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Issue 11 Volume 19

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Horse Soldier Bourbon Legendary Men, Legendary Spirits

November 2019


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WELCOME BACK TO OUR NOVEMBER ISSUE OF THE LAS VEGAS FOOD & BEVERAGE PROFESSIONAL where we would like to congratulate our local Nevada breweries who recently won various medals for excellence in brewing. Our Editorial Director and resident beer specialist, Bob Barnes, has all the details on the winners and awards on PAGE 12-13. November marks another milestone in my life with over 50 years in the Food & Beverage Industry and still learning at 70. Recently, I survived kidney cancer and removal and became a cancer survivor, but I’ve always considered myself a survivor, having lived, studied and worked in Southeast Asia for over 30 years. Thank you for your continued readership and input to help us improve our publications. COVER FEATURE FOR NOVEMBER IS DEDICATED TO HORSE SOLDIER BOURBON BY SK DELPH, who reports: We could say that America was built on horseback and bourbon. Our heritage and history run as hard as mustangs stampeding across the open desert of the southwest and as deep as a good barrel-strength bourbon. American Freedom Distillery’s Horse Soldier Bourbon has a story rooted in both patriotism and good spirits. Read the inside story and meet the people in charge on page 16-17. FRONT & BACK OF THE HOUSE BY GAEL HEES introduces us to three of her favorite cookbooks that bring out more than recipes, with photos and highlights of the stories behind the recipes for a total experience. THE BOTTOM LINE BY BEN BROWN addresses the rise of virtual restaurants and the future of food delivery, which we have all seen the increase of and competition of recently. TWINKLE TOAST BY ERIN & CHRISTINE introduces us to Hannah Bellemare, who is a true Gastro-Sommelier. Do you know what a Gastro-Sommelier is? Or how to become one? Read on and find out with this month’s informative article with a great Question and Answer session. RESTAURANT EXPERT BY DAVID SCOTT PETERS shows us that “Comps Are a Great Tool” as long as the staff isn’t giving away the shop. David runs through several examples of how to best use comps and what to watch out for in giving them away. CHEERS! MIKE FRYER SR. EDITOR/PUBLISHER

Page 4 Hot off the Grill! Page 5 Front & Back of the House A Cornucopia of Gastronomic Tales Page 6 What’s Cooking Page 8 Brett’s Vegas View Page 10 The Bottom Line The Rise of Virtual Restaurants and the Future of Food Delivery Page 11 Wine Talk with Alice Swift An Interview with Sean Morgan, Sommelier at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House Page 12 What’s Brewing Page 14 Twinkle Toast A Perfect Pair: The Science Behind Food and Wine Pairing

Page 15 Chef Spotlight Marc Marrone Page 16 COVER FEATURE Horse Soldier Bourbon Legendary Men, Legendary Spirits Page 18 Dishing It with Sk Delph Page 19 UNLV Epicurean Society Page 20 The Restaurant Expert Comps Are a Great Tool As Long as the Staff Isn’t Giving Away the Shop Page 22 Since 1068 Europe’s Oldest Winery Schloss Salenegg Has Been Producing High Quality Swiss Wines

Page 25 Best of the Best Page 26 May I Recommend... CUT Page 27 Spirits Confidential with Max Solano London: At Top of the Cocktail World Part 2 of 4 Page 28 Product Review Page 29 Nevada Restaurant Association How Chefs Are Making Kitchens a Better Place to Work Page 30 Events Ad Index

Page 24 Chef Talk Sous Vide


November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

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


Mike Fryer

Sr. Editor/Publisher 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

Nevada breweries had a phenomenal showing at the Great American Beer Festival, the largest commercial beer competition in the world held in Denver last month, earning six medals. This awesome performance was the Silver State’s brewers’ best showing ever, and Big Dog’s Brewing did the unthinkable, claiming three medals. Pictured here is the Big Dog’s team on the medal stage collecting their third medallion, which Head Brewer Dave Pascual emphasizes by holding up three fingers. Read more about all the winners and their comments on page 12.

Adam Rains

Assistant To Sr. Editor ACF Chefs Liasion/Journalist

Beverage Editor

7th & Carson just commemorated its 2nd anniversary with a new menu and a new guest chef, the renowned and beloved Chef Sammy D. Pictured here are two of Chef’s new offerings: grilled swordfish with wilted spinach salad and seared U-10 diver scallops with celery-root puree. Read more about this Downtown Las Vegas hot spot in Editorial Director Bob Barnes’ What’s Cooking column on page 6.

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 November 2019

Front & Back of the House A Cornucopia of Gastronomic Tales

By Gael Hees Gael Hees is a Las Vegas freelancer, and founder of the blog, The Steamy Side of Vegas, Living the Spa Life. She writes for national publications and has won numerous awards for printed materials and videos. Follow her at or email, with questions, suggestions or comments.

There’s nothing better in my book (cookbook, that is) than a recipe with a story. Sure, it’s great to have the perfect recipe for lobster bisque, but if it comes with a story about the author’s memories of eating it in Maine as a special treat when his favorite aunt came to visit—all the better. And if there’s a picture of the aunt with stylish clothes, a huge handbag and long red fingernails—well, that’s just the best.

Photo credit: Gael Hees

Many of us are lucky enough to have recipes from friends and family members written by their own hands. OR, one might have cookbooks that have been annotated with notes written in the margins about changes in the recipes (a pinch more of this, or a cup less of that). Sometimes there are reminders, such as earmarking the recipe as someone’s favorite, or perhaps warning against serving it when grandma comes to visit because she’s allergic. So, here are three of my favorite “story” books by cooks (more to come later): How many of you remember Molly Wizenberg and her long-running (and James Beard award-winning) blog, Orangette? It was an inspiring treatise on life lived in the kitchen. Her first book A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table (published in 2009, but available on Amazon) is a collection of essays, each ending with a related recipe. Her writing is absolutely reverently irreverent: about her cooking methods (using a colander rather than a heartshaped dish to prepare Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce because, “I don’t believe in kitchen equipment that serves only one purpose, even if that purpose is creamy and delicious); about the food itself (ginger cake described as “wonderful; pale brown and spiced, sauced with warm, caramelly pears.”); and about herself (“I’m happy to eat the same thing, day in and day out, for a whole week. No matter how big the batch, nothing goes to waste with me around.”) My favorite recipe is Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Glazed Oranges and Crème Fraîche. I love it and I don’t even eat sweets (although come to think of it, it’s not terribly sweet, just a marvelous texture with a hint of sugar, not counting the oranges of course). I found, Cleora's Kitchens: The Memoir of a Cook & Eight Decades of Great American Food by Cleora Butler tucked away in a used

bookstore on a trip. Originally published in 1985, used copies are available through Amazon’s secondary book sources. Cleora was born in 1901 and grew up in Oklahoma after a Freedman’s wagon ride out of Texas. The first recipe she followed was for biscuits made with the new Calumet baking powder that came with a picture cookbook. She pulled them out of the wood-fired oven looking just like the picture as her father walked in the door from work. I’ve made those biscuits, cutting them with my grandmother’s tiny biscuit cutter, and they’re as light and fluffy as biscuits should be. Over the years, she worked as a cook in the homes of Oklahoma oil barons and owned a catering company. The recipes are simple—not easy. Scattered through the book are pictures of cooking implements that without the cutline, you might not have a clue as to how to use them. This book is a musthave for any cookbook collector. This one is a little different, titled Yashim Cooks Istanbul, it is by Jason Goodwin, who is the creator of Yashim, which is a series of mysteries set in Ottoman Istanbul. This book is a compilation of recipes for the many meals encountered in the series. The recipes are appropriately simple and

use ingredients representative of the place and period. Throughout are sections from the mysteries that denote various meals and the person or people Yashim is feeding. “He handed Yashim a cup of lentils, which he poured into the pan like a cascade of treasure, stirring them around for a few moments with a small spoonful of white sugar.” Having the cookbook and being able to prepare one of Yashim’s popular meals while reading about it is great fun. Highly recommended. Something Funny: I had a pretty zany friend years ago who had “developed” a whole collection of Road Kill Helper products modeled after the real life Hamburger and Tuna Helper packages. He actually mocked up the boxes and they were pretty terrifying. To be honest I don’t remember the exact names, but imagine something like, “Struck Possum with Potatoes,” or “Flattened Armadillo on the Half Shell.” With California’s new law allowing motorists to take and eat animals they’ve killed on the highway, I’m hoping he still has his drawings!

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5

By Bob Barnes

He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

Photo credit: Eugene Dela Cruz |

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

Chef Nicole Brisson Showcasing Her Culinary Talents at Locale We’ve long been fans of our friend, the very talented Chef Nicole Brisson, and have observed her many accomplishments over the years. Her accolades include being the first female chef to become executive chef of an Eataly in the US, the first chef appointed to Southern Nevada Health District’s board of directors, serving as culinary director of the Batali Vegas restaurants and being a Dom Perignon Award of Excellence Honoree at the 2019 UNLVino. This past summer she teamed up with restaurateur Andy Hooper to open her first restaurant, Locale, in Mountain’s Edge on Blue Diamond Rd. just west of Buffalo. The new restaurant is an intimate 75-seat setting with hanging Edison lights, a decorative mirrored wall, copper accents throughout, an open kitchen and large slate-colored barn doors separating the bar/lounge from the dining room. Some other nice touches include a hardwood floor, black wood tables and chairs, which in addition to the barn doors add a rustic feel. We first visited Locale to celebrate Chef Nicole’s new restaurant’s opening in late June, and recently made a return visit to experience Locale’s new brunch menu, which is now served daily.

