah’s approaches the superstar’s life and music in a different manner. “Rock of Ages” producers have created a chronological storytelling concert experience with a multi-talented band and backup singers presenting 18 songs. Terry Bradshaw returns with “The Terry Bradshaw Show” at the Luxor in the Atrium Showroom Aug. 1–4 and will be joined on stage by bombshell vocalists Lorena Peril and Anne Martinez from the resort’s resident show “Fantasy.” MAGIC! quartet will appear with an all-ages show in The Toyota Yard at Topgolf Saturday, June 29. The band toured with Maroon 5 over the past five years.

Golden Nugget debuts a new monthly summer pool party, Honky Tonk at The Tank, with local country rockers The Rhyolite Sound through September. Comedian Mo’Nique continues her residency “Mo’Nique Does Vegas” at SLS with more Thursday-Saturday dates in June inside The Sayers Club. “The Naked Magicians,” who began their first Las Vegas residency in February inside Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand, are continuing through June. Heavy metal band Judas Priest will stop at The Joint at Hard Rock on his “Firepower” tour Yelp named Oak & Ivy in Container Park “#2 Whiskey Bar in the U.S.” Saturday, June 29. The Broken Yolk Cafe opened its first Las Vegas location at Town Square with hours daily 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hank’s Fine Steaks & Martinis inside Green Valley Ranch Resort is now officially certified and serving Kobe Beef. Smoked Burgers & BBQ at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace launched the Strip’s first AllYou-Can-Eat BBQ available daily at 11:30 a.m. Established in 2014, CraftHaus Brewery is constructing a secondary tasting room in the Arts District downtown. Acrobatic equestrian production “Gladius The Show” will stop at South Point Arena and Equestrian Center Sunday, July 21 with 1 and 5 p.m. performances. Comedian Sinbad will headline the Grand Events Center inside Green Valley Ranch Friday, July 5. Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at The LINQ Promenade opened last month. The Super Summer Theatre held at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park returns for its 44th year with productions including: “Into the Woods,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Chicago,” “Annie” and “Noises Off.”


The new two-story Smith & Wollensky steakhouse opened inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. Hakkasan Restaurant at the MGM Grand launched the new concept “All That and Dim Sun” 10 p.m. dinner happening every Thursday with a specialty menu. Kids Eat Free under age 10 at House of Blues Restaurant & Bar in Mandalay Bay July 2– Aug. 31 from 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. daily with the purchase of an adult entrée. In late July, James Beard Award-winner Bricia Lopez will celebrate the culture and spirit of Oaxaca with the debut of Mama Rabbit Bar at Park MGM.

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Lucky Dragon, shuttered since last year, has a new owner planning to change the boutique resort’s name, reopen it as a nongaming hotel and turn the casino building into conference space. The Mob Museum’s newest artifact in The Underground, Prohibition exhibition, is a phone booth from the Four Deuces, which served as the Chicago Outfit’s headquarters. The STRAT unveiled a stainless-steel sculpture titled “LOOK!” comprised of three ascending figures at the main entrance. The Welcome to Las Vegas famous sign is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Jon Bon Jovi and son signed their names below the recently added caricatures on the wall at The Palm inside The Forum Shops at Caesars. Dr. Fred Sigman is author of Motel Vegas mapping out the rise and fall of Las Vegas’ vibrant and historic motels. Will Roger, cultural co-founder of Burning Man’s aerial and drone photography, has a new book Compass of the Ephemeral with written essays by central figures. The Burlesque Hall of Fame provides free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families through Monday, Sept. 2, Labor Day. Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp will culminate in a live performance with Lou Gramm (Foreigner) at Vinyl on Saturday, June 29.

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

By Sk Delph

Sake Level One Class at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada

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

Photo courtesy Sk Delph

Jessica's background is food and beverage and after finishing college in the industry, she moved to Las Vegas in 2010. “I started taking wine classes for fun and ended up falling into the business by way of an incredible teacher who saw something in me. She pushed me into my first wine job, junior sommelier at N9NE Steakhouse. I quickly moved up and became the head sommelier at Nove Italiano, as well as acting general manager. A couple years later I was recruited to become a sommelier for the Grand Award-winning wine list at Aureole Las Vegas. A little over a year later I was granted the opportunity to work with one of the best mentors in the industry and became a sommelier at Gordon Ramsay Steak. I passed my Advanced Sommelier exam with the highest score, earning the Rudd Scholarship fast tracking my path to becoming a Master Sommelier. In 2016 I was courted by SGWS to become a member of their team as the Assistant Director of Wine Education.” Jessica Waugh

Jessica Waugh, the Assistant Director of Wine Education at Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits and instructor of Sake Level One, is serious about sake. Her sake introduction seminar, held at the Southern Glazer’s Academy, is fastpaced, informative and completely immersed in Japanese culture and the tradition of sake making. We listened mesmerized as Jessica described, in detail, every step of the sake making process from the distribution of Koji-kin (mold spores) through the fermentation process to the final product. “The attention to detail that goes into making this unique beverage was what stood out most to me,” Jessica told us. “It is a very laborious process and the attention to detail required to produce high quality sake is absolutely fascinating!” We tried twenty different pours of sake using a systematic approach to tasting that included appearance, nose and palate. The aroma and flavors of sake can range from banana and fig to honeydew melon and anise to cherry blossoms, and even further to cereals and grains, butter, yogurt and cheeses. There are even hints of coffee, honey and almond to name just a few. I enjoyed tasting every single one. Jessica talked about going to Japan and watching the process herself. “Sake is made differently than any other beverage in the world!” Jessica explained, and that was an understatement. Even our lunch break (an amazing bento box delivered by Naked Fish) was educational. We watched a film of sake craftsmen making sake. At one stage

they ran their fingers through the Koji rice like Buddhist monks in a Zen garden making perfect wave patterns to allow for optimal aeration. It was beautiful to watch. Everything about the fermentation process is exact in measurement, as well as time, from the number of days to hours and minutes and in some cases to the exact number of seconds. That o-choko and tokkuri (or Japanese sake set) filled with sake represents six months of hard labor and tender loving care. It's a cause for celebration. I asked Jessica why she had decided to specialize in sake? “It's actually a funny story: I was in a wine competition in 2012 and during the service portion of the competition we had four tables to attend. One of the tables strictly focused on sake and at the time I didn’t even know one producer of sake, so when asked what do I recommend, I replied back, ‘I apologize but we do not carry sake at this restaurant,’ and the judges looked at me with pure wonderment. My critique at the end of the competition was to work on my sake knowledge. Being someone that doesn’t like to fail or come up short, I made a challenge for myself to learn and understand this unique beverage, and now I am honored to open others' eyes up to how beautiful the world of sake is.” Jessica grew up in Colorado and graduated with a degree in Architecture. “I am certified residentially in architecture and designed one house before realizing the industry wasn’t for me.”

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Her qualifications are extensive: WSET Educator; Wine Scholar Guild Educator; Master Sommelier Candidate; French Wine Scholar; Italian Wine Professional; Certified Beer Server; and most important to this class, Advanced Sake Professional. That's an impressive list of credentials. In Jessica's words: “The world of Sake can seem daunting and hard to break into. I know it was for me! In 2018 I created the SGWS Academy of Sake and Fine Service to help break down the process of sake into easy-to-understand steps and open more eyes to this unique beverage. My goal and hope is to open as many eyes to this fascinating world as possible.” Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada offers a variety of classes for industry professionals on an assortment of topics, conducted in its state-ofthe-art Academy room. For more info, visit:

Front & Back of the House

photo courtesy Boka Group

A Passion for the Imagination

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

Where do you find new ideas for decorative tiles, carpeting, fabrics, bar furniture and more? At HDexpo, the design trade show hosted by Hospitality Design magazine. This year lighting is huge (or small depending on your needs) and comes in every color, shape and material imaginable. Anything green (living plant walls and light fixtures/plant containers) or relating to the outdoors was also trending with innumerable booths featuring fun outdoor furniture, planters and shading, plus the more practical heaters and fans. Wall coverings were also big, dominated by textured wallpaper and mural walls that take one into mythical regions. Beyond the trade show floor, there were presentations from design industry experts with one of special interest titled: “Recipe for Success: The Making of a Great Restaurant.” This panel discussion was moderated by Kevin Boehm, co-founder of BOKA Restaurant Group (BRG) out of Chicago. Kevin, and cofounder Rob Katz (also on the panel), opened 16 restaurants in the Chicago area in less than 15 years. In 2019, together they won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurateur.” They have Michelin stars, other James Beard nominations and wins, and many, many other recognitions for their achievements. Also on the panel were designers Karen Harold, principal of Studio K Creative (MB Steak at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, La Cave at Wynn Las Vegas and Crush at MGM Grand); Adam Farmerie, partner at AvroKO (Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and Block 16 Urban Food Hall, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas); and Jimmy Papadoupoulas, executive chef at Bellemore, a BRG restaurant in Chicago.

One of the main concepts was that imagining a restaurant required a “deep dive” into story and soul. The location, the building itself, and even the chef’s style of food, should start designers and investors alike on a hunt for images, historical references, themes and ideas. Through many discussions, a storyline that resonates with everyone slowly emerges and tangible design concepting can begin. For Herold, part of that process may include “looking at the classics and twisting it up a bit.” She also likens the process to set design, seeing in her mind’s eye people moving through the spaces. Boehm suggested that in the past food was the predominant ingredient for a successful restaurant followed by service and décor. He now believes that these three items attract customers equally, and that possibly décor—read that as ambience—is growing in importance. Katz added that he wanted people to visit one of their restaurants four, five, six times with the hope that they would see something new and different each time they visited. Boehm and his team at BRG have established a ritual that takes place prior to the opening of a restaurant. They place a table in the middle of the space, and throughout a multi-day period of time, everyone working in the restaurant must serve those at the table, speaking in theater voices so all of the employees can hear. This way, they start creating the language, the culture of the restaurant. For example, he said that in one of their early restaurants, they were serving food family style, and didn’t really know how to describe that. One of the waitstaff, during his time to serve, described

it as, “the food comes out in waves.” Waves! That phrasing appealed to everyone and that became the accepted way to describe the restaurant’s style of service. They talked about expectations that people get from the initial designs of a restaurant space and then having to grapple with the costs. Katz, looking at the designers to his left said, “They show us our dreams, and then rip our hearts out.” During one project, the design/construction team kept putting off the “big reveal” for BRG. When it finally came, there was no wow factor. Even though a date for opening had been announced, and staff was hired and in training, Boehm and Katz stopped the finishing processes. They redid more than 20% of the interior, because as Katz said, “You only have one chance to fire the opening canon, and we couldn’t open a restaurant that just didn’t work.” Finally, Herold shared that one of her initial processes when designing a building is to create a “Not to Do” list. This may include something like “do not use recycled barn wood,” which is one of her standards. She does this to help ensure that each project is new and fresh, and not just a remake of something she has designed in the past. All of the participants in this panel were passionate about their work, even after completing hundreds of projects. It spoke to the passion of many in the hospitality industry for creating what they imagine.

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 11

By Bob Barnes

What’s Cooking

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

Zipline and Lunch at The LINQ

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Photos courtesy of Maxie’s and by Dick Palcic

Admittedly I’m not much of a daredevil or adventure seeker, so it was with some trepidation that I accepted an offer to check out the new FLY LINQ zipline at The LINQ Promenade (the only zipline on the Vegas Strip), but was quite glad I did. Being the scaredy-cat that I am, I opted out of the superhero and went with the seated position. In all seriousness, the scariest part of the experience was the anticipation and elevator ride 12 stories up to the 114-foot-tall launch tower situated at the Strip end of the Promenade. The ride itself, traveling 1,121 feet through The LINQ Promenade was quite comfortable and while exhilarating, not more than I could handle and the zipline operators were extremely friendly and reassuring. The ride lasts about a minute and transports you from the Strip end of the Promenade to near the base of the High Roller on the opposite side. After exiting the zipline you are only a few steps away from Maxie’s, the newest restaurant within the Promenade. This replacement for Cantor’s deli is named for the owner’s mother, and features an assortment of breakfast entrees, deli sandwiches, salads and over-thetop milkshakes. You can find your inner child here with options of Cotton Candy Pancakes, Fruity Pebbles French Toast, Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes, The Fruit Loop cereal milkshake and tabletops decorated with board games like Candyland, Chutes & Ladders and Monopoly. The aforementioned milkshakes are well worth showing up for and I opted to live like a king and enjoyed the Elvis Loves Bananas with things the King enjoyed: peanut butter with banana, chocolate Coco Pebbles cereal, chocolate syrup and caramel. We rode the zipline before lunch so we wouldn’t lose it on the ride, but I now realize doing so was not necessary and you can now count me as a fan of soaring through the sky attached securely to a system of wires and pulleys.

Few restaurants are able to stay open in the same place for two decades, especially in Las Vegas, but one that has stood the test of time to the point of becoming iconic to The Venetian resort is Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse, which just commemorated its 20th anniversary. We met with the chef that has been in the kitchen for several of those 20 years and now holds the title of chef de cuisine, the charming and talented Ronnie Rainwater. Chef Ronnie’s first day was June 7, 1999, a month after the restaurant had opened, starting as a line cook and working his way up through the ranks to sous chef a year and a half later. After moving to Atlanta to open a restaurant for Emeril in 2003, in 2005 he came back to Las Vegas to head Table 10 as executive chef and 7 years ago became Delmonico’s chef de cuisine. When asked what his favorite menu items are Chef describes himself as a bit of a meathead, so he always likes steak. He also lists some of the more unique items, including smoked applecured Kurobuta pork bone-in bacon and a rabbit sausage dish rolled like a porchetta, both of which are currently on the menu; and the daily specials that he and his sous chefs create. While there have not been wholesale changes to the original menu, Chef shared that the very popular truffle potato chips have become a crowd favorite. Additionally, steak options have expanded, including a 100% pure Japanese A4 wagyu (in options of ribeye or filet mignon), which is similar to the A5 but has less fat; and like all of the steaks, are aged in the restaurant’s own meat-aging room, with both wet- and dry-aging. Two staples that you will find on the menu at Delmonico, as well as every Emeril’s restaurant, are the New Orleans BBQ shrimp and the massive classic banana cream pie with caramel sauce, chocolate shavings and whipped cream. Another change the restaurant has seen is its greatly expanded whiskey list, which Chef says began growing after Max Solano started there, and credits Max with cultivating the list that grew to more than 700 choices. Max is now a principal mixologist with Southern Glazer’s and also writes the Spirits Confidential column in this magazine, but thankfully the whiskey bible he created still lives on. Thinking about reasons for Delmonico’s longevity and success and to his satisfaction in his chef de cuisine position, Chef Ronnie commented…“the legacy of this restaurant at The Venetian, familiar food people can count on, 20 years of repeat customers, our local clientele and that Emeril allows us creative freedom for our daily specials and seasonal menus.” Longevity of the staff is prevalent too, with six members that have been on staff since day one, the executive sous chef recently celebrating 13 years and most other staff ranging from 3-18 years and averaging 5-8 years. During its two decades in Restaurant Row at The Venetian, Delmonico Steakhouse has earned numerous accolades, including being a "Grand Award" recipient of Wine Spectator magazine since 2004, named a "four-star restaurant" by Forbes Travel and a "Top 5 Steakhouse in the Nation" by National CitySearch. Congrats to Emeril, The Venetian and Chef Ronnie Rainwater for presenting such a tremendous dining experience to their clientele day after day—one that has stood the test of time and is considered as one of the best of the best in a city that demands superior quality. Here’s to another 20 years of excellence.

photos courtesy Delmonico Steakhouse

Delmonico Steakhouse Commemorates 20th Anniversary

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Twinkle Toast Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz

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

A voyage into a new category of wine spritz has begun for the crew of Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz. We recently caught up with one of its creators, BJ McCaslin, and he shared with us his vision, tactics and passion for growing this innovative new brand. What was the catalyst or inspiration for the creation of Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz? We really liked the wave of convenience in the low ABV space and ultimately, we can only drink so many Coronas. Hard seltzers and non-alcoholic sparkling waters are really trending in the market and although the category is crowded, consumers continue to want options. We also noticed that no one is really using rosé in an innovative fashion. We love flavors and always want to have a unique offering when we bring a brand to life, so we took our love of juices and bubbles and then decided that rosé was a unique base for them. It has been about 18 months in the making. How did you determine where to source the ingredients for Rosé Spritz? We are beverage innovators by trade, so we teamed up with our favorite food scientists on the formula. We kind of stumbled onto the actual formula, so that was pretty fun. Since we are located on the west coast, we stuck with a California rosé as the base. The one aspect we wanted to be super premium is our sweetener, so elected to use monk fruit for that. photo by

Who do you consider to be your target consumer? I think anyone between the ages of 21-50 who is active and likes to have a good time. Our can is pink, so it gives us a more feminine offering from the onset but I see men diving into the “pink ocean” as well. How has your background in food and beverage prepared you for this new venture? Nothing can really prepare you for launching a brand in wine and spirits. It has really been our relationships that have been the catalyst to open the channels of distribution. We are blessed to have really good friends we can ask for introductions and then it really boils down to two things: hitting the streets to see at least 15 accounts a day and bringing the liquid to lips. Being able to take “no” and move on from account to account with enthusiasm is also key. What do you feel has been the most challenging thing about creating a new brand? The greatest challenge is capital. Beverages are easy to launch because of the low barrier of entry but they are hard to maintain. We are good at hustling and macerating the brand but we didn’t go to Harvard, so doing things like creating financial models or interviewing investors can be difficult. Ultimately, we are committed to staying bootstrapped. I like that term because I feel like my journey as an entrepreneur is similar to a pirate’s voyage. (You’ll find that everything to me has some sort of private analogy.) What has been the most exciting or rewarding thing? The most exciting thing is finally having a good brand after a few years of importing and experimenting with different lines. This is our third concept within the same company, so to have a line like Rosé Bubbles, that we know has legs, is very, very nice. Approximately how many calories and how much sugar does each can contain? 95 calories and 5 grams of sugar. No added sugar is added. It is all naturally occurring from the juice. We use a touch of monk fruit to sweeten it but not much. We want it to have a juicy but dry finish. 14 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

What are your current flavors and how did you select them? Watermelon, strawberry, orange and pineapple. We looked at the best fruits out there as well as what we usually eat with wine or end up putting in the glass whilst we drink wine. One day Drew, our business partner, came up with the watermelon flavor out of nowhere and it is currently the bestselling flavor in the line. Are you working on developing any additional flavors or formats? Yes. We will do a non-juice spritz next. We always want to have a few new flavors but these four are the starters on the field and I don’t really think we need 12 SKUs. We might expand to 6 maximum. Where do you feel is the perfect place or occasion to enjoy a Rosé Spritz? Anywhere that convenience and activity meet. On the patio, roof, a game, golfing, at a pool, camping, etc... Where do you see Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz in 5 years? Hopefully we will still be sailing the seas on this voyage. We would love to see the brand in the beyond beer category as a top 5 contributor. We have some great distribution that we are about to launch nationally, so we hope to keep the wind at our backs and stay positive while getting more liquid to lips daily. Who should our audience reach out to for additional information? Feel free to reach out to me at