One thing we found enticing was the variety of menu items, with several options well beyond the normal breakfast fare. Examples are Preserved Tuna Salad Genovese with heirloom tomato, Gaeta olives, egg, capers and red wine vinaigrette; house-made Ravioli stuffed with beef cheek and aceto manodori and served with a savory aged balsamic; and Pane Frattau Pizza with guanciale (pork jowl bacon), sunny side up eggs and a dough sweetened with honey. A dish that satisfies appetites wanting both breakfast and lunch is the House Smoked Fish Cakes: Arctic char with pickled ramp aioli and mixed greens served with scrambled eggs. A handful of menu items, while not identified as dessert offerings, certainly do qualify. We enjoyed the Baked French Toast utilizing bread baked with vanilla and served with a fresh berry puree, whipped cream and cinnamon. Liquid indulgences include cocktails such as Brunch in Milan made with Ketel One Peach, orange blossom botanical, Aperol and housemade apricot puree; a wine list with finds mainly from Italy and Napa like the Michele Chiarlo Langhe Nebbiolo Doc from Piedmont; and beer list including worthy selections such as Stillwater Stateside Saison, and locally brewed Big Dog’s Peace, Love & Hoppiness and CraftHaus Silver State Blonde Ale. Show up in the p.m. and you can find several

6 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2019

Italian-influenced items from a menu divided into sections of Antipasti, Pasta, Contorni, Pizza and Secondi. Enticing choices include Charred Octopus, Fritto Misto with lightly battered calamari and shrimp; Rigatoni Bolognese with veal, beef and pork ragu; Ricotta & Mint Ravioli with braised rabbit ragu; and meaty items like braised oxtail, filet mignon, grilled lamb chops and Heritage Foods pork. In contrast to the restaurants on the Strip where Chef Nicole has worked the past 15+ years, the price points are quite reasonable, with the brunch/lunch menu ranging from $3-$19 and the dinner menu with starters from $5$15, pastas $11-25, pizzas $14-17 and entrees from $18-$39. It’s actually quite extraordinary considering the quality of ingredients used and the talented chef team preparing your meal. This new meat-centric Italian eatery is more proof that great dining has become easy to find in the burbs while taking a much smaller dent from your pocketbook. Locale is open for brunch 11a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. and for dinner 4:30-10 p.m. daily. 7995 Blue Diamond Rd. #106, 702-330-0404

Chef Sammy D in the House at 7th & Carson

Ambra Italian Kitchen + Bar at MGM Grand Offering Classic Italian Dishes and a Speakeasy Bar Since Fiamma closed last winter there has been a bit of a void in the MGM Grand’s The District in terms of an Italian fine dining option. Now that is no longer the case, with Ambra Italian Kitchen & Bar open in the same location. Named after the Italian translation of “amber,” the 7,500-square-foot space is said to be inspired by Milan at dusk and is situated across from Morimoto and steps from Emeril’s Fish House and Craftsteak. The restaurant is fronted with an attractive bar/ lounge looking out onto The District walkway accentuated with a classy amber-ish honeygolden onyx countertop and curved metal artwork. Inside, the décor features jewel tones, earthy hues and dark wood in the dining room; and a “hidden” speakeasy dubbed Privata, inspired by luxury Italian sports cars with intricate detailing on sleek leather upholstery, which those in the know can enter (if you know where to look, there’s a door near the back of the dining room labeled Private). While the restaurant is described as classic Italian, there is a wide range of offerings, like Bluefin Tuna with cucumber, radish, and avocado; Crispy

Squash Blossom with ricotta and cherry pepper; and high quality steaks including Japanese F1 Wagyu NY Strip and 45-day dry-aged bone-in Tomahawk Ribeye. If you came for the classics, there are choices of Cavatelli Pasta with sausage and kale, Calamari Fritto with pickled Fresno chile, Chicken Parm, Veal Chop Marsala and (vegan) Lasagna Al Forno. I was happily surprised to find a huge spirits menu with more than 100 choices, such as highend selections like Macallan 10, 12, 15, 18, 25 and 30 year; and several MGM Properties signature barrel whiskies like Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Wines are mainly sourced from Italy, France and the US and in addition to 18 wines by the glass, also offered are a rotating selection of four 3- or 6-oz Coravin pours not usually offered by the glass, such as 2013 Quintessa Napa Valley Magnum. Excellent finales are the Tiramisu with mascarpone, ladyfingers and cocoa; Ambra Vanilla Cake with Italian meringue; and Housemade Gelato & Sorbet in flavors of Nutella, Pistachio, Vanilla Bean, Mango Passion and Mixed Berries. Ambra is open 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu. ht t p s://mg mg r a nd .mg m r e s or t s.c om /e n / restaurants/ambra.html

Photo credit: PR Plus

Photo credit: Clint Jenkins

Last month I made my first visit to 7th & Carson and was quite impressed with the new menu of acclaimed and beloved Chef Sammy DeMarco (aka Sammy D), who after spending the past 2.5 years in Europe has returned and will be serving as Guest Chef at the Fremont East Downtown hotspot through the end of the year. I had the pleasure to enjoy highlights of the new menu including wood oven-roasted beet salad with kumquat vinaigrette, tarragon yogurt and candied walnuts; “Stove Top” turkey meatballs with sweet potato and cranberry drizzle (made with the actual stuffing!); grilled swordfish with wilted spinach salad; seared U-10 diver scallops with celery-root puree; strozzapreti pasta with chianti-braised duck leg ragu; and desserts of white chocolate French toast bread pudding and chocolate brownie with espresso ice cream. 7th & Carson just celebrated its 2nd anniversary and has introduced an Industry Night menu on Tuesdays from 8-10 p.m. with several menu items such as chicken & waffles, double house burger, jalapeno cheddar hot dog with kimchi and steamed mussels for $10; $5 well cocktails; and 50% off select wines. The eatery is offering the iconic Golden Gate Casino’s shrimp cocktail for $.99 with entrée purchase Thu.-Tue. 5-6 p.m. 7th & Carson is open Thu.Tue. for lunch and dinner.

November 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:

ENTERTAINMENT The Colosseum at Caesars Palace is lining up singing superstars for short residencies with Journey appearing during New Year’s Eve week. Keith Urban has 12 concerts planned for his all-new Vegas show beginning Jan. 10-11. Rod Stewart will return for 16 shows ending Oct. 3, 2020.

Jeff Dunham with puppet cohorts including new member and Presidential advisor, “Larry,” will visit The Colosseum five times through May 24 as part of a new 63-city tour. The Doobie Brothers first Las Vegas residency at The Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian begins February 2020. For the third year, Chicago will return for an eight-show engagement starting Feb. 28-29. “Billy Idol: Las Vegas Presented by SiriusXM” is extended and will return to The Pearl at Palms in March 2020. The Bronx Wanderers celebrated their 1,000th Las Vegas performance after opening three years ago at Bally’s and before moving to The LINQ last February. “Fantasy” at the Luxor celebrated its 20th anniversary and released the sexy show’s annual calendar “2020: Vision of Beauty.” Global wonder Dermot Kennedy releasing his debut album “Without Fear” will make a tour stop at The Pearl at Palms on Feb. 7. Donny and Marie Osmond were honored by the Las Vegas Walk of Stars with a shared star outside the Flamingo where they have headlined for more than 11 years. Grammy Award-winning band Fleetwood Mac’s final show for their 2018/2019 world tour will be Saturday, Nov. 16 at T-Mobile Arena. Comedian Earthquake has a six-week residency through Nov. 23 at the Laugh Factory in the Tropicana with 7 p.m. shows Thursday-Saturday. “Blanc De Blanc” at the Sahara moved its 7 p.m. showtime to 8 p.m.  “Magic Mike Live Las Vegas” at the Hard Rock, which changes to Virgin Hotels in 2020, closes Nov. 24 and will re-open at the Sahara, which is making a $150 million renovation, in Spring 2020.

Human Nature celebrated 10 years as Las Vegas resident headliners and announced their extension in the Sands Showroom at The Venetian through March 2022. Comedian Luenell extended her gig at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at The LINQ Promenade with 10 p.m. Sunday shows through Jan. 5. Gwen Stefani’s final 16 dates for her two-year residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood will be in February and May 2020. The Magic Attic previously named Windows Showroom on Bally’s mezzanine level was unveiled with current acts “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream,” “Paranormal Mind Reading Magic” and “Potted Potter.” Hard Rock opened a specially curated Memorabilia Exhibition running through Jan. 21, 2020, to celebrate the resort’s 25-year history and added three items from Otis Redding, Michael Jackson and Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia through Dec. 31.

Museum of Selfies with interactive installations for taking fun images opened its first location outside of Hollywood, Calif., inside Miracle Mile Shops. Official Lost Vegas: Tim Burton @ The Neon Museum merchandise is available at The Neon Museum where Burton’s exhibit runs through Feb. 15, 2020. Las Vegas Monorail Company plans a new Sands Avenue station providing a direct connection to the Sands Expo Center, The Venetian and The Palazzo Resorts, and the MSG Sphere under construction with a later expansion to Mandalay Bay Resort.


Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, a premier Las Vegas culinary walking tour, has added the Arts District Lip Smacking Tour with visits to Esther’s The Underground at The Mob Museum is Kitchen, Jammyland and Cornish Pasty Co. making its house-distilled, corn-mash Moonshine available for off-premise sales beginning with 19 Lee’s Liquor stores. Dueling Axes, Columbus, Ohio’s indoor axethrowing lounge, will join AREA15’s experiential retail and entertainment complex opening next year. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada celebrated three years of bike share service downtown with 21 stations, 200 Toasted, Las Vegas’ first  Gastrobrunch bikes, and 20 electric pedal-assist bikes. concept featuring restaurateur Sami Ladeki’s creative breakfast and lunch cuisine, Located in Boulder City, Rail Explorers features opened on W. Flamingo Road off Highway I-215. pedal-powered, two- or four-seat rail bike guided excursions along tracks used during construction Whiskey Licker Up, a full-service saloon of the Hoover Dam. offering food and with two balconies and a The Palms is building a 70-foot tall transparent rotating bar opened downtown at Binion’s. dome over KAOS dayclub/nightclub making Bellagio will launch The Mayfair Supper Club, it a climate-controlled, fully enclosed domed an elegant restaurant with live entertainment structure. nightly, over New Year’s weekend.  Chapels at The Pawn is a new tenant at Pawn Daniel Kermani and his team of baristas opened Plaza next to the World Famous Gold & Silver Daniel’s Coffee & More, a modern sophisticated Pawn Shop.  coffee boutique at 335 E. Silverado Ranch Blvd. Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden’s #100. autumn display runs through Nov. 30 with the ABOUT TOWN holiday design following Dec. 7-Jan. 4, 2020. Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin signed a deal CraftHaus Brewery opened a second taproom with MGM to buy Circus Circus for $825 million. CraftHaus Arts District downtown with Donovan Caesars Entertainment is selling the Rio All-Suite Fitzgerald’s custom mural featuring a “Jubilee!”Hotel & Casino to a New York-based real estate inspired showgirl. group for $516.3 million and will lease it for a Discovery Children’s Museum opened the minimum of two years continuing the Caesars museum’s newest Eco City “business” interactive Subaru Car Care Center. Rewards network and World Series of Poker.

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•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

The Bottom Line Alan Moore runs nearly 50 restaurants. Just a few years ago, this would mean millions of dollars invested in real estate, labor and other capital expenses, not to mention a complex operational strategy to keep things running smoothly. But in today’s day and age, this restaurant tycoon can oversee this myriad of brands with little more than a commercial kitchen, a strong marketing eye, and of course, a slew of delivery services that brings them to life. “We created 4 brands 18 months ago and launched them. Burgers, tacos, pizza and the like. We came up with some cool names and launched them on Postmates and Doordash. That snowballed,” begins Moore, who not only runs these virtual restaurants but also commands a brick-and-mortar establishment, Cheebo in Hollywood. It was experimenting with the delivery platforms through Cheebo that led Moore to start these virtual brands and ultimately lead a consulting business for the space, Virtual Restaurant Consulting, with his brother, Paul. “It’s a seismic shift and it’s consumer-led,” Moore said. The passion in his voice resonates through a thick English accent. “The delivery companies are taking over the whole world.” He’s speaking to the rise of ‘virtual restaurants’ or restaurants that don’t actually sport dining rooms or even pick-up counters. Their physical presence is limited to a commercial kitchen space, and do 100% of their business through delivery platforms, such as Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash. Moore sees virtual restaurants playing a pivotal role in the foodservice industry, and the delivery platforms completely changing the way that traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants structure their menus and operations. “Running a virtual restaurant is no different than running a traditional restaurant, where you go to work everyday and nurture your business,” Moore said. “It’s not just creating a name and throwing it up on Postmates. You need to create the recipes, cost the menu, handle the photography, build it out of social media and truly bring the virtual restaurant to life. You have to monitor sales, pull up product mix reports, look at your pricing. It’s not just fire and forget.” But while complex, significantly lower upfront costs open the door to many aspiring restaurateurs looking to break into the field. And Moore has perfected the process of opening a virtual restaurant, to the point of creating a step-by-step guide for new and prospective owners. “In 6 weeks, someone will come out with hands-on knowledge of exactly what needs to be done and will have 1–2 virtual restaurants

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.

Photo credit: Ben Brown

The Rise of Virtual Restaurants and the Future of Food Delivery

By Ben Brown

ready for launch,” Moore said. He also noted that it was easier to manage multiple virtual restaurant brands rather than just one, claiming that a kitchen is better utilized when several concepts are online. Virtual restaurants typically take an In-n-Out style approach, with hyper-focused menus that revolve around a shortlist of core products. So instead of creating a single restaurant that serves burgers, fried chicken, sandwiches and mac ‘n’ cheese, you’d create four restaurants that specialize in each of those categories. Of utmost importance, however, are several factors. Being transparent about the restaurant being a virtual restaurant, viewing delivery drivers as servers, and engineering your food for delivery are at the top of the list. “You have to serve food that doesn’t just taste good out of the dining room, but also looks and tastes good after riding in the back of a Ford Fusion for 40 minutes,” Moore said. “Crispy fries will phase out. Crinkle-cut will become more popular because they stay good longer. We’re producing more spinach dishes than broccoli, because broccoli doesn’t last as long.” This kind of engineering includes balancing beautiful photography and managing expectations. “All the photography on the delivery platforms is on a plate, but of course your food isn’t delivered on a plate…customers often feel like

10 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2019

they’re getting less food than what they see in the picture, even though it’s the exact same amount. We’ve been playing around with how to package food so that customers are satisfied with portion sizes.” Moore says the name of the game is highmargin items that deliver well. This formula helps mitigate the logistical challenges and costs of delivery. “The old model of food costs of 30–35%, labor of 35–40%, etc. has gone out the window. A traditional restaurant is going to struggle working with the delivery apps,” Moore said. “Food cost and packaging together needs to be 22%.” And it’s not just the cost structure that will change, in Moore’s view. He sees a future where in addition to virtual restaurants, brickand-mortar restaurants will have entirely separate menus solely dedicated to delivery. “Restaurant food wasn’t necessarily designed for delivery,” Moore said. “The restaurant will offer a menu for delivery that…will be designed differently and conceived differently.” Find out more about Virtual Restaurant Consulting at

Wine Talk

By Alice Swift

with 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

During my trip to Las Vegas in September, I visited a longstanding restaurant that has been open in the MGM Grand since its early years– Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, a.k.a. Chef Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant in Las Vegas. Now in its 24th year of operation, the restaurant has continued to evolve to guest preferences, bringing a more modern and inviting atmosphere that welcomes all guests.   So, what’s the secret to success? One thing that stood out during my visit would be the loyalty that the employees have to the restaurant, brand and to Chef Lagasse. I am a firm believer that if you keep your employees happy, they will in turn keep the guests happy, which eventually contributes to a restaurant’s success. I chatted with Sean Morgan, who was promoted to Sommelier three years ago, and he represents one of those success stories where hard work pays off.   Surprisingly, Morgan isn’t the longest employed staff, even at 17 years. There are multiple employees who have been there 20+ years, including one who has been employed since Day 1! This is truly an accomplishment, especially nowadays where you’re lucky if an employee stays for 1-2 years. Read on for a summary of our interview, and some of his recommendations for F&B pairings!   The path to becoming sommelier at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House Morgan initially got his start as a busser back in 2002, later becoming a server. At the time, his beverage knowledge was limited, and decided to expand his expertise by working as a bartender for a couple years. Later, he joined a management development program, and was promoted to Assistant Sommelier after shadowing the sommelier at the time. Interestingly enough, Morgan didn’t realize his passion for wine until his promotion. He wanted to be able to make genuine recommendations about wine, and give recommendations based on his personal interests, which quickly developed. With such an extensive wine list and mentorship of the sommelier at the time, Morgan was able to quickly grow his F&B knowledge while continuing to hone his guest service skills. After the previous sommelier left the restaurant, Morgan was promoted to Sommelier, and here we are today.   The wine list The restaurant has quite the selection of wines, consistently making the Wine Spectators Best of Award of Excellence annually. Morgan now has a “Sean’s Picks” wine list of ~30 for guests who are looking for recommendations. There are many popular wines, as well a large selection of older vintage, reserve wines. There is something for everyone, from old to new world wines, and a large bar/cocktail selection.   Fun Fact! The prices for the reserve/older vintage wines that were purchased during the early years have not increased in prices for guests! There are some restaurant guests that will come in just to purchase wines as they are great quality, temperature controlled, and at great prices.   The food MGM Grand convention guests make up the majority of the restaurant goers, but there are also walk-ins, and people visiting for special occasions. Working with Executive Chef Ken Lum, the menu now has a 4-course meal with wine pairings. If you are celebrating a special occasion with a larger group, there is a private dining area (The Kitchen Table) where you can experience a special 5-course meal with wine pairing.   Sean’s Picks?  “The biggest thing I enjoy about wine is how much it changes. A bottle

Photo credit: Alice Swift

An Interview with Sean Morgan, Sommelier at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House

of wine can change, from opening, breathing, later [over time] and when you eat different foods.”   • Favorite wine or wine region? Italy (Barolo, Barbera d’Asti, Brunello di Montalcino)   • Favorite dish (& wine pairing): Striped Bass (Charred Scallion Pesto, Sauce Piquante, Garlic Crab Carolina Gold Rice), paired with a lighter California Pinot Noir such as Littori, or the 2006 William Seylem, if you are looking for an older vintage wine.   Fun Fact! Currently, the oldest vintage wine in inventory is from 1970! In the past, the restaurant carried a 1959 Mouton Rothschild, and before that, there was a 1900 Chateau Margaux that a guest purchased for his 30th birthday for $17,000!!!  Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House hosts regular special F&B events, vintner/wine producer events that focus on a particular theme, winery, or portfolio. Keep an eye out for events coming up during the holiday season! Details will be posted on their social media and email newsletter. To sign up, go to:   Fun Fact! Morgan’s father was and still is in the gaming industry, currently working as a casino manager at Aliante Hotel for 35 years now. He has worked in several casinos as well, opening Gold Coast and Barbery Coast Hotel & Casino.  

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 11

By Bob Barnes


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


Photo credit: Brewers Association

Photo credit: Brewers Association

He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

Great Basin Brewing Company Brewmaster Tom Young, Restaurant General Manager Patrick Dalton, Owner Bonda Young, Marketing Manager Garrett Braun, Great American Beer Festival Founder Charlie Papazian.

Nevada Breweries Win Big at the 33rd Great American Beer Festival The 2019 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) presented by the Brewers Association, the world’s largest commercial beer competition, was held on Oct. 5 in Denver. Nevada breweries had their best showing ever, coming home with six medallions, four of which were golds, surpassing the silver state’s previous best showing of five wins in 2015. This was the 33rd edition of the GABF competition, which attracted a record number of 9,497 entries (plus 113 Pro-Am and 70 Collaboration entries) from 2,295 breweries from every state in the US, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. All were vying for only 325 medals in 107 beer categories, to establish their beer as the best examples of each style in the country. Obviously, winning even one medal in such a wide-ranging competition with so many entries and relatively few awards is a monumental accomplishment, especially for a comparatively small state such as Nevada that has less than 50 breweries. Add to that the fact that one of the winning Nevada breweries, Big Dog’s, brought home three medallions! Now, on to the details of the accolades. It’s only fitting that I begin with Great Basin Brewing, which is not only Nevada’s oldest

Big Dog’s Brewing: Charlie Papazian, Hudson Harris, Amanda Koeller, Sam McKinney, Dave Pascual, Ceci Moggia.

brewery in modern times (opened in 1993), but the state’s most award-winning. The Reno-based brewery earned a gold medal for its Bitchin’ Berry in the Fruit Wheat Beer category with 109 entries. This win was not only Great Basin’s 15th GABF medal (the most for any Nevada brewery), but the second for Bitchin’ Berry, which also took a silver at the 2013 GABF, and also a bronze at the 2013 World Beer Cup. As mentioned, Big Dog’s Brewing accomplished the unthinkable, three medals, which is even more impressive considering each brewery is only allowed to submit six entries. These wins place the Vegas-based brewery tied for 2nd with Chicago Brewing of Nevada brewery GABF wins, with 14 medals, just one shy of Great Basin. But equally stunning is that Big Dog’s Head Brewer Dave Pascual, who I continue to dub the “Michael Phelps of Nevada brewers,” ranks as the person who has garnered more major medal wins than any other brewer in the state. These recent wins bring his total to 11 GABF, with several of those earned while he was brewing at Chicago Brewing, as well as several World Beer Cup wins. While Dave has built quite a reputation for medaling in Belgian styles, the three Big Dog’s wins this year were for non-Belgian styles. It took the gold for its Knotty Dog, a 10% English-Style Barleywine aged 12 months in bourbon barrels in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged

12 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2019

Strong Beer category with 155 entries; bronze for And the Award Gose to..., a Leipzig-Style Gose in the German-Style Sour Ale category with 63 entries; and bronze for Willie Big Dog, a Robust Porter aged in bourbon barrels for about 10 months, a collaboration brew with Public Coast Brewing Co. from Oregon in the Collaboration Competition with 70 entries. Reno’s IMBĪB Custom Brews, which earlier this year celebrated its 4th anniversary, has averaged winning one medal per year, as this year it brought home its 3rd GABF medal, a gold in the Pro-Am Competition with 113 entries, which pairs homebrewers with professional brewers who scale up their award-winning homebrew recipes. Its winner was Distemper, a Belgian Blonde Ale aged in red wine barrels for a year, brewed with AHA member Lance Newlin, who won the IMBĪB-sponsored "2018 Battle of the Pro-Am." A first time winner was the 26-year-old Erik Nielson, who was promoted to head brewer at Las Vegas’ Chicago Brewing in February, 2018, after having served as assistant brewer since 2016. The native Las Vegan surely felt some pressure to keep up the winning tradition his brewery had initiated, accumulating 13 previous GABF medals under predecessors Dave Pascual and Kyle Cormier. Erik now has a medal to call his own, having earned the gold in the Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale or Belgian-Style Quadrupel category with

Photo credit: Brewers Association

Photo credit: Chicago Brewing

Chicago Brewing: Chicago Brewing Head Brewer Erik Nielson.

Imbib: Imbib Brewing Pro-Am medal presentation.

62 entries, for his Quad Damn It Quadrupel, making this win the brewery’s 14th GABF medal and 18th total major medal, including four World Beer Cup honors. Following are quotes from each of the winning breweries’ brewers. Great Basin Co-Founder/Brewmaster Tom Young: This is our 15th GABF medal. With almost 10,000 entries and only a little over 100 gold medals—we are ecstatic!  Three cheers to our awesome brew team who have all provided input to make this a remarkable beer. We are always thrilled to be recognized for all the hard work and effort our brew team puts into making our brews.  US brewers are making some truly remarkable beers and we are proud to be a member of that club.  The gold for Bitchin' Berry is particularly special because it is a beer that we have been refining since (and before) we first starting brewing at Great Basin in 1993.  Once, before Great Basin, I was an avid hombrewer and was regularly experimenting with fruits.  One year, one of my "berry beers" received the bronze (or whatever the award was at that time) in the "fruit beer category" in the HWBTA  national homebrew competition.  At this time, the AHA and HWBTA were vying to be the owner of the "U.S. championship beer competition."  This was the start of Bitchin' Berry.   We have been brewing a version of this beer since we opened Great Basin in 1993, although the original name was “Rail City Raspberry.”  My wife, Bonda, is particularly fond of this beer, so many years ago we changed the name to (Bonda's) “Bitchin' Berry.”  Each time we brewed the beer we have made adjustments, mostly in brewing procedures that have evolved into what the beer is today.  Bitchin' Berry is a difficult beer to brew. We have lots of steps in the process that start in the brewing kettle but continue into the fermentation stages where we adjust fermentation processes and do multiple additions of a blend of real berries, not extracts.   I have fond memories of fashioning makeshift

funnels out of plastic buckets and having brewer Jazz Aldrich hand me at the top of a ladder sloppy buckets of a blend of berries and trying to coax them into the fermentation tanks—wearing lots of evidence of the blood red berries on our once white tee shirts. We are not finished with this beer and will still make adjustments until the beer is “perfect.”  Since we don't really know what “perfect” is, I suspect we will continue making adjustments for years to come.  We are proud of Nevada breweries wins this year at what has been the largest brewery competition held. Six medals, including three gold medals for Nevada breweries is impressive, and thumbs up to Big Dog's—three medals.   Big Dog’s Head Brewer Dave Pascual: Three wins is something that most of us brewers only dream of, especially since we only have one brewery that can submit entries (this year six entries, one being a collaboration entry).  Big Dog’s has now won 14 GABF medals, which ties us with Chicago Brewing Co. with the most GABF medals in Las Vegas.  I personally, have now been blessed to have won 11 medals at the GABF. As for the beers submitted, let's go in order of what we won.   Willie Big Dog, at 11.4% ABV, was a collaboration with our family at Public Coast Brewing Co. in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  I worked with their head brewer, Will Leroux, in formulating a Robust Porter aged in bourbon barrels for about 10 months.  It was last November when I flew up there and worked with their team in brewing the beer.  We are so happy that both our breweries will be forever tied to winning a medal on the biggest stage. Knotty Dog is a 10% English-Style Barleywine that we aged 12 months in bourbon barrels.  The recipe was based off of an English Barleywine that was, in my mind, as tasty as this gold medal winner.  We knew the base beer prior to aging was fantastic, so it was then up to the barrel to not f#$% it up, so am glad that it didn't!

And the Award Gose to... is our 5% LeipzigStyle Gose. We love to come up with clever names and during the GABF registration I decided to enter it as such. Very ambitious, and we would have looked a little silly if we didn't win anything, so I’m glad we did! It got a roar of laughter at GABF after it was announced. It was a beer that originally the whole batch was to be fruited, but then (we) decided that base beer was solid: The fruit, spice, acidity, brininess were wonderful and then we decided to submit it as is, and the rest is history!   IMBIB Co-Founder Matt Johnson: This is our third GABF medal. We are so honored to have won gold in the Pro-Am category as we are former homebrewers and believe that homebrewers continue to drive commercial innovation. This is one of the best honors we could have received in a highly competitive category in which there are no style guidelines. This beer is a barrel-aged sour beer, a Belgian Blonde ale aged in red wine barrels for a year and then bottle conditioned. The homebrewer, AHA member Lance Newlin, won our "2018 Battle of the Pro-Am." We took his recipe, adapted it to commercial scale and then aged it in two different barrels—one with the homebrewer's sour culture and one with our sour culture—and then blended them together to achieve the balance we were looking for.  Chicago Brewing Head Brewer Erik Nielsen: It really is such an unreal feeling winning a gold medal at GABF. When they announced the winner, I could not believe that it was actually happening. Since taking over as Head Brewer in February, 2018, I tried not to think about winning medals, but I knew it was a tradition that I had to keep up since we (Chicago Brewing) had won 13 GABF medals in the past. I am extremely proud to represent our company, Nevada, and especially Las Vegas, in the world’s largest commercial beer competition.

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 13

Twinkle Toast

Photo credit: Kara Raudenbush

A Perfect Pair: The Science Behind Food and Wine Pairing

Most people probably think of food and wine pairing as a sort of art— something romantic that has been perfected by our forefathers and mothers over hundreds of years and continues to evolve today. However, Hannah Bellemare, owner of Dalälva Wine Tastings & Consulting, knows it to be more of a science. At Umeå University, Bellemare combined the study of food, culture and wine and ultimately earned herself the rare title of Gastro-Sommelier. We recently caught up with Bellemare and dug a little deeper into her unique perspective of food and wine pairing and the logic and reasoning behind it. What is a Gastro-Sommelier and how did you decide to become one? A Gastro-Sommelier, by definition, is someone who holds a university degree in Gastronomy, Culinary Science, as well as a university or academy diploma as a Sommelier. The first class I took when I started studying Gastronomy at Umeå University in northern Sweden was a food and wine pairing class. I was instantly hooked by the science of correctly pairing food and wine and knew right away that that’s what I wanted to research and teach as a career. After graduating, I went on to get my Advanced Sommeliers degree from the Swedish Restaurant Academy of Stockholm. For those who are interested in studying Gastronomy, are you aware of any local or online courses? Unfortunately, to my knowledge, Gastronomy as a degree still isn't offered in the United States.  You mentioned that you were coined a “saucier” at University. What is it that draws you to sauces? Hahaha! Honestly, I don't know. Maybe I just really like sauce?! My classmates and I just naturally had our roles in the kitchen, whether it was at school or after hours. They were the ones who coined me “the saucier.” Maybe, subconsciously, it was because I knew I could control the flavor profile of the dish and thus its ability to pair with the wine that we were drinking with it. The sauce is the single most important component to take into consideration when choosing a wine to pair with your dish, never the protein. This is part of what I teach in my Sauce & Wine tasting.

By Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover Erin Cooper and Christine Vanover have been residents of Las Vegas since 2007. Vanover is also a UNLV Alumnus. Cooper is a Territory Manager for the Resort Wine Team at Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. Both women founded Twinkle Toast in 2017. • Facebook: @TwinkleToast Twitter: TwinkleToastLV Instagram: TwinkleToastLV

Which common food and wine pairing do you feel is the greatest faux pas? Definitely Champagne and strawberries! Since this is an industry publication, obviously, no explanation is needed. I just think about the poor winemaker who worked so hard to create a fantastic product, and how someone actively chooses to ruin the experience of the wine by pairing it with strawberries. It’s heartbreaking! What would you say are the most difficult foods to pair with wine and which varietals would you recommend pairing with each? There are a lot of ingredients that are hard to pair with, usually because of the high levels of umami-protein found in that particular ingredient. Examples are asparagus, sundried tomato, blue cheese, prosciutto and other charcuterie. Worst of all is eggs because of the combination of high umami and sulfur. If you have a difficult dish or difficult  ingredients that you need to pair wine with, going with a slightly sweeter white wine is always the safest bet. This also works well in the case of pairing wine with spicy food. The higher viscosity and lower alcohol content that comes with sweeter wines is the best way to avoid increasing the perception of spice-heat in your mouth. Are there any varietals that you feel are easiest to pair with food? As mentioned above, the easiest way to go when you're unsure, or are pairing with a multitude of difficult ingredients, is to go with a slightly sweeter white wine. Here in the US, this is easier because the general population isn’t often opposed to sweeter wines, whilst in Sweden everyone needs convincing to see that a sweeter wine, at times, can truly be a better combination. You mentioned that you are writing a cookbook. What is your process in creating the food and wine pairings for it? I've reversed the process of wine pairing. Essentially, you could call it food pairing. I start by choosing a wine and then create a dish to enhance the flavor profile of that type of wine. You have all the control over what you put in the dish but unless you're a winemaker, you have no control over the flavor profile of the wine. When you create a dish that truly enhances a wine, you can achieve the incredible experience of a perfect pairing. Have you ever created a winning pairing with one of your son’s leftover snacks or meals? Hahaha no, not yet. Maybe that'll be my next book... If you were to compare your husband’s personality to a dish and yours to a wine, that pair well together, what would they be? My husband is very logical and I'm quite spontaneous, so he would maybe be poached cod with wild rice and yellow zucchini, logical because it's filling and nutritious, and I would be a sparkling white wine, something fun and bubbly.  Do you have a favorite tasting experience that your company offers? My most popular tasting, both here and in Europe, is the Basal Flavor tasting. In this tasting we discuss the theory behind food and wine pairing science, as well as tasting practically. We taste all the basal flavors and textural components that exist in food: sweetness, acidity, saltiness, bitterness, umami, fattiness and spiciness. We try them with four completely different wines and participants usually find the results astounding. It's a lot of fun! What is the best way to get in contact with you for additional information or bookings? Dalälva Wine Tastings & Consulting Website: Youtube: Dalalva wine (or Hannah Bellemare)