Juan Vazquez Juan Vazquez likes to stay put. While plenty of chefs moved from one kitchen to the next early in their careers— and even later in their careers—Vazquez has made a habit of spending nearly a decade at each stop of his career. Now the executive chef at Tuscany Suites & Casino, Vazquez has guided new menus at the property’s restaurants, like Pub 365. Vazquez draws on a lifelong affinity for food, dating back to watching his mother and grandmother cooking in the kitchen, along with a family pedigree in the restaurant industry. How’d you get into cooking? I started when I was17 years old at Landry’s Seafood House and started from the bottom, dishwasher. After that, the chef there gave me an opportunity, starting on the line cooking. But everything started with my grandma and my mom. I used to like standing in the kitchen and see them cooking Mexican food. My mom said, “You know what? You’ll like the kitchen.” She was not lying. Your mom and grandma were a big influence; what about other family members? My grandpa, on my mother’s side, was a sous chef. He was in the Mexican navy, and used to cook a lot for the sailors. So I think I was going to inherently like the kitchen. And one of my cousins was an executive chef in Mexico City. Was Landry’s because it was a career option or you needed money? I was in school and was working part time in the afternoon after I was done with school. The reason I went to work was definitely the passion so I could work in the kitchen, and a little bit for the money. I definitely didn’t want to be a dishwasher all my life, so I was watching the cooks. I liked cooking, so I jumped to prepping and learning as much as I could. There were times I worked for free, just so I could stay a little bit and watch the cooks. So you just wanted to cook? That was my main thing. I just start watching the guys cooking and knew I liked this, I wanted something like this. I learned everything on my own, and learned everything by working in the kitchen. Do you draw on your family lineage for inspiration, or where does it come from? I’ve worked at a couple restaurants, American food and the last job I had, worked a little bit with French cuisine, and I like French cuisine. I make things a little bit American, Mexican, French. Anything in the kitchen, I like it. Where has your career taken you? I worked at Landry’s for eight years. I don’t move a lot to different places because I like to stay in one place a long time. I used to work in a couple restaurants, a Lone Star, the steakhouse, just a small franchise for part time, to learn more. Then I went to the Wynn and I was a sous chef there for six or seven years, then after that, one of the sous chefs got a job there at Caesars and took me there. Then I stayed there for seven years. I don’t like moving around a lot. Would you recommend that? I would say yes, I think stay in one place and do the best to work hard. A boss sees that I’m working hard and stays with me. You believe it’s hard to find loyal workers then? Very hard, and it’s very hard to find somebody that will stay and work hard. Especially at the big casinos, the cooks stay there, you get the benefits, but the chefs seem to like to move.

Twitter: @patevans Instagram: @patrickmevans

photo courtesy Juan Vazquez

Chef Spotlight

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

You’ve worked on the Strip, but off now; do you like it? This place where I work right now, it’s more quiet, more family style. There are more locals and it’s different than big casinos. This place, it’s good. I like working here and have been here for two years. There is one owner and he’s nice. He knows I work hard and seems to be happy with my work. Being in the corporate life is so different and it can be hard to stay in those environments because there’s a lot of people you’re reporting to, so here it’s more relaxing. But it’s still a lot of work too. What do you want in your career? I’m 38 years old and one of the things I want, in my mind, is to show my kids that nothing is impossible if you do something you love. I want to be one of the executive chefs where people know my name by my work. June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 15

It’s Summer

Take a Dive into Hampton Water! By Gael Hees

Photo by Jerritt Clark | Courtesy Hampton Water

It’s like a fairy tale. Developing a new wine brand from concept to bottling in 18 months. Receiving a Wine Spectator rating of 90 for the first vintage in 2017 and being the first rosé to ever be listed in the magazine’s top 100 wines of the year. And like all good fairy tales, this one has a backstory and even an element of learning and instruction. Although no dragons were slain, or ogres won over by kindness, this is a story of family memories, traditions and friendship. It is about creating longstanding relationships and developing a product of value and merit through hard work, creativity, energetic drive and a business-building dose of naiveté. Jesse Bongiovi and his roommate at Notre Dame, Ali Thomas, spent much of the summer prior to their senior year at Jesse’s family home in the Hamptons. They were enjoying their last summer of freedom. As summer wore on, they affectionately started calling the ubiquitous rosé—served at every party or gathering— “Hampton Water,” in honor of a saying on the East End of Long Island that rosé is the water of the Hamptons. One evening, rocker Jon Bon Jovi, Jesse’s dad, offered them a glass of rosé or “pink juice” as he (and many others) referred to it. Bongiovi called him out. “Listen Dad, you’re

sitting in the Hamptons, you’re drinking Hampton Water!” Bon Jovi thought that was hilarious and wondered aloud what people would think if someone put that on a bottle of wine. After much talk, imagining, dreaming and haranguing, Bon Jovi said, “You two figure it out, and if you’re serious, you’ll bring something back to me.” For the next six months, while in school, Bongiovi and Thomas met with anyone related to the wine industry who would give them the time. Like typical college students, they had certainly raised a glass or two, but had almost no knowledge of, or vocabulary for, the world of wine. They talked to liquor store owners, wine distributors, importers and wine makers. As a vision of what this could look like started to grow, they put together a business plan, designed the label and bottle and developed an entire marketing strategy. In their minds, they wanted this wine to really reflect the nature of the Hamptons—the summers spent there with family members and friends; the water, and sun, and sand; the activities they shared with buddies on the beach; and the feelings of comfort and safety that come from living in a small community. The next step was inevitable. With Bon Jovi’s support, they started looking for a vintner. Through mutual friends, the team was introduced

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to Gerard Bertrand, a winemaker in Languedoc, France with many brands and types of wine to his credit—including rosés. He has almost 40 years of wine-blending experience and owns multiple estates with different terroirs, making his blends some of the best in the world. When the opportunity was presented, Bertrand was cautious. “I was careful to assure that this wine wouldn’t just be a big commercial brand,” he said. For him, it had to be an exemplary wine within its category. During the early discussions, Bertrand suggested several ways he could be of help. If he liked the idea, after more discussions, he could be their importer or their supplier. However, as the relationship developed and trust grew on both sides, he became a full partner with his name on the label. When it came down to actually creating the wine, the conversations centered around the types of rosés that they liked. Bon Jovi had always been a domina drinker and claims that he brought rosés to the United States (his son is not sure he believes this). Bongiovi and Thomas liked rosés with great red berry notes and peach and pear. Eventually, they came up with a taste profile: light; crisp, very fresh; dry; fruit forward. Another item of importance to the young men

Photo courtesy Hampton Water

was low acidity. They had observed that some of the less expensive rosés were very acidic and often didn’t leave a person feeling well by the end of an evening The team worked with Bertrand for a week in a lab-like setting tasting, talking and working to develop a taste that everyone agreed upon. “So much of winemaking is an art and having an amazing palate, but there is so much of it that is also a science,” Bongiovi said. “By the last day, we were in a white room with eyedroppers and test tubes putting one drop of a certain varietal into a blend that we had come up with and adding three drops to another test tube of the blend and asking, ‘which one do you like more?’ Literally one eyedropper of the varietal would dramatically change the taste of the wine.” And then they had it! The blueprint for Hampton Water was created. When Thomas and Bongiovi realized this was really going to happen, they both quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the business full time. “We literally shot this thing off the ground and quit our jobs the next day,” said Bongiovi. Thomas had graduated from Notre Dame with a major in consulting and was working in commercial real estate finance. Bongiovi had a major in political science and a minor in business economics and was working for a startup company, making cold calls. “My mom was a lot happier about it than his, because he had a lot more serious job than I did,” said Bongiovi. “It all worked out in the end. She’s very happy with it now,” he continued, “but for a while there were some late-night calls with her saying, ‘now let me get this straight again, you quit your job to do what?’” When it came time to actually preparing the label, there were a few more decisions to be made. Thomas and Bongiovi had designed the label using a diving figure from Google Images with the concept that she is diving from water into wine. They pictured shrink wrapping the bottle with the top half white and the bottom half clear, revealing the color of the wine. The shrink wrap didn’t happen. “When we went to work with the French production team, they basically shook their heads at us and said, ‘You stupid Americans, you guys don’t know how to make a bottle of wine,’” said Bongiovi. “They quickly educated us to the challenges of using plastic on a glass bottle and how it changes the color.” However, the original image is on the label as well as a letter, penned by Bongiovi late at night that reads in part, “Dearest friends, you’ve just picked up your new favorite bottle of wine.” Bongiovi said that it was the company’s mission letter designed to, “invite people into the Hampton lifestyle that revolves around good weather, good friends, good music and sharing a good bottle of wine.” Finally, with bottles in hand, Bongiovi and Thomas began selling Hampton Water.

One of the first restaurants that adopted the wine was with the Altamarea Group headed by Michael White. We walked in and said, “Hey what’s up?” said Bongiovi. “We’re Jesse and Ali. Want to try a new bottle of wine? And they were like, ‘who in the hell are you two?’” But the casual friendliness of the two young men won out, and the wine was tried, and enjoyed. The wine director got into it, and suddenly Hampton Water was being introduced in a two-star Michelin restaurant. This success—and the Wine Spectator rating— helped open other doors and quickly Hampton Water could be found in restaurants in the Four Seasons in New York, The Plaza in Manhattan and the Fountainbleu in Miami. People were drinking—and enjoying—Hampton Water. Las Vegas was among the first markets that the sales team considered. They realized that anyone visiting Las Vegas would be an ambassador for Hampton Water when they returned to their homes. Their first contact was Allan Carter, executive director of sales, fine wines at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada. Carter was impressed: “Their enthusiasm was so infectious, it immediately made me want to work hard for them,” he said. Carter also said that the timing was right. He explained that Las Vegas is behind the rest of the country in relation to rosés, because people visit Vegas and want a bigger taste, perhaps a big cabernet and a steak, than the rosés and other lighter wines they may have been drinking at home. However, in the past two years, rosé sales have picked up substantially in the Vegas Valley. Not only were Bongiovi and Thomas involved, Bongiovi’s father participated in special events

and promotions, even signing the bottles in 20 cases of Hampton Water to use as giveaways. Bongiovi and Thomas have since spent a lot of time in Vegas, visiting restaurants and liquor stores, promoting Hampton Water. “We want our wine to be served where people want to be,” said Bongiovi. Carter has enjoyed watching the three men work together, and seeing the pride and pure pleasure they take in their work. “These people really understand that it is about creating relationships, especially here in Las Vegas,” he said. “As young as they are (Bongiovi and Thomas), it’s amazing that they get that.” He also speaks to their marketing skills. “Everyone is trying to figure out how to market to millennials—they ARE millennials. They speak that language and the way they present the wine, their social media, it’s all right on.” You are invited to Dive into Hampton Water and try this “nicely crafted rosé, with a hint of creamy richness lining the strawberry, melon and white cherry flavors. A dash of minerality imparts depth through the long, mouthwatering finish. A crowdpleaser (Wine Spectator).” Currently Hampton Water is available in Las Vegas at Rosina Bar and Smith & Wollensky at The Venetian, The Unknown Bar (shark bar) at The Palms, Tableau and Jardin at Wynn, The Palm Restaurant at Caesars Forum Shops, Marche Bacchus and numerous others. For more info visit https://hamptonwaterwine. com or to inquire about purchasing Hampton Water for your bar or restaurant contact Allan Carter at

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DISHING IT with Sk Delph

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

photos by Daniel Clough & Hew Burney

Vegas UnStripped Second Helping

By Sk Delph

On May 11th Eric Gladstone of The Feast of Friends, and Erica Bell of I Make You Look Good Productions (IMYLG) hosted Vegas UnStripped, a gathering of nineteen local chefs, to share their culinary prowess with Las Vegas locals and visitors alike in the Arts District downtown. “You won't find a better party than Vegas UnStripped anywhere in Las Vegas!” ~ Chef Brian Howard, Sparrow + Wolf There's a mantra in the air at Vegas UnStripped with a healing message: As any of the chefs here tonight will explain, working ‘off-the-Strip’ may not receive the same attention as ‘on-the-Strip’ and not enough visitors or locals, for that matter, are aware of the outstanding ‘off-Strip’ restaurants Las Vegas has to offer. Their collective mission is to change that. “WITHOUT Eric Gladstone, all of this wouldn't be possible!” ~ Chef James Trees, Esther's Kitchen Chef Trees expressed his gratitude after hosting some 600 people in the backyard of Esther's Kitchen for a hometown food festival, proclaiming they would never be where they are today without our locals. I asked Chef Trees how being 'off-the-Strip' makes his restaurant stand out. “It's our ability to make our own decisions based on what we feel is best ... sometimes putting people before profits,” he said. “We have a great time taking care of our neighborhood and all of its residents.” These are heartfelt sentiments. Chef Ralph Perrazzo of bBd's takes honor in being off-Strip. “We pride ourselves on the immaculate focus of quality product, as opposed to cost and other decision-making factors prevalent in the on-Strip restaurant scene,” he said. “Our personal relationships with breweries have allowed us to serve some of the highest quality, exclusive and hard-to-find craft beers in the country. Being off-Strip allows us to be independent and have control over every aspect of our concept.” Chef Perrazzo is passionate. “Food brings people together … one of the many reasons why I love being a chef." Another passion is butchering: bBd’s has a world-class butcher room where they break down and process all of the prime beef and proteins served in the restaurant. Chef Jamie Tran of Black Sheep speaks with compassion. “I always wanted to open a restaurant where I can give opportunity to people who have been considered the underdog. I was myself always the underdog.” Her 18 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

dedication is strong. “From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, all I think about is how I can make a dish better than the next. How can I push myself to create a memory for my guests through my food? As chef, our dishes are an expression of ourselves.” Her message is, “To any future chef out there: Don't be afraid of taking risk. Know your worth and just go for your dreams.” Chef Tran, you're an inspiration! Chopped winner, Chef Johnny Church, is all about Vegas. “I'm doing consulting and will be opening my own restaurant.” Chef, we’re looking forward to it! Eight bars were also in attendance. Christina Dylag, owner of Velveteen Rabbit said, “I’m all about challenging the social norms … Velveteen Rabbit, for me, was a space designed for freedom of expression.” I adored their mezcal treat called “Butcherette,” which is named lovingly after the female-fronted Mexican garage punk band, Le Butcherettes. Vegas UnStripped partnered with Caridad, a nonprofit organization whose vision is to end unsheltered homelessness. It's part of tonight's healing mantra. I spoke to Merideth Spriggs, the founder of Caridad, and learned some things that may surprise you. Merideth was the most unlikely person to become homeless. In 2004, she received a Masters of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary. Then, in October of 2008, she tragically found herself living out of her car. “If it could happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” she proclaimed without fear of prejudice. Merideth conveyed honest compassion and an ability to bring back one's sense of dignity. I came away with the lingering glow of having spent time with someone truly special. The sellout crowd was treated to a smorgasbord of delights from all nineteen chefs. The open pit fires, brazier barbecues, blow torches and open ice displays—every detail on the offerings—was remarkably vivid. Chef Trees offered a Gnocco Fritto (a hollow fried dough) with a saffron burrata, dungeness crab, caviar and chives. Chef Jamie Tran served Ahi Tuna Crudo with shaved black radish, crispy lotus chips, horseradish cream, ponzu gelée and finished with a tangerine gazpacho. I wish I could describe every chef's dish, but I can tell you this: There was escargot, quail, ostrich tenderloins, roasted lamb and seared foie gras to name just some of the exotic fare. If you missed it this year, there will be a round three!

By Chef Allen Asch

Chef Talk Butter Last month I started my article saying that I wanted to write about butter, but I didn’t even reach butter, because there’s so much about milk which is used to make cream, which is used to make butter. Butter comes in many forms for both the commercial kitchens as well as home kitchens. Some of the variables are salted versus unsalted and the sizes of containers that are available including a 30 pound block, 1 pound block and 4 oz sticks or butter pats. There are also many variables that change the flavor and color of butter. Some of the differences will change the flavor, color, consistency, saltiness, sweetness and acidity of the butter. Most of those variables will be based on the beta-carotene in the diet of the cow as well as other environmental factors. One great example of that is Irish butter, which has a very different color than any other butter based on the amount of rain that is received, creating more beta-carotene where the cows graze in Ireland. When salted butter was first created in 1850, they used 8 ounces of salt for every 10 pounds of butter, but now the standard is 5 ounces, which helps create longevity in the storage of butter. The reason that salt was introduced into butter was to help preserve it for the wintertime when farmers weren’t able to produce as much milk. In the late 1800s they would soak the butter in pickle brine but usually that created too much salt so it had to be desalted before using. One of the earliest conflicts around butter happened in 1766 at Harvard University. The students protested the food that they were getting was not of good quality. This was a decade before the American Revolution and the economics of our country weren’t in such good shape, so the acquisition of fresh food was difficult. The administrators of Harvard did finally admit they were serving rancid butter. Margarine came about in 1869 in France when Napoleon was worried about the amount of supplies in preparation for going to war with Prussia, so they had to find an alternate for fat. In 2005 the United States produced 1.35 billion pounds of butter in a year and that went up to 1.89 billion in the year 2018. Another big variable in butter is the difference between European butter and butter produced in the United States. In Europe they have laws called Protected Designation of Origin, PDO’s, which controls the content and growth places for certain products. The European butter is required to be made up of at least 82% butterfat, but some of them are up to 85%, as compared to what is produced in the United States which

Feel free to contact Chef Allen with ideas for comments or future articles at Chef Allen Asch M. Ed., CCE is a culinary arts instructor that has earned degrees from Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University and Northern Arizona University. He is currently teaching at UNLV. He earned his Certified Culinary Educator Endorsement from the American Culinary Federation in 2003.

has to be 80% butterfat. This may not seem like a big difference but the mouthfeel of the European butter has a marketable difference. Be aware of American made “European Style” butter because it does not have the laws that make sure that it’s the right fat content. Butter is made by taking heavy cream or whipping cream and overmixing it; the liquid that separates from it is what we buy as buttermilk. The truth is, buttermilk now is mostly made by souring milk rather than from this method because we use more buttermilk than is produced from the butter. General rule for what kind of butter to use is if the recipe is from Europe use European butter because that’s how the recipe was formulated. If the recipe is an American recipe no need to spend the extra money for the European butter because the recipe was designed using American butter. The article that started me thinking about butter claimed in a tasting the two aluminum foil-

wrapped butters were the winners as compared to the parchment paper-wrapped butters. Cheese is another product made from milk. There are many theories on how milk was turned into cheese the first time; the most common story is that nomads were carrying milk in bags made from the stomach lining of cows, which have an enzyme called rennet, and the agitation from traveling made the milk coagulate into curds. The curds are than pressed and 85% of the liquid, called whey, is removed. The whey is usually used for feeding livestock, but it can also be used in food for humans. Cheese in the United States needs to come from either pasteurized milk, or if it’s from unpasteurized milk, also called Raw Milk, can only be sold after being aged for 60 days. The oddest thing I learned was that canned butter is produced, but is mostly sent to places like Alaska because of the extended shelf life.