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Chef Spotlight In a career that’s taken him across the globe, Chef Marc Marrone has set up his own shop in a strip mall in southwest Las Vegas. Marrone opened up Graffiti Bao, at 7355 S. Buffalo Dr., in September, and while the fastcasual Asian street food-inspired restaurant might not seem like much, it’s the beginning of some likely extraordinary things from the chef after a long stint with Tao Group. Graffiti Bao’s origins start in April at T-Mobile Arena—where two carts can still be found during Golden Knights games—and it kicks off a slate of projects by Marrone, including Italian Graffiti, Graffiti Pizza and a downtown Las Vegas rooftop restaurant. Tell me a little bit about your background, growing up… I grew up in a pretty standard Italian American household in New York, and basically I was one of those kids that free time wasn't really my best friend. One day my dad was like, listen, in between sports and school, I got your job. So he got me a job at a steak house in New York: washing dishes, peeling potatoes. It was supposed to be more of like a punishment, but honestly, it was like one of the coolest jobs. I loved it: the energy, the kitchen and just working with everybody and hanging out. And then as a kid growing up, my mom and grandmother cooked a lot, so I was always around food and food was always a thing where every Saturday at my grandmother's house, they would do a big Italian dinner. So always in my head it was associated that food meant hanging out with your friends and your family. It was one of those things like an open door policy. Every Saturday all my friends would come over. So I'm friends with my dad's friends. Everyone would just be going to a giant dinner, all hanging. It sounds like you had a pretty great job with Tao, why leave? It was probably the hardest decision I ever, ever had to make. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but it really was because I had a really great job and honestly it was a job that people work their entire career in life to get. I got it when I had just turned 26. I'm 34 now, but I was 33 and I kinda hit a ceiling in regards to moving up. It was a great gig and I loved it. But you know, I didn't want to get down the road of having this great career, but having this thing in the back of my head, like I never did my own thing or at least tried. Things started to line up pretty well for me personally. I got a lot of experiences out of the way. I hit a lot of things off my bucket list that I really didn't realize I wanted to accomplish but was fortunate enough to be able to get the opportunity to do it. And you know, it just

Twitter: @patevans Instagram: @patrickmevans

Photo credit: Marc Marrone

Marc Marrone

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.

happened to be the right timing coupled with this big push of chefs making a migration off the Strip. How would you describe Graffiti Bao? Growing up as a kid, it was around New York City Chinese food. I grew up with orange chicken. But I was able to take some of the experiences and travels and learning how it was prepared in different parts of Asia and incorporate some of those influences and styles into dishes that are recognizable here. So it is kind of a fun little hybrid of really authentic stuff and then some classics that we're all used to, but it's got a little more of a bright zip to it. What are your other concepts you’ve got coming? The other one I'm really excited about is called Italian Graffiti. It's an Italian restaurant we're going to do at The Bend. And it's going to be

kind of a two-fold restaurant where the main restaurant is beautiful, clean. Then the cool part of the restaurant is it's on the endcap of the mall and the movie theater is going to be here. So you walk right past the restaurant to go to the movie theater side of the restaurant. We're branding it as a separate New York City by-the-slice, real old school pizza place on the outside and fresh-made pastas inside. So you kind of control your experience; if you're in the mood, you go shopping, grab a slice of pizza. But you want a nice sit-down dinner, you go inside and eat. Then we have rooftop downtown coming up, a bit like a New American-inspired restaurant, but really bringing some of the classic dishes that really were only found in like super high-end, French restaurants back in the day. I want to take those same experiences and techniques and be able to kind of take the fancy price tag off of them.

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 15

Horse Soldier Bourbon

Legendary Men, Legendary Spirits By SK Delph | Photo Credit: American Freedom Distillery & Sunship Films

We could say that America was built on horseback and bourbon. Our heritage and history run as hard as mustangs stampeding across the open desert of the southwest and as deep as a good barrel-strength bourbon. American Freedom Distillery’s Horse Soldier Bourbon has a story rooted in both patriotism and good spirits. The rodeo will be coming to Las Vegas during which Southern Glazer’s will sponsor a special viewing of Twelve Strong along with an exclusive tasting of Horse Soldier Bourbon which you won’t want to miss. 


“We were just fearless," said Scott Neil, CoFounder of American Freedom Distillery, Horse Soldier Bourbon. There stands a monument at Ground Zero honoring twelve brave Green Berets who entered Afghanistan just days after 9/11, a day that needs no introduction or explanation. It’s a day when we as Americans collectively skipped a heartbeat. Their bravery changed the scope of a playing field that was warped in unfair disadvantages through treacherous Afghan mountain terrain. And they did it on horseback. All twelve came home as true American heroes. But the story doesn’t end there. “The same group of guys went into Iraq and we fought for almost 20 years … we went back altogether 5 to 7 times and every year, we were either retired, injured or we were killed.” said Scott,

his words heavy in the air. This has become by far the longest active war in American history. Their story is commemorated by the America’s Response Monument at Ground Zero and by their own creation of ‘Horse Soldier Bourbon.’ “We actually have available to us metal from steel beams and girders recovered from the World Trade Center and so we shipped 500 lbs to a foundry in West Virginia to create the mold for our bottles. We wanted it to be an allAmerican product,” said Scott. I believe they achieved something even better. Twelve courageous Green Berets entered Afghanistan on horseback with the conviction to single-handedly take out the Taliban. Their mission: overthrow the Taliban, kill or capture senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership. Tall orders for a top-secret mission of twelve horse soldiers carrying the heart of the nation to respond to the most catastrophic terrorist attack

16 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2019

in America to date. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” said Scott, “We were just fearless. Some people fear even starting (a business). As Green Berets, we adapt and learn very quickly. We didn’t know anything about the business, right? We knew if we all worked together and worked hard to learn the business, we could do it. The discipline of an expeditionary entrepreneur means being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded, alone and unafraid. You can’t get into distilling easily if you don’t know anything about the distilling business, but we didn’t know that. We went in fearless.”

A New Mission

Having a mission may be the one most important driving factor of people in the military. As great as the mission in Afghanistan was, they have a new mission, and that’s to produce the best bourbon they possibly can. When Scott Neil retired, he

and John Koko went to Yellowstone National Park for a month. Scott spoke passionately: “We journeyed on horseback to get back to nature. We climbed the Grand Tetons, went fly fishing and we entered our first distillery and thought, ‘wow this is different.’ It was science, art, passion and everything we had been missing. So, we cut our trip short and hit every distillery from Idaho to Tampa. It took three weeks to get home. We called the rest of the guys and said, ‘Hey man, you wanna be a distiller?’ It was a way to bring the guys back together for a great new purpose. We flew to Scotland to learn the art of making scotch where master distillers taught us how to operate the stills and work the mashes and yeast and then we asked the question, ‘What’s the difference between Irish whiskey and scotch?’ and took off to Ireland and from there we traveled around the world. We didn’t know what we were doing, but it didn’t stop us. We ventured to study some of the oldest distilleries in the world and that’s how we decided to start our own distillery. We took every opportunity to learn from master distillers.” Being part of a distillery meant they were all willing to do whatever it takes to make the best bourbon and love what they were doing. The spirit of the American Freedom Distillery speaks volumes of the commitment, the dedication and the sacrifice they’ve all experienced throughout their military careers as Green Berets. “Failure is not an option,” said Scott. “It carries over in everything we do.” They make their bourbon in Ohio and there’s a reason for that. “It’s too hot in Tampa, Florida,” said Scott. To let you in on a little bourbon lore, by law bourbon must be made of at least 51% corn and a ‘wheated’ is a bourbon where the second major ingredient is wheat. American Freedom Distillery offers four types of bourbon: Horse Soldier Straight Bourbon, which is referred to as a ‘straight bourbon’ because it’s aged between 2 to 4 years and uses a mash bill of 65% corn, 30% rye and 5% barley; Horse Soldier Small Batch Bourbon, a wheated using 70% corn, 20% wheat and 10% barley produced by mixing the contents from a small number of hand-selected barrels to create a higher premium bourbon; Horse Soldier Signature Barrel Strength Bourbon, which uses

the term ‘barrel proof’ to show it was bottled at the same proof as the barrel with no added water, made with 70% corn, 20% wheat and 10% barley; and Horse Soldier Commander Select 12-year-old Bourbon, a ‘single barrel release’ selected and hand-bottled by men from the Operational Detachment Alpha Team 595 that uses the ‘straight bourbon’ mash bill of 65% corn, 30% rye and 5% barley. They are currently in the process of opening a new tasting room in St. Petersburg, Florida where they look forward to adding to the joys of bourbon tasting. It will be a place where they can gather with those interested to learn about the process of distilling bourbon and hear their war stories— an interactive experience to be enjoyed while sipping on their very special creation of Horse Soldier Bourbon.