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By Elaine and Scott Harris

D’Agostino’s Features Outstanding Italian Cuisine with a Long Family History

and yellow colors jump out and draw one’s eyes to the open kitchen, buzzing with activity behind a case of classic Italian meats and cheeses. “I want to think I have a little niche of classic, Old World home-style dishes,” said Chef Thompson. The wine list is affordable and diverse. A bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose jumped off the list and right onto our table signaling a brilliant way to start off the evening. Other nice selections included Justin Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, and many more American selections. For an excellent trip through Italy why not enjoy Bertani Arvedi Amarone, Veneto, Antinori Tignanello, Tuscany or a nice bottle of Pio Cesare Barolo, Piedmont. Prosciutto di parma, fresh mozzarella and stuffed artichoke is the just the thing way to settle in and enjoy the experience. Pasta dishes like Chef’s rigatonialla puttanesca with kalamata olives, capers, garlic, pomodoro and fresh basil will really get your palate jumping. Enjoy a rich spinach & cheese tortellini au gratin tossed in cream and baked with parmigiana reggiano or how about the penne Siciliano, a nicely roasted eggplant with garlic, fresh mozzarella & pomodoro sauce to satisfy your cravings. The chicken marsala is lightly floured and sautéed with fresh mushrooms and finished with Chef’s own marsala sauce, a simplistic yet hearty rendition with meaty mushrooms. A noted star among the fish entrees is a flawlesslyprepared wild-caught Alaskan halibut, very lightly floured and seared with choice of lemon butter or puttanesca sauce and an ideal selection for lighter fare during the hot summer months. Dive into a classic eggplant parmigiana served with choice of sautéed green beans or penne pomodoro and of course, the definitive osso buco. The veal tender braised with red wine served with fettuccine and parmigiana reggiano is an exceptional choice. For the grand FINI, housemade cheesecake served with fresh strawberries or house made tiramisu will certainly please and put a smile upon your face.

photos courtesy Elaine and Scott Harris

Chef Dan Thompson commenced on his culinary career in 2003, working all the way up from dishwasher in catering, building upon his experience to land several other catering positions while gleaning valuable work-life experiences from other trained chefs. He then created goals of leadership positions within the culinary industry and achieved his ambition through dedicated work and long hours. He secured his first restaurant position as a prep cook at Carluccio’s (formerly Liberace’s) Tivoli Gardens Italian Restaurant. As a line cook he humbly began his career on the fryer and hot appetizer station. As an eager employee, he honed his skills mastering every station in the restaurant, yet dreaming of his next career move. Wanting a formal education, he enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and achieved the honor roll. In 2009, he graduated in the top 2% of his graduating class at Le Cordon Blue with honors and was ready to pursue his dream. Still working at Carluccio’s full time, and attending classes 40 hours per week, Dan managed to put in an additional 25 hours per week at the Red Rock Country Club. Within two weeks he was promoted to lead line cook for the private fine dining room in the clubhouse. He then was recruited to the Assistant Chef Position at Siena Golf Club and within a year was promoted to Executive Chef. In 2015 he made another move to Assistant Chef at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino and quickly moved into the Executive Chef position, garnering revenue, respect and resiliency. While at Red Rock Country Club, Dan met his future wife Brandi, who was working the same shift as a server in the private dining room. Dan and Brandi married in 2017 and shared the common goal of someday having their own restaurant. Often their dream appeared tenuous, but they never lost the vision and the drive to pursue their own business. In a twist of fate, Dan’s brother Donny, who had maintained a banking relationship with Peggy and Piero Broglia for nearly 18 years, approached Dan and Brandi with the prospect of purchasing Café Chloe from the Broglias, who were ready to retire. Dan and Brandi Thompson purchased Café Chloe and began to live their dream in 2018 and continue to offer Chef Piero’s classic recipes, slowly introducing great new dishes from Chef Dan’s traditional family recipes and dishes he has created over the course of his career. Upon walking in to D’Agostino’s Trattoria, guests feel warm and invited as traditional Italian aromas beckon them to their seats. Red

Elaine and Scott Harris are full time journalists for over a decade covering resorts, spas, fine dining, wine, spirits and luxury travel. The husband and wife writing duo are sommeliers through the Court of Master Sommeliers and their work has appeared in the LA Times, Travel and Leisure, Google Travel, Modern Luxury, French Quarter Magazine in France and Monaco and Lausanne Tourism City Guide. Visit their website at to read articles and view over 400 videos featuring celebrity chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and Food Network stars.

D’Agostino’s is an Italian restaurant in every respect: warm, comfortable and convivial. Dan and Brandi’s years of hospitality and skill are lovingly presented in each dish. D’Agostino’s feels like family from the time you take your seat, featuring a menu that will keep you coming back for more.

20 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

The Restaurant Coach

By Fred Langley

Try this System to Shave Five Points

Fred Langley is the director of operations and a restaurant coach for He leads the company’s consulting services, coaching members, conducting seminars and overseeing the training and technical support team for the company’s restaurant management software, SMART Systems Pro. To learn more, visit

assuming your target is a 27 percent budget, instead of the above scenario, you would have delegated a budget of $5,400 to your kitchen manager for the $20,000 week and $3,780 for the $14,000. You save money and time for yourself. The purchase allotment system will adjust itself so you stay on budget with actual sales, not just forecasts. To implement the purchase allotment system, you must have recipe costing cards. These help establish the ideal food cost for the business. Ideal food cost is calculated by multiplying the cost of each item times how many were sold. This formula gives you what your food cost would be with perfect portioning as laid out in the recipe costing card, with no waste and accurate product prices. It’s possible your ideal food cost and your budget won’t match, in which case you tackle your menu’s mix and pricing along with some other food cost lowering strategies.

When I am working with new members, one of the first things we tackle is their budget. From there we establish goals for their desired profitability. It is at this time we can identify the biggest area for improvement and nine times out of ten it is food cost. When most people do the ordering for their business they use an inventory/par level system. Even worse, most people use the inventory/par level system by eyeing what is on the shelves rather than taking an actual physical inventory. This type of ordering is solely contingent on the person doing the ordering and in most cases that

is the owner because they don’t trust anyone else to do it. Taking on tasks such as this are what add up to the 70- to 100-hour work weeks for said owners. When you order by your gut, your orders actually stay pretty close to the same amount all the time. For example, if you have a $20,000 week coming up and order $5,000, it puts your raw food cost at 25 percent. Then next week is a $14,000 week, but because you’re “eyeing it” you will order $4,500, which is a raw food cost of 32.1 percent. Using the purchase allotment system and

Before recipe costing is done you also have to start saving money to lower the bar on the purchase allotment target a little bit at a time. As you hit the target we will lower the bar some more until we finish the recipe cards and establish a target that aligns with ideal food cost and your budget. Just by guessing a lower target at the beginning, members start improving their purchasing immediately. Some of those savings are month after month of continual savings and some are the result of depleting a huge inventory. Either way it is more money in your pocket and it can all begin with one coaching call. If a 5 percent change in your food cost and more time for yourself are worth putting the purchase allotment system in place, call me to get started.

Kimo Sabe Mezcal By Sk Delph The true meaning of ‘Kimo Sabe’ is ‘Trusted Friend’

Award-winning Kimo Sabe Mezcal (it took Gold seven times in the American Distilling Institute Best of Category from 2016 through 2018) has arrived at Southern Glazer's. Kimo Sabe cofounders and father daughter team, Jim Walsh and Ashley Walsh Kvamme, began as a family operation giving rise to America's first chocolate plantation in Hawaii, and after expanding to Mexico, placed a stake in distilling mezcal,

elevating it to an art form and introducing sustainability. Kimo Sabe started a Grower's Support Program that implements a training program to plant and maintain their fields, and sustain agave for the future. For every bottle sold, a seedling will be donated for this program to thrive. It's Jim and Ashley's way of giving back. Kimo Sabe Mezcal truly is a ‘Trusted Friend.’

Photo courtesy Sk Delph

~ Jim Walsh

From left to right Co-founders of Kimo Sabe Mezcal father-daughter team, Ashley Walsh-Kvamme and Jim Walsh together with Sk Delph.

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 21

By Shelley Stepanek

Best of the Best

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

If you have been to Las Vegas in the last four years, you probably have walked in the area of T-Mobile, Park MGM and the block of restaurants in the The Park. You’ve probably looked at the giant burning man statue of a lady. And hopefully you have sampled some of the great restaurants. One such place is SAKE ROK, which is celebrating its three-year anniversary this week. Sushi, Sake and Spectacle as they like to say, and it has a great menu and sumo wrestling contests, the World’s Large Group Sake Bomb Attempts and more. Everyone raves about the Shishito Peppers and the Garlic Corn, and be sure and try the Rok Shrimp. Stop before any of the concerts or sporting events at T-Mobile and prepare for a rollicking time. The waiters are courteous and very funny. Open daily from noon-10 p.m. The lovely JW Marriott had a full convention room with the FOLEY FAMILY WINE DINNER. The Foley family is the major stockholder in the Las Vegas Knights, and owns some wonderful vineyards in California, Oregon, Washington and New Zealand. The three superb chefs of the night came up with an incredible menu. Starting with a cocktail reception, passed canapes included Beluga Caviar, Olive Tapenade and Baby Heirloom Tomato Skewers. Up first was Lucien Albrecht Crémant D’Alsace Brut Rose. First course was 2016 Banshee Chardonnay with Salmon Tartare, followed by 2015 Two Sisters Pinot Noir with Crisp Duck Breast. The third course was a 2014 Foley Sonoma Estate Cabernet with Braised Lamb Shank served with potato parsnip emulsion, confit garlic, pearl onion and spring pea sauce. Dessert wine included a 2014 Chalk Hill Estate Botryised Semillon with Wine Poached Pear. The food was tremendous. There was a table filled with lovely chocolates and truffles. Most of the attendees were high rollers from the hotel, so I was honored to find a seat among them. And many thanks to the wonderful Chef Devin Plendeileith along with Hector and Charles. Their pairings and skill were noticed by everyone. RI RA has a surprise offering, an afternoon tea experience. Well known for its Irish food and atmosphere, this lovely restaurant located in the Shops at Mandalay Bay can treat you to a very authentic British tradition. I experienced it and what an occasion. RI RA has a great room specially set aside. Have you never done afternoon tea? Start by picking one of many teas and they prepare your own private pot. There is The Dunbrody Afternoon Tea, with a selection of finger sandwiches including Ham & Tomato, Egg & Mayo, Cheddar & Ballmaloe and Cucumber & Crème Fraiche, along with fresh scones and Irish preserves, and a great selection of cakes and fancies. $24 p/p. Or try the MacNean Afternoon Tea, with sandwiches to include Coronation Chicken, Goat Cheese & Peppers, Smoked Salmon and Ham & Caramelized Onions again with scones and desserts for $35. What a way to unwind any time of the week. Served from 11 a.m.-to 4 p.m. Perfect for birthdays or just generally a nice day out with the ladies. The GM, Scott Sherman, was great, and please ask for Martin as your waiter. If you are just wanting to try some good old Irish and pub food, with a pint of brew, this is definitely where you want to be, so stop in. Plenty of great shops in Mandalay Place, so experience a few others after you dine.

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photos courtesy Shelley Stepanek

Derby Day in Las Vegas? Other than Churchill Downs where else can you see it the best? In Las Vegas, specifically at BEER PARK in the Paris Hotel. Second floor overlooking the Strip this huge outdoor beer extravaganza gives the best view around with plenty of TVs for viewing all sports. The food is outstanding and there are more than 100 beers to pick from. Start with a 7-Layer Dip, Hummus or the Guacamole as an appetizer. Or maybe a huge batch of Nachos with hatch green chilis, Chicken Quesadilla or Sliders. Maybe a Breakfast Burrito, a Granola Parfait, French Toast Sticks or Smoked Brisket Hash if you are out for brunch. Some of the sides are macaroni salad, jalapeno slaw, Caesar pasta salad, mac and cheese or tator tots. The Avocado Toast is layered with a ton of avocado and quartered slices of egg, totally a full meal in itself. The Ahi Tuna Burger is cooked to perfection, along with the Guacamole and Falafel Burgers or the Cajon Turkey Club. The tables get a great breeze with huge overhead fans, to cool you on a hot summer day. Long tables with ice pockets keep beers cool. Great skyline views and fun music, with strolling guitar players. Open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 702-444-4500 for reservations.

The Bottom Line Will Home-Cooked Food Disrupt the Restaurant Industry?

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

writer and consultant, Ben works with Fortune 500

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

Development. Contact Ben at or follow him @Foodie_Biz.

The debate between eating out and having a home-cooked meal has existed for ages, but home cooking now has a platform to rise as an even greater competitor. California recently passed a bill, AB 626, that allows people to sell food cooked from their own residential kitchens. This act opens the floodgates for thousands of home cooks to enter ‘the gig economy of food,’ and compete directly with restaurants for business. This bill, authored by Assemblymember Ed Garcia, comes roughly five years after ‘cottage food law,’ or the ability to commercially sell numerous non-perishable food products, first went into effect. AB 626, dedicated to legalizing ‘microenterprise home kitchens,’ intends to legitimize the underground restaurant economy and empower an immigrant-heavy population with the ability to generate income through cooking. So what does this mean for restaurants? Let’s first examine the details behind this new movement.

Requirements for home cooks to sell food commercially

While AB 626 opens the doors for home cooks, it comes with a series of regulatory requirements. Home cooks are required to obtain a permit to sell their food commercially. In order to obtain this permit, their kitchen is subject to inspections that mirror those of standard restaurants. Of course a home cook isn’t expected to have the same commercial equipment found in a restaurant, but they are expected to abide by general public health standards regarding food storage and handling. Home cooks are required to pay an annual fee for their permits, which at this point are set to range from nearly $300 to more than $650. They must also obtain a food manager certification. Home cooks are limited to $50,000 in annual food sales, and are capped at selling 60 meals a week, or 30 meals a day. Additionally, third-party delivery is strictly prohibited. This means that a home cook can’t partner with a platform like Door Dash or Postmates; they must deliver meals themselves, have a family member or a fulltime employee do it, or require customers to pick up their meal. AB 626 has a few restrictions on the foods that home cooks can sell— for example, no oysters or unpasteurized dairy products—but there’s no question that this is a big step up from cottage food law.

Timeline for cooks to begin selling AB 626 was passed in January 2019, though counties across California are required to ‘opt in’ to the law before home cooks can apply for permits. At the time of this writing, no counties have voted to opt in, largely due to minor changes taking place in the law’s wording. Counties are expected to begin voting on whether to allow microenterprise home kitchens in the coming months, with those passing the law accepting permit applications shortly thereafter. And while AB 626 appears to target sole proprietors who would otherwise sell home-cooked food illegally—over Facebook, for example—it also opens the doors to technology companies seeking to become “the Airbnb of food” or “the Uber Eats of home cooking.” The law refers to these entities as ‘intermediaries,’ and has its own set of requirements for apps and online platforms that sell home-cooked food. Several tech startups have already made a splash, seeing great potential in the demand for home-cooked food. DishDivvy, a fully-operational app based in Glendale, is already selling home-cooked meals on its platform. At the time of this writing, DishDivvy takes a commission from the home cook, as well as charging a service fee to customers for each transaction. Appetivo is a similar service currently in development, also based in LA. Shef made media headlines in March, and utilizes a subscription model, delivering home-cooked meals with heating instructions rather than ‘hot and ready.’ So, will AB 626 disrupt the restaurant industry? At this point, it’s too early to tell, but worth keeping on your radar as a restaurant owner. Numerous counties across California are likely to opt into the law, but the success of home cooks and any potential intermediaries is yet to be determined. Out-of-pocket permit costs and delivery restrictions definitely give restaurants the upper hand in terms of scale, but ultimately it’s customer demand that will continue to shape this movement’s impact on the restaurant industry. *Author’s note: Benjamin Brown also works for Savorly, a home cook intermediary. June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 23

By Adam Rains & Terry Clark Adam is lead bartender at The Golden Tiki and a member of the Health & Wellness Committee for the Las Vegas USBG. He has studied at SDSU, USBG, BarSmarts, International Sommeliers Guild, Certified Cicerone Program and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Academy. Terry is Beverage Director at the Summit Club where he is building an elevated bar program. He is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, an active USBG member and in 2018 won the USBG award for Most Creative Bartender.

photo courtesy Carlos Valdes

C A R L O S VA L DES One of the great things about bartending is that it brings together a cadré of people that are passionate, unique and love what they do. Many of us would rather not grow up, but instead prefer to grow our souls. One person that fits this unconventional mold is Carlos Valdes. Carlos just joined our USBG chapter this May and said this about it, “I’m excited to be part of a community that is just as ambitious towards the craft as me!” Like many of us bartenders, this Las Vegas native is committed to learning more and expanding his palate (while having the benefits of making money and merry!). He looks up to “all the folks that

have been doing this for years and still maintain the love for the craft.” You can see him driving around Chinatown in his vintage black El Camino and devilishly delightful mustache, or sipping on a Paloma. He enjoys crafting a perfect Suffering Bastard cocktail when he is behind the bar, but also likes to create on Black Velvet when not behind the stick. Carlos is a dark horse with a light heart, and can be found performing his craft at The Golden Tiki in Chinatown. “Bartending is an extension of the passion and soul behind the hands creating it; there should be a sense of enthusiasm for it to be seen as an art that way.”

Chinatown is full of amazing bartenders that are working hard to continue elevating the area. Alannah Bilan is one of them. Don't let her age fool you as she is a rock star with a wealth of creativity, knowledge and passion for the industry. You will be seeing a lot of big things from her for years to come. Where do you work?

at Yard House and transferred in to the bar a few months later.

photo courtesy Alannah Bilan


I have found a home at Sparrow + Wolf in Chinatown Las Vegas. Sending my resume to John Anthony was an amazing decision! Chef Brian and the entire crew have created a space where passion and curiosity can run wild through us all. I am honored to be on a team with individuals who inspire me every day. How did you get into bartending? I've wanted to be a bartender for as long as I can remember. At first I thought it would be a really fun job to have while putting myself through college or something, but I soon realized it was the career path for me. As my knowledge and experience increases, my desire to immerse myself in the industry increases as well. I started at Miller's Ale House in Town Square as a hostess as soon as I turned 18. Once I was 21, I began serving while working

24 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

What advice would your current self give your self from 5 years ago? If I could talk to my "five years ago" self, I would tell her to get in the habit of learning something new every day. Whether it is a classic cocktail recipe, discovering the distillation process of spirits, etc. There is a ton of information and with the rate of growth in this industry, there will always be more to learn. I love that product knowledge can create conversation starters and enhance the experience for guests, as well as yourself. When did you join the USBG and what are your favorite things about being a member? I joined the USBG in January, 2019. Honestly I can't believe I waited so long to do so! When you join the USBG, you get integrated into the family. There has been an amazing group created where you can share ideas and learn from like-minded individuals. There are events and competitions being held constantly as well. My boyfriend and I really enjoy being active in the USBG community together. It is a great way to meet new friends and spark creativity!