Awards & Charities

“We have now won more medals in bourbon then we have in combat!! ~ Scott Neil Cofounder Horse Soldier Bourbon The journey has paid off. Horse Soldier’s Commander’s Select 12-year Bourbon won Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019, and the Horse Soldier Small Batch Bourbon took Gold in the 2019 New York International Spirits Competition, among other awards. Their charities include The Warrior Sailing Program, The Green Beret Foundation, The Armed Forces Families Foundation and The Folded Flag. “We need to honor and do what we can for our veterans,” said Scott. “We come from the community. Each year we participate with different charities and do different events and our bottles (usually a very limited-edition single barrel) from ‘Whiskey and War Stories’ have gone for as high as $15,000 at auction and it all goes to charity.” The Warrior Sailing Program, hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, helps military service members with PTSD, brain injury, amputation, paralysis and nerve damage by getting them out on the water which can provide physical, mental and emotional therapy. Sailing is a great way to

cope with the long-term effects of these war inflicted disabilities and a great way for warrior sailors to use their natural military instincts and abilities. “They taught us how to sail and from there, we went on to compete. We raced from St. Petersburg, Florida to beautiful Isla Mujeres, Mexico and we got 2nd place!” said Scott Neil. To accomplish this race, they sailed 456 miles of ocean as a team and the surprises just kept coming. They don’t limit their group activities to sailing: “On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, we jumped out of airplanes. It’s what keeps us together!” Scott Neil and all of the ‘Twelve Horse Soldiers’ have a zest for life that is hard to match. It’s this same team spirit that is now producing one of the most reputable bourbon brands on the market. It’s not an accident when you get a group of highly motivated Green Berets together that they want to compete and at very high levels. After having given of themselves not just once but several times over the span of their military careers to the service of our country, they continue with the same fierce dedication in creating the best possible bourbon they can. That spirit is in their blood. The Horse Soldier story at several points brought tears to my eyes and I was sincerely moved to go out and buy a bottle of Horse Soldier Bourbon and try it for myself. I chose the Signature Horse Soldier Small Batch Hand Selected Bourbon. Opening the bottle, the sweet oak beckoned with vanilla accents. Cinnamon and toffee blossomed, and I was transported to feelings of home, hearth and thoughts of the holidays adding yet another reason for the tears brimming my eyes. The sip was complex: cherry and caramel with just enough heat and a smooth finish. The flavor brought up images of Thanksgiving and I thought of our many troops who have missed holidays with their families to fight for our freedom. I placed this bourbon on my Christmas gift list. What could be more perfect? Cheers to the horse soldiers who fought valiantly for our nation, their bravery and patriotism and to our great American spirit! For more info on Horse Soldier Bourbon visit

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 17

By 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.


Photo credit: Sk Delph

with Sk Delph

Cork & Soul - A Food and Wine Event Benefiting Type I Diabetes I had the distinct pleasure of attending Cork & Soul on October 11th at Tivoli Village, a food and wine event that is also an incredible fundraiser. It’s to support JDRF, a charity that’s helping to find a cure for type I diabetes. Cork & Soul got its start as a friendly backyard barbecue. “It started over ten years ago when one of our families decided to have a party for their donors before the annual JDRF 1 Walk, which is the first week of every November. So they threw a party in their backyard. A friend had a band and performed for free and the idea grew and became an event that raised about one hundred thousand dollars a year,” said Celia Wheeler, the Executive Director of JDRF. “Three quarters of the people with type I diabetes are adults now, and you can be diagnosed as an adult.” She continued describing the world of hurt that for the most part is suffered silently by the children of this very difficult diagnosis. “For the family and the child diagnosed with type I, it’s such a tough diagnosis because for the rest of their lives they will have to be poked with blood tests and insulin injections.”  Celia gives us a great analogy. “It’s like buying a red Volkswagen and then seeing every red Volkswagen on the highway you never noticed before. It’s that way with type I. Until you’re involved with type I or attend an event (like Cork & Soul) about type I, it’s amazing how many people you discover you know who are connected in some way with this disease.” Cork & Soul opened with a smorgasbord of food from some of the finest restaurants in town. Everything from shrimp Thai noodle salad and edamame hummus served with warm Mezze flatbread from Public School 702 to hamachi jalapeno with ponzu from Boathouse Asian Eatery and delectable meatballs served

by Spiedini. There was even a hot teppan table serving up stir-fry and steak from Mumfresh Asian Eats. “There was a beautiful steak dinner served in the VIP area prepared and donated by Echo & Rig because they have a connection with type I diabetes,” said Celia. And may I add to complement every entree at the event was a wonderful wine and beer selection for your pleasure and instant pairing. I wish I had the space to name every food and beverage donation to Cork & Soul. I’d like to at least list the restaurants as a way to say thank you for their generosity in giving to this great cause: ADA’s, Boar’s Head Provisions, Boathouse Asian Eatery, BRIO Tuscan Grille, Carl’s Donuts, Carne and Comida, Diamond Events Catering, Echo & Rig, Edo Tapas, Fleur by Hubert Keller, Hamptons, Hawthorn Grill, Jade Asian Kitchen & Noodles, Mumfresh Asian Eats, Public School 702, Raising Cane’s, SeaBream, Spiedini and Wahoo’s Fish Taco. There were several beverage donors as well: Angry Orchard, Bonanza Beverage, Boston Beer Company, Breakthru Beverage, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Concur Wines, CraftHaus Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing, Lloyd Cellars, Inc., Morris Viola Family Vineyard, Peroni, Round Pond, Stone Brewing, Tito’s and Truly.  JDRF is the leading fundraiser for type I diabetes research. Their main goal is to find a cure and until they do, their focus is to help fund advancements so that those living with the disease can live a better life. If you missed Cork & Soul this year, be sure to mark your calendar. This is an event you don’t want to miss.  Red Lobster Grand Opening The VIP First Look at Red Lobster pre-opening experience on October 19th was fabulous. The redesigned concept of the new Red Lobster located at 1870 West Craig Rd. has a fresh new face, an open spacious look and feel and it’s

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comfortable. My entree was a Maine lobster tail with a jumbo shrimp skewer and fresh Atlantic salmon finished with a brown butter sauce served over rice and asparagus. I was served a Grand Patron Margarita with a shot of Grand Marnier on the side. It’s a cocktail you can mix at the table, elegant and smooth. Be sure to check out this seafood gem.

By Savannah Reeves

Photo credit: Savannah Reeves, Travis Tagala 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.

We’re almost halfway through the Fall 2019 semester and it’s been a busy month for our members. Between volunteering and working in the kitchen, Epicurean Society has yet to slow down. Our first big event was Breaking Barriers put on by Eta Sigma Delta, UNLV’s chapter of the International Hospitality Honors Society. Breaking Barriers is a fantastic networking opportunity for the leadership teams of the student hospitality organizations to come together. It’s a time to unite our organizations together and discuss our plans for the semester. Epicurean Society provided food for the event, as there is no better way to bring people together. Our members came up with a Mediterranean-inspired menu featuring grilled veggie open-faced sandwiches, lightly toasted pita bread, homemade hummus, Caesar salad and cookies. It was an excellent light offering that everyone could enjoy over the course of the event. Providing food for the event was a fun learning opportunity for our back-of-house team. Our favorite new method was searing lemons for the hummus recipe. While it may be a little extra work, it enhances the flavor in the hummus. The Epicurean leadership team also brought along our members that helped us in making the food. They all thoroughly enjoyed the chance to mingle with other organizations and consider if they themselves would like to join our leadership team in the future. The food was an overall hit and a great way to bring everyone together before a series of icebreakers. Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know other student leaders on campus and discuss future collaborations.

A favorite event amongst our members is UNLV’s Art Walk. This was only the third year of the event, but our members who participated last year remembered it well. Art Walk is an event that is a collaboration of the various art departments around campus. Free and open to the public, it takes over a fair amount of UNLV campus. Guests can enjoy an immersive experience of student art pieces, music, dance, theater and much more. Art Walk also offers free food and beverages sponsored by an array of restaurants. This year, our students came up with the idea of providing cake pops. We came up with a recipe for red velvet cake pops with cream cheese icing, dipped in milk chocolate with either a white chocolate drizzle or white chocolate garnish. As we realized we also had some leftover melted chocolate, the back-ofhouse team came up with a chocolate bark on the fly. The guests sincerely enjoyed our offerings and we received rave reviews. It was a wonderful chance to support the arts and also promote our club. A favorite activity amongst our members are our monthly restaurant outings. For our first outing of the semester, our members collectively decided they’d like to experience Block 16, an urban food hall in The Cosmopolitan. Much of the group had never been there before, so we were excited to partake in the experience together. We met just outside of the food hall and all went in together. Block 16 features restaurants such as: District: Donuts. Sliders. Brews., Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Lardo, Pok Pok Wing and Tekka Bar. For guests over twenty-

one, you can also visit The Cosmopolitan’s hidden bar Ghost Donkey. Our group briefly split up to see what there was to offer, coming together at a table to dig into our feast. Almost everyone got something different and had an opportunity to try a little bit of everything; there was nothing bad to say about the food. We also shared a box of donuts from District: Donuts. Sliders. Brews., which were dangerously delicious. It was an exciting opportunity to bond and get to know each other better, as we had gained a significant number of new members this semester. As we discussed our favorite restaurants around Las Vegas, someone brought up the new Hello Kitty Café. This was another place the majority had yet to visit, so we collectively decided to check it out together. Thus, we walked over to The Park where the café is located. The Hello Kitty Café features a large array of delicious sweet treats featuring a variety of Sanrio characters. They also have an expansive drink menu featuring a variety of tea, coffee and lemonade. Although we had all just eaten beforehand, we couldn’t resist trying their adorable desserts and milk teas. It truly was a wonderful bonding experience that brought us all together. The enjoyment of food is what we’re all about, and there’s nothing better than enjoying food together with a group of other like-minded individuals. I know we are all eagerly looking forward for what else is to come this semester.

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 19

The RESTAURANT EXPERT Comps Are a Great Tool

As long as the staff isn’t giving away the shop When you see a regular at your bar and sometimes comp them a drink to thank them for making your bar their home away from home, you’re doing something normal in hospitality that is generally not done in any other industry. Think about it: when is the last time you went to a retail store and the manager said, “It’s great to see you again, let me buy you your next pair of jeans to say thank you?” Do you know any other business that does anything like what restaurants do with freebies? I don’t. The challenge is, while restaurants love to use this very personal tool called a “comp,” it is sometimes misused. While comps can turn a bad dining experience into a good one, make a regular customer a raving fan, allow staff to dine with you without breaking the bank, do know that a comp is real money! When you comp a $50 ticket because you blew it, understand that is $50 you are not putting into the bank. It means you don’t have that $50 for payroll, to pay bills or to keep as profit. It reduces your cash flow and cash is what you use to pay your bills. While comping is normal practice in our industry, you have to do it correctly and have a budget or you can give away the house. Comp budget. I recommend that you don’t allow more than 3–4 percent discounting (comping) each month. This would include taking care of a regular customer, fixing a kitchen or service screw up, employee and manager meal discounting and some small amount of discount marketing. You can also look at your marketing budget and move some percentage points over to discounting if you use discount promotions as a major component to your marketing plan. For example, I recommend that you have a marketing budget of 2–4 percent per month. If you wanted to use all of that for discounting, you would have a target comping budget percentage as high as 8 percent each month to build business, take care of your guests and still make money. But all too often, without a budget set and managers trained on what they can and should do, comping leads to money lost. Avoid these comping practices. • Free meals. When a guest does not like his or her food, instead of immediately jumping to buy the meal, consider whether a replacement item and a comped dessert might do the job. Assess the situation and ask the guest leading questions to find their pain point. Discuss with your management team each comp so

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

that you can give them guidance on how you want that similar situation handled in the future. • Discount promotions. I am not against discount promotions. I am against the misuse of them. For example, if you run a Groupon at a 50 percent value, you are actually selling that certificate at a 78 percent discount. And if you’re operating at a 65 percent or higher prime cost, this could spell disaster. If you use discounting for marketing, focus on driving NEW customers in and require they sign up for your loyalty or VIP programs. This means you will make a little money on a new guest and can now market to them to bring them back. You are basically buying the lead. It’s important not to use discounting in a fashion that cheapens your brand or makes it so your customers wait for the coupon before they come through your door. • Buying drinks! If you have a bar, you already know that you get hit up for free drinks from your regular customers. You know that you probably have to give your bartenders the ability to give away a couple drinks each shift, or they will give them and more without your permission. Both of these can rob you

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of your cash. When it comes to regulars, you might decide that you, as the owner, don’t drink for free in your bar. You can then let the customer know you don’t even drink for free. Then if you buy the customer a drink, pull cash out of your pocket to pay. When it comes to bartenders, giving them freedom within some rules—say two comped drinks per shift—allows them to build business without breaking the bank. And then if they have given away their two and someone has a bad experience, all they have to do is ask the manager on duty if they can buy them a drink over their quota. Misusing comping can kill your bank account. To avoid this, make sure you set a comping budget, monitor your actual comping percentage on a daily and monthly basis, train managers on best practices by routinely reviewing comps and the reason behind them, and most importantly, remember when you comp you are giving away YOUR money. With all of these things in mind, your comping can be used to deliver a great dining experience, bond with your guests and employees, and better yet, still be on a path to make money.


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By Elaine and Scott Harris 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.

Photo credit: Elaine and Scott Harris

Since 1068 Europe’s Oldest Winery Schloss Salenegg Has Been Producing High Quality Swiss Wines

Many are surprised to learn that Europe’s oldest winery is in Switzerland in the stunning village of Maienfeld in the Canton of Graubünden. Visiting this region, easily accessible from Zurich airport via the Swiss Federal Railway, will enliven the traveler with its clean air, majestic mountains, clear blue lakes and special thermal waters—invoking images that come to life like a childhood story book and yes, it is the setting for Johanna Spyri’s 1880 novel of Heidi, and of course named Heidiland by locals for almost a century. The allure of Spyri’s novel lives on with over 150,000 yearly visitors to the region. It all began around 950 A.D. when the abbot of Pfäfers Monastery laid the foundation for the present castle and vineyard. The first record of viticulture in the region was in 950 and the Pfafers monks are also mentioned with this same wine estate in Maienfeld archives in 1068. The huge wooden wine press (Torkelbaum), dates from 1656 and is closely linked with the history of the Von Gugelberg family of Castle Salenegg. The young winemaker at Weingut Schloss Salenegg, is the same-named Weingut Schloss Salenegg, who has been involved in the winemaking process as an intern and now has taken the reigns as resident winemaker. “I am the winemaker and I am very proud to be here,” said Weingut. “We have 13 hectors, which is big for the region, but not for Switzerland. The special thing is in a small town such as

Maienfeld there are 14 or 15 working cellars.” In modern times, the family blends tradition with advanced winemaking techniques. A good example is their Pinot Noir—punch downs and fermentation continues for ten days in steel tanks and then are moved to the old traditional wooden barrels where the full expression of the region begins. The Pinot Blanc "Schloss Salenegg" is the traditional wine of the region. The Calcareous slate soil provides brilliant minerality to the wine and is the flagship of Salenegg Castle. In the glass, it shows light floral notes. On the nose, ripe red cherry and hints of earth jump out of the glass moving on to light spice notes on the palate with moderate tannins on the finish. The Le Miroir, Salenegg Castle, Assemblage, AOC Graubünden is a light Pinot Noir produced in a steel tank without any wood influence. This wine has plenty of bright cherry notes and light spice, making this wine an excellent easy-tosip companion for any occasion. For a bigger experience, the Cuvée Rouge AOC Graubünden is the answer. A blend of Zweigelt and Merlot combine dark fruit aromas and balanced tannins to marry to impress the nose and the palate of any oenophile. Grab a bottle, take a seat and enjoy grilled meat like the Boeuf Stroganoff and cigar by the fireplace. Rose wine is a nice refreshing treat on warmer days. The Rose Castle Salenegg Castle, Pinot Noir AOC Graubünden delights the palate

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with its magnificent color, crisp acidity and bright cherry flavors. When its time for some bubbles, Les Etincelles de Salenegg Blanc de Blanc, AOC Graubünden is a brilliant choice. The mineral soils of the Grisons are perfect for Chardonnay grapes. On the nose of this sparkling wine you find a lovely bouquet of exotic fruits typical of the Chardonnay. On the palate, it’s refreshing acidity and fine spicy notes provide an exceptional experience sip by sip. In this region, every castle makes a dessert wine. The Le Solei d'Ulysse Salenegg Castle, Pinot Noir, Dessert Wine is theirs. In this expression, Pinot Noir fermentation was interrupted with

Pinot Noir brandy from its own distillery and then sweetly expanded in the barrique. On the nose, red fruit aromas are prominent, giving way to a palate that is elegant without alcoholic heaviness. This dessert wine is just plain fun and shows off Pinot Noir brilliantly. The Castle is now owned by family von Gugelberg von Moos. Believe it or not, there have been no changes made to the architecture since 1652. In addition to wine, they also produce more than 20 different delicate vinegars, which is unusual for the region. This land and castle have stood the test of time and you can taste the tradition in very sip. Families immerse themselves in the world of Heidi and Peter at the original site of Heidi history; active guests are on their way between lake and mountain with a hiking backpack or mountain bike or regenerate in the spectacular health resort, The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. Wine options abound, with over a dozen gourmet restaurants such as the restaurant Falknis located within the historic hotel Falknis where local culture brings interesting flavors to curious connoisseurs. In the cold season, the winter sport areas of Flumserberg and Pizol, with over 100 km of slopes, captivate eager sports enthusiasts. Great gourmet restaurants like Schloss Brandis in the middle of the town of Maienfeld in the old medieval Brandis Castle, a deserving member of the esteemed ChaÎne des Rôtisseurs, showcase the elegance already established by the Bad Ragaz resort of Grand Hotel Quellenhof and Spa. From winery Salenegg, considered the oldest existing winery in Europe, to the region’s fabled thermal waters, Heidiland continues to embrace and engage tourists with long lasting tradition that makes story tales come to life.

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

Chef Talk

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.

Sous Vide

Lately I have been playing with a sous vide cooker. For those of you that do not know what that is, let me explain. Sous vide, French for “under vacuum,” is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath at lower temperatures for longer than normal cooking times. You cook foods that you would normally put to heat for 30 minutes for up to 48 or even 72 hours. I have cooked eggs, steak, chicken, short ribs and soup by sealing the ingredients in an airtight, vacuum packed bag. My results are mixed. Since as chefs we know that proteins change as they are subjected to high heat for extended periods of time, this method holds a lot of promise as a great way of cooking foods. Here are my observations. I think the eggs were the best poached eggs I have ever had. The main reason is that they are poached in the shell, which means you do not need to add any flavors such as salt or vinegar to the flavor of the eggs. The negative is that they cannot be cooked to order. The eggs need at least 1 hour at 148 degrees to set up. An alternative is to cook them at 165 for 15 minutes, but in my opinion if you do that you might as well do it stovetop and not invest in a machine that will maintain water temperature from 86 to 210 degrees (the range of my machine). Chefs know that the higher the temperature the bigger the changes that occur in food.

Chefs also know that food needs to reach certain temperatures to avoid bacterial growth. In the case of sous vide cooking bacterial growth is controlled by 2 factors. One is the control of oxygen. When cooking via sous vide you should vacuum seal the protein, because without oxygen bacteria cannot survive. The second factor used to control bacteria growth is temperature. The best variable to protect food from bacteria is to cook foods to a high enough temperature to kill all bacteria. In Sous Vide cooking the food items do not always reach the minimum internal temperature recommended by the FDA and the National Restaurant Association, but the “Alternate Minimum Temperatures” allow for food that should be cooked to 145 degrees for 15 seconds to alternatively be held at 130 degrees for 2 hours, as an example. The best food that I prepared was chicken thighs. I think that the high fat content helped make this dish the most-tender chicken I have ever eaten. I put the thighs in the bag with some flavorings and seasonings and put them in the sous vide cooker set at 141 degrees. I left them in there for 48 hours and forgot about them. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender and with the long slow cooking time the seasonings and flavorings penetrated to the center of the meat. Another key element here is to use the correct bag for this extended cooking time. Most

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sealing bags are not designed for this extended heat timeframe but sous vide-specific bags can take the heat. Regular bags can be used for shorter cooking times. Another food that I have cooked is steak. Many people swear by this method of cooking for individual steaks, but I think it will take some practice to make a steak as good as a grill does. I like the concept of slowly heating a New York Strip without overheating and toughening the outside of the meat, but I have not had success at doing this well. I know chefs are saying how can you have a good steak without that intense heat that causes the Maillard Reaction, but there is a simple solution. After the one-hour hot water bath the meat can be seared in a hot pan to create the crisp outside and heat the amino acids and proteins to 350 degrees creating that flavorful reaction. Many proponents of this cooking method will sear foods both before and after the sous vide portion, helping to create a flavorful cooking liquid. I think for the professional and the home cook the key is to pre-plan. Foods will take a longer time to cook but the time is made up at service time. All you have to do is open the bag, do some finishing touches on it and prepare a side dish, which can be done sous vide as well.

By Shelley Stepanek

Best of the Best

Photo credit: True Food , Top Golf and Shelley Stepanek

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.

TRUE FOOD—OMG! This new restaurant in Downtown Summerlin is truly amazing. Taking over the old Fogo de Chao location, with plenty of outdoor patio dining, this fresh place offers an unlimited menu for anyone wanting to eat healthy. Inside it’s light and airy, with plenty of green plants and great seating, and the deck overlooks one of the waterfalls in the mall. For starters I suggest the Butternut Squash Soup or the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with mushrooms. There is also a very good Beet & Goat Cheese Flatbread. All salads have seasonal ingredients as does the entire menu. Kale Cobb Chopped or Organic Tuscan Kale have plenty of avocado and organic tomatoes. There are pizzas, with gluten-free crust if you ask, along with Bowls of Ancient Grains, which include Cauliflower Polenta, Korean Noodle or Teriyaki Quinoa, with broccoli, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, brown rice, avocado and toasted sesame. Each item has the calorie value listed. A new burger is on the menu, the Unbeetable Burger made with beets, yuzu, jicama slaw, crushed avocado and butter lettuce: bright red, juicy and certainly savory. Or try a turkey burger, grass-fed burger or an Inside Out Quinoa burger with hummus. Full-on entrees are Thai Coconut Sea Bass, Chicken, Lasagna, Poke Bowl with wild-caught albacore, Grilled Salmon Bowl or Grass-fed Steak Tacos. The menu reflects with a small icon for each item what the vegetable is. Plenty of desserts too. I cannot rave enough about this health-conscious place. 10970 Rosemary Park Drive, #160. 702-8631000. CARMINE’S is a huge cavernous restaurant located in the famous Caesars Forum Shops on the Vegas Strip.  Two stories, with numerous private rooms, this magnificent restaurant is a wonderful place to dine.  With a happy hour, take out and vegetarian menu, you will have a great time looking over the hundreds of photos on the wall.  Huge

family-style portions of all your favorite dishes including clams, mussels, pastas and eggplant await you. I dined with a party of 50 and we had mussels (both in white broth and red sauce), eggplant rollatini, calamari and plenty of amazing appetizers. Hot and cold antipasto salads, peppers and onions, lasagna, meatballs, ravioli with cheese, rigatoni and broccoli; all the items are fresh, hot and wonderfully seasoned.  Plenty of chicken, seafood, and beef dishes to pick from. Rack of lamb and veal chops are their specialty.  If you wish to book a group, call Kay Kolbo at 702-473-9700.  They are open from 11-11.  And don’t forget Carmine’s in New York City, D.C. and Atlantic City. TOPGOLF is in 56 cities worldwide and is constantly expanding. In Las Vegas, there are four floors and 120 bays, with 13 new ones just added to the top deck. They just launched their new fall menu for dining fun during football viewings and late evenings out. A great new item is the Buffalo Chicken Dip with shredded chicken, hot sauce, sour cream, green onion, ranch, cream cheese, cheddar, Monterey Jack and breadcrumbs, all served with tortilla chips for $12. There is the Triple Dog Dare—three mini beef hot dogs: cheeseburger dog, pimento cheese dog and loaded tater tot dog for $15. We also tried a giant French Onion Burger and some Cheesy Macaroni Bites. The Frozen Orange Red Bull has Red Bull with Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, Sprite and orange juice garnished with an orange slice—a nice frozen concoction. Another new cocktail is Maker’s Spiked Cold Brew with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Tuaca Italiano Brandy, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Monin Vanilla and cold brew coffee. They are open from 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Located on Koval behind the MGM Grand, free onsite parking. 702-933-8458

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May I Recommend...

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

Photo credit: Blake Myers


By Blake Myers

In 1991, Las Vegas’ most upscale restaurants were located in, and operated by, the hotels on the Strip, just as they had been since the early days of the mega resorts. But that was soon to change after a conversation that Sheldon Gordon had with Wolfgang Puck, who had established his enormously successful restaurant, Spago, in 1982 on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. Puck already had won the prestigious James Beard Foundation “Chef of the Year” award in 1991 (and would go on to receive future James Beard honors as “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” in 1994 and “Chef of the Year” again in 1998). Gordon, who built the luxurious Forum Shops at Caesars Palace with Simon and Associates, approached Puck about opening Spago within their center, but the superstar chef initially was reluctant to consider it. However, he was persuaded eventually to take the gamble, and Spago opened in December, 1992. Wolfgang’s arrival here, as the first “celebrity chef” to open his own independent restaurant, is widely credited with being the catalyst for the avalanche of many more “superstar” restaurateurs. The procession has continued to this day, as most of the resorts now make concerted efforts to attract the restaurants of world-class chefs to their own properties. Spago became a huge success, and in subsequent years Chef Puck opened Postrio at The Venetian in 1999, Trattoria del Lupo at Mandalay Bay in 1999 and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at MGM Grand in 2004. In 2006 he introduced CUT in the prestigious Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Hollywood, and received “Restaurant of the Year” recognition the same year from Esquire magazine. Michelin awarded him One Star in 2008.

So it was a natural progression for him to expand his growing reputation here by establishing CUT at The Palazzo in June, 2008. To insure the restaurant’s success, Puck selected two members of his Spago team: Gianni Toffanello as General Manager and Roberto Garcia as Assistant General Manager. Impressively, they are still overseeing the restaurant more than eleven years later. Accomplished Executive Chef Matt Hurley has been with the Puck organization since 1995 and also came to CUT from Spago. Many decades of Puck’s success are embodied in the restaurant’s interior. It presents a sleeklymodern appearance and makes extensive use of mirrored surfaces and impressive lighting. An elegant raw bar was added to the front part of the restaurant in November, 2018 and the remainder of the restaurant also received a make-over. The extensive wine list, overseen by Wine Director Tim Wilson, has selections for virtually all tastes. Sommelier and Assistant Beverage Manager Damian Jordan estimated their holdings at 5,000-7,000 bottles worth an estimated one million dollars. Categories include: Wines by the Glass, Champagne & Sparkling, Half Bottles, Large Format Bottles, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Esoteric Whites, Chardonnay-USA, Chardonnay-France, Pinot Noir-USA, Pinot Noir-France, Esoteric Reds, Sangiovese, Super Tuscan, Nebbiolo, GrenacheFrance & Spain, Syrah-France & USA, ShirazAustralia, Tempranillo, Cabernet SauvignonUSA, Cabernet Sauvignon-France, MerlotFrance, Merlot-USA, Zinfandel, Malbec, Sweet Wines and Port and Madeira. Their corkage fee is $50. Though this is the quintessential steakhouse, the menu offers many impressive seafood selections, as well. For appetizers you’ll be

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tempted by big eye tuna “cones” with nori, micro chives and kaluga caviar; Alaskan king crab & Carolina shrimp “Louis” cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish; and Japanese Hamachi sashimi with yuzu ponzu, sliced radish, jalapeno and micro cilantro. Entrees include sautéed Dover sole “meuniere” with preserved lemon, shallots and parsley; pan roasted Stonington Maine lobster with black truffle emulsion; and crispy fried whole New Zealand tai snapper with jasmine rice, toasted garlic, chili soy and cilantro scallion salad. At some point in your meal you may wish to indulge in CUT’s distinctive selection of twelve imported and domestic artisanal cheeses as you choose from cow, goat and sheep milk varieties. The beef selections include a dazzling array of foreign and domestic sources and cuts, beginning with the Japanese pure-bred Wagyu from four distinct prefectures (regions) in Japan: Hyogo, Miyazaki, Hokkaido and Kagawa. Each has its own individuality, and as a special offmenu decadence, can be combined as an entrée. Other prime beef origins are Illinois corn-fed, aged 21 days; Nebraska dry aged 35 days; American Wagyu from Snake River Farms, Idaho and grass-fed from California. All categories provide choices of rib eyes, NY sirloins and filet mignons. Of particular note are the Larger Cuts: a 34-oz porterhouse, a 34-oz American Wagyu porterhouse and the spectacular 50-day dry aged Tomahawk rib chop at 40 oz. And you must save room for Pastry Chef Nicole Erle’s decadent desserts, such as the ingenious banana cream pie, pumpkin spice roll cake or Valrhona chocolate soufflé. Make CUT your destination and see if it isn’t a “cut” above your recent restaurant experiences.

SPIRITS CONFIDENTIAL with Max Solano London: At Top of the Cocktail World Part 3 of 4

10. Tayer - Very recently opened in 2019 by friends

Alex Kratena and Monica Berg, Tayer is the second, more serious mixology-centric bar of the two bars that comprises Tayer & Elementary. Located in the rear half of the venue, to me, the setting was more reminiscent of a bar counter placed in a kitchen space, but one cannot deny the cool, unique design. Highs: The cocktail menu, although limited in its selections compared to many of the other bars we frequented, certainly offered some delicious, thoughtful and well-executed libations. The brilliance of this menu was the uniqueness of many of the ingredients utilized. However, quite a few of their cocktails consisted of no more than four total ingredients. Cocktails were very well-priced! Lows: The menu design, itself, was very basic and showed very little love put into it and garnishing was very minimalistic.

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.

fee, they are made available for consumption mixed in your favorite libation or simply on their own… How cool is that!! Lows: Nothing special about the menu. Again, garnishing very minimalistic.

8. Sexy Fish - “Sexy” is right on!! Gorgeous space

in a bustling area! And, rumored to have the largest selection of Japanese whiskies (close to 500) under one roof outside of Japan. So, this is what Heaven looks like! Highs: The menu, itself, is an artistic showpiece. The inspiration comes from a compilation of cocktails that were gathered from pop-ups that the SF bar team had done at famous bars all over the world. The photography is also magnificent. And, the cocktails were all diverse and delicious! Lows: Again, although the cocktails were splendid, I cannot overemphasize the minimalism to nonexistence of garnishing, which I do consider! Also, as expected, the pricing for the Japanese whiskies are not for the faint of heart.

7. Coburg - This is the sister lounge bar of the worldrenowned, Connaught Bar, located immediately upon entering the hotel to the right almost in an elegant and pleasant bar-solarium setting. Highs: Basic perfected! They are not doing anything groundbreaking, but have perfected their craft. The cocktails were all symphonies on the palate. Their clarified milk punch was one of the best cocktails we had on the entire trip! Lows: Downplayed not to take away the spotlight from the Connaught Bar. The menu was a little simpler then what could have been showcased at this venue.


Connaught - What else can be said? It’s the friggin’ Connaught! There should never be a surprise to why this bar always finds itself atop of the world’s best. As a matter of fact, it was just named No. 2 in 2019’s “World’s Best Bar” list. Highs: Nearly flawless! Had we taken other elements into account such as quality and level of service and staff education, ambience, quality of food, etc. into our scoring criteria, this could have very possibly been our No. 1, overall. Also