Human Resources Insights

By Linda Westcott-Bernstein 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:

Having a Sound On-Boarding Process is Invaluable! What is on-boarding? It is the steps that a company takes to ensure successful hiring, acclimation, and transitioning into the job, culture, and company for newly hired employees. The entire recruitment and hiring effort takes a significant amount of time and expense, and consists of several important steps, and then putting some emphasis on the secondary hiring processes; the importance of proper on-boarding, can make a huge difference in the overall success of your employees in the long run. Why is good on-boarding important in the first place? In order to better understand how and why it is essential to have good steps for this important effort, you have to first put yourself in your employee’s shoes. You have to remember and embrace what it was like to come into a new company, join a new team, and then to feel a part of that team. Acceptance is what each and every one of us want and need when we start a new job and meet new people. We imagine and expect that we will be treated with respect, patience, and empathy, as we learn the ways, procedures and expectations of our new role. Without these important attributes of proper on-boarding present; respect, patience, and empathy, we are less likely to be successful and in turn thrive in our role. Here are a few of my key components of a sound on-boarding effort… 1. Effective hiring steps with good communication to candidates on next steps after a job offer. 2. Clear outline of and communication with your hire of the documents and requirements for employment. 3. An introduction to the Company culture, structure, operations, and philosophy. 4. A detailed, thorough new hire orientation process not just for paperwork but also for job expectations. 5. Clear and timely notification of new hire availability for starting employment after orientation. 6. Detailed and appropriate orientation to the workplace by the management team. 7. Partnering and/or coaching support at initial start in the position as well as ongoing input/feedback. 8. Ongoing and timely contact with the new employee within key intervals to ensure their progress. 9. Open door policy - for management to ensure that questions are answered and concerns addressed.

The overall goals of sound on-boarding practices and efforts are to reduce turnover and the costs associated with that turnover. If you set your new employees up for success and work to create and maintain a process which will enable individual success at your organization, these steps will lead to essentially more satisfied employees and better team work. Both of these outcomes will also ultimately lead to higher employees satisfaction and in turn to increased and improved guest service efforts and results. Happy and well adjusted employees will provide better service to your customers! As we all know, those final outcomes lead to increased revenue and improved levels of customer satisfaction. Isn’t that what we all really want in the long run? So, taking the time at the start of the hiring process to onboard effectively can have a significant value and return for organizations in the end!

10. Support for the company culture and a respectful work environment which is emulated by leadership!

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.

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 25

The RESTAURANT EXPERT Make Yourself a Priority

Independent restaurant owners tend to be the nicest, most generous people on the planet (even the grumpy ones). Think about it. They put others ahead of themselves all of the time. They will bend over backward to take care of guests’ needs. They will run all of their credit cards to the max in order to make payroll. They’ll even go for years losing money, while their guests tell them how to run their restaurants and their employees drive nicer cars than they do. So stay with me and listen to what I have to say, even if it’s not the first time you’ve heard me say it. “You Have a Responsibility to Run a Profitable Restaurant…” Responsibility to your customers. You have a responsibility to run a profitable restaurant for your customers. Look, there is a reason they dine in your restaurant. You provide an obviously much needed service to your community and guests, otherwise you would not be in business. You must be profitable to stay open for them. Responsibility to your employees. You have a responsibility to run a profitable restaurant for your employees. This is how they are gainfully employed. This is how they pay their bills, feed their families and live. (Yes, half of them may drink their paycheck away, but that’s another story.) You must be profitable to stay open for them. Responsibility to yourself. You have a responsibility to run a profitable restaurant for you, your family and any investors you might have. This third area of responsibility is where the lesson begins. A great majority of restaurant owners run their businesses as if they were a charity. Taking care of everyone else first and if there is anything left over that “would be great.” 26 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

By David Scott Peters David Scott Peters is a restaurant coach and speaker who teaches restaurant operators how to cut costs and increase profits with his trademark Restaurant Prosperity Formula. Known as the expert in the restaurant industry, he uses a no-BS style to teach and motivate restaurant owners to take control of their businesses and finally realize their full potential. Thousands of restaurants have used his formula to transform their businesses. To learn more about David Scott Peters and his formula, visit

The reality is you must make you the priority! Think about it; without you, there is no restaurant for the customers. Without you, there is no restaurant that employs people to work. Without you, there is no restaurant. So you see, YOU are the priority. Without you everyone suffers. What do you do with this revelation? How does it affect your life? Well, that answer is easy to understand, but sometimes very difficult to execute. First, you have to start making yourself and your family the priority. You need to create a budget, which ultimately shows you how much money you want to make. You need to put into place the systems you know will help you achieve your budget. And most importantly, you will need to manage your business to that budget, which often means making the tough call. To get you started, here are the key areas we focus on when we start working with a new restaurant: • Cutting labor cost • Reducing food cost • Expecting more from management This is where we start, but the list goes on and on. It’s a process and lots of tough calls have to be made. But when you change your mindset to “You have a responsibility to run a profitable restaurant,” you’ll never go back to the way it was. Instead, you WILL make money without sacrificing your independence. Just remember YOU have to make YOU a priority. Without YOU, there is no restaurant. “You have a responsibility to run a profitable restaurant!”

By Savannah Reeves

photos by Savannah Reeves, DeannaWong and Jenny Chung

Savannah Reeves, a Hospitality Management student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, represents the Epicurean Society, a collection of food and restaurant enthusiasts. As the journalist on their leadership team, Savannah desires to share the club’s experiences with the public. Growing up in central California, she discovered her passion for hospitality and decided to pursue that passion in Las Vegas.

As the Spring 2019 semester at UNLV comes to a close, our members reflect on the momentous success we had at our 2nd annual Hawaiian Night. Epicurean Society’s Hawaiian Night is an all-you-can-eat feast of classic Hawaiian dishes with an open bar for drinking age guests. The event has become a successful fundraiser as well as a time to honor our members and their hard work. Everything is put together entirely by students alone on-site. The night began swiftly as guests began to arrive on the fourth floor of the Hospitality Hall on UNLV campus. Hawaiian music played softly as students finished setting up stations and arranging specialty drinks at the open bar. Guests entered a room presenting family-style tables and Hawaiian themed decorations put together by the students. Soon, it was time to begin. After a short introduction to our very own Vice President, Justin Leung, the buffet began. Guests were treated to a wide variety of Hawaiian dish favorites. A true star to the spread was the roast pig, roasted all day, right on UNLV campus. Another great feature was the Kona coffeerubbed beef tenderloin seasoned with tiki-tiki seasoning, brown sugar, bacon, pineapple, ginger and fresh Kona coffee. Spam Musubi was featured as well, made fresh that day. While a simple dish, it was quite a hit. Spam, white rice, and teriyaki sauce wrapped in dry seaweed is always a fan favorite. Another fun dish the students enjoyed making was poke. Our members had the opportunity to use fresh ahi tuna and then season it with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

For sides, we offered white rice, fried rice, seaweed salad and glazed sweet potatoes. The white and fried rice made for an excellent accompaniment to all the proteins offered. We also featured some thinly sliced spam as an added touch for those who’d like some on their rice. The seaweed salad contained dried wakame seaweed, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, fresh ginger, minced garlic, thinly sliced scallions, shredded carrots and a touch of red pepper flakes. The glazed sweet potato sauce was essentially teriyaki based, with added siracha, green onions and ginger to add depth to the flavor. As a finale to the dinner, we featured two desserts: Coconut Pound Cake and Macadamia Nut Brittle. The coconut pound cake was just the right density, with the flakes creating just the right texture and added freshness. The macadamia nut brittle was another fun recipe for our members to make as well. The smooth, light saltiness of the macadamia made for a pleasant nutty flavor that wasn’t overpowering. Overall, Hawaiian Night was a great success. We surpassed the ticket sales from the previous year and had a full house. Our President, Deanna Wong, made a lovely toast to our guests supporting us and the members for their hard work. We also featured a raffle with small prizes, such as kitchen utensils and candles. This proved to be a hit as well towards the end of the night. As a whole, it was a night full of fun, laughter and good food bringing everyone together. With the growing success of this fundraiser, our members are ready to plan an even bigger night next year.

After the great success of Hawaiian Night and with the semester winding down, Epicurean Society was able to have one more outing together to celebrate. For our last outing, we chose to go to Tapoka down on Spring Mountain Rd. Tapoka features Japanese street food, featuring the popular takoyaki. Takoyaki is basically a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter cooked in a special pan. We learned these are considered snacks and they made the perfect appetizer. We all shared the sampler platter, featuring different flavors: original, spicy, mentaiko and negi shio. Takoyaki are fun little bite-sized delicacies—almost sweet but not too sweet. We also tried okonomiyaki, which is basically a Japanese pancake. It features pork, shrimp, squid, cabbage, onion, green onion, red ginger, dried bonito, seaweed powder, egg, homemade sauce and mayo to top it off. All these flavors manage to come together into one delicious savory pancake. A fun fact we learned is that the dried bonito (fish flakes) react to heat; as your food arrives to the table, you may see them move just slightly. We also opted to try the tornado potato. Essentially, this is a long, curled potato chip on a skewer. The crispy potato makes an excellent snack and is fun to eat too. After our last outing, we reflected on the year we had. Epicurean has grown and truly became a family. The leadership really set the tone, and our members are ready to take on next year and make it even more successful.

June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 27

Product Review By Bob Barnes

Karl Strauss ReGreen Brut IPA IPA continues to be the number one-selling craft beer style and its huge popularity has hastened the proliferation of several sub-categories. A fairly new substyle is the Brut IPA, marked by high carbonation allowing for a very dry Champagne-like drink—a toned down version of the over-thetop bitter bombs of many other IPAs. Such is the case of the San Diego-based Karl Strauss ReGreen Brut IPA, which logs in at 7% ABV and 25 IBUs with a crisp flavor profile. While there are notes of tropical fruit and hints of pine from the blend of Cascade, Citra, Strata and Galaxy hops, it finishes incredibly dry and easy drinking. This brew is part of the brewery’s rotational IPA series and brewed in collaboration with Taylor Guitars to raise awareness for local environmental initiatives; its sales support the Trees to Treasures fund led by Friends of Balboa Park.

Alpine Distillery At the 2019 Ultimate Whiskey Experience I was pleased to see a greater number of American whiskey distillers, and one that caught my attention was Alpine Distillery, out of Park City, Utah. Yes, Utah. Contrary to common perceptions, Utah has some stellar distilleries, including this one. Founder/Distiller Rob Sergent hails from Kentucky and his heritage shows in his products. Alpine Spur is an 88 proof blend of French oak-aged single malt whiskey and bourbon with corn sweetness and American oak flavors with a subtle rye spice. While I tend to not prefer spiced whiskey, the Lafayette Spiced Flavored Whiskey is an exception. Crafted using Kentucky-sourced bourbon with additions of apricot, primrose and cinnamon, it has sweetness balanced by the spiciness of the natural flavors. The Preserve Liqueur is a 40 proof 100% corn spirit with a delightful mix of blood orange, black tea, raspberry, lemon balm and ginger, flavors that work well together. While all three are recommended as additions to cocktails, I find them excellent for sipping by themselves.

Tuxton Home Chef Series Sous Vide Stockpot French for “under vacuum,” sous vide is a method of cooking in which food is cooked in a water bath at a regulated temperature to cook food evenly. The 9.8 qt. stainless steel Tuxton Home Chef Series Sous Vide Stockpot can be used for sous vide or traditional cooking and comes with a lid with a 2.4 inch adapter hole to place a sous vide stick (not included) with removable stopper, or to be used as a tasting window during traditional cooking to taste the progress of your dish without releasing heat and energy. The lid can also rest on the side handle without having to remove the sous vide stick while you get your food out or put more food in. Another plus is the pot is oven safe and dishwasher friendly.

Marble Spirits Hoover’s Revenge and Moonlight EXpresso Reserve The family and friends owned and operated Marble Spirits out of Carbondale, CO in the heart of the Colorado Rockies uses water from the Crystal River, whose headwaters flow through marble and are naturally filtered. All grains are Colorado grown with the majority coming from a local ranch less than one mile from the distillery; Marble was also the first distillery in the US to recycle 100% of its process water and capture/reuse the energy from the distilling process. The 84 proof Hoover’s Revenge is a marriage of five single casks—two bourbon, two rye and one whiskey—and aged a minimum of two years. Besides being a great drink with plenty of character, the name and label image are in honor of an old coon hound that lost an eye after a run in with a mountain lion. Coffee lovers will appreciate the Moonlight EXpresso, a 52 proof coffee liqueur made from distilled vodka, locally roasted dark Guatemalan coffee and Ugandan vanilla beans for a rich, dark coffee profile with a chocolate finish. The Moonlight EXpresso earned a gold and the Hoover’s Revenge Whiskey took bronze at the prestigious 2019 San Francisco Spirits Competition.

Kumana Avocado Sauce Who doesn’t love avocado? Well, there are some, but countless are fans and we now can get the beloved fruit in forms of avocado oil, avocado tea, avocado mayo and now, avocado sauce. Kumana markets its products as being avocado in a bottle, and after tasting it, I’d say it’s not far from the truth. The sauces come in flavors of Be Mango, Be Hot and Be Original and contain additions of onion, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and a splash of vinegar. My preferred use is spreading on a tortilla with cheese and hot sauce (yes, there is the Be Hot version, but it is on the mild side, and admittedly I have a huge heat preference), but the makers suggest adding to eggs, steak, chicken and green beans.

28 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I June 2019

Epicurean Affair Remains One of the Premier Culinary Events Las Vegas Has to Offer and Provides Scholarships for the City’s Brightest Rising Culinary Stars

photos by Renee Shaffer & Lally Barnes

By Bob Barnes

The Epicurean Affair, held on May 16 for the first time at the Red Rock Resort pools, is one of Las Vegas’ premiere culinary events, and a chance to sample dishes from dozens of the finest establishments (both on and off the Strip) Las Vegas has to offer. Here’s to eating and drinking to a good cause, as this yearly event raises funds for scholarships for students interested in culinary careers provided by the Nevada Restaurant Association (NvRA) and its partners, along with the nationwide ProStart program, a national high school culinary skill and restaurant management program. Throughout the evening I spoke with some of the talented chefs, managers and brewers in attendance. Following is what they had to say about the event and what they brought to the table. Head Brewer Eddie Leal (Ellis Island Hotel, Casino & Brewery): “It is my first time at this event and from what I’ve seen so far it seems like a fabulous event. I mean with all the different restaurants here, the different styles of drinks people are pouring and the different wines and alcohol, luckily we’re able to be part of the beer aspect of this. Tonight I’m pouring our Belgium Blonde and the new Hoppy Pils, which is basically a mix of a Czech-style pilsner and American pilsner lager.” Executive Sous Chef Brawnson Rattanavong (Tao at The Venetian): “I think it’s awesome —very beautiful, outdoors, different types of people from all walks of life out here that get to taste our food. Tonight we brought Asianstyle BBQ pork crispy bao bao bun with mushrooms, onions, garlic and chili soy sauce.” Executive Production Chef Brett Blitz (Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan): “I haven’t been to this particular event before, but I’ve been to Red Rock and I love it. I think it’s great. Tonight I brought one of our menu items: tuna poke tacos with sushi grade tuna, our poke sauce, radish, micro-cilantro and fukaki. Executive Chef Frank Cervantes (LAVO at The Palazzo): “I just moved here from New York about a year and a half ago, so I wasn’t here for the last

one, but it’s great, very cool. Tonight we are serving our truffle gnocchi with mushroom ragu in a truffle cream sauce. General Manager Ian Delph (Boathouse Asian Eatery at Palace Station): “I’ve done these events in the past, but as a chef when I worked for Caesars Entertainment. I think this is a beautiful venue and love seeing it in Summerlin and like that a lot of locals are able to come. It’s always so relaxed, there’s so many great restaurants and it’s just great to be around such great chefs. We have two really popular dishes from our menu: hamachi jalapeno and poke bowl with tuna, salmon, tobiko, sesame soy dressing. Executive Chef Steve Young (Edge Steakhouse at the Westgate): “I think this event is just as good as the ones in the past. I love coming here. It’s fantastic. I love Red Rock—it’s beautiful, gorgeous and great by the pool. Today we decided to do two of our huge sellers: beef tartar and spicy shrimp. And we’re doing a special through the end of the year, if you come down and buy an entrée, you get a free spicy shrimp on us. Palms Casino Assistant Executive Chef Daniel Mendez: “I think this event is great. The Red Rock pool’s always been a great local hangout for this demographic. We’ve got some of the best restaurants in Vegas here and are showing some of the best dishes in town. Great crowd, great vibe, great energy. I mean, you can’t beat it. I spent a lot of time in Scotch 80 Prime and am super proud of everything we’ve put together in the past year. Tonight we’re serving a Creekstone Farms Prime New York strip with our heartstopping potato puree, roasted shishito pepper and aged balsamic vinegar. It’s actually called heart-stopping on the menu because there’s more butter than potato. More butter, more better.” This small sampling doesn’t do justice to the myriad stellar bites and sips we enjoyed and our only regret was getting too full to indulge further. If you missed attending this year’s Epicurean Affair, do yourself a favor and make sure that never happens again. June 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 29



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

Al Dentes’ Provisions 702-642-1100

June 6: The 32nd Annual Chef’s Food Fest sponsored by the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce and held at the Aquarius Casino Resort, has the participation of all of Laughlin’s finest chefs, who will be on hand to prepare their best appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks. June 8: The 3rd annual Hopped Taco Throwdown featuring all-youcan-eat tacos from top local restaurants and all-you-can-drink craft beer with a selection of more than 40 beers, will be held at Backyard at Zappos in Downtown Las Vegas.

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Big Dog’s Brewing Company 702-368-3715

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Designated Drivers, Inc. 877-456-7433

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Ferrari-Carano Vinyards & Winery

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Keep Memory Alive Event Center 702-263-9797

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Jay’s Sharpening Service 702-645-0049

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World Tea Expo

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June 10-13: The 17th Annual World Tea Expo, the leading tradeshow focused on advancing the business of tea, will convene at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and will gather more than 3,000 international professionals from various industries, including grocers and retailers, coffee and tea houses, restaurants and foodservice, hotels, manufacturers, distributors and more. June 17-28: The Las Vegas Restaurant Week will return for its 13th installment. As in the past, more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurants will offer prix fixe menus, with a portion of each meal donated to Three Square, Southern Nevada’s only food bank. July 20: Big Dog’s Summer Beer Fest & Reggae Party will be held in the front parking lot of the Draft House in northwest Las Vegas, and will feature more than 50 regional beers and live reggae music throughout the night.

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.

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Jay’s Sharpening Service

Cutting Board Resurfacing & Replacements

Arville St

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

W Harmon Ave

Steak & Table Knife Re-Serration / Sharpening

W Tropicana Ave


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Please enjoy our wines responsibly.

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June 10-13, 2019 | Las Vegas Convention Center

The Tea Industry Anticipates a 3-5% CAGR – Will You Miss It? World Tea Expo is Where Buyers Learn to Make BIG Margins on Tea Don’t miss the opportunity! Get top notch training at World Tea Expo 2019 straight from the experts: The Future of Tea: What Will the Industry Look Like? Will Battle, Managing Director, Fine Tea Merchants Ltd. Today’s Trends: Beyond the Brew Christine Kapperman, Sr. Content Director, New Hope Network, Editor-in-Chief, Natural Foods Merchandiser Kombucha Tea - Boost Your Bottom Line with Functional Fermented Tea Hannah Crum, Founder, Kombucha Kamp So Many Teas and So Many Vendors - How to Select for Success! Anupa Mueller, Owner, Eco-Prima Tea


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* Discounted registration only valid with discount codes listed above. Offer not valid on existing registrations. Offer expires at midnight MDT, May 9, 2019. All registrations are subject to business roof qualification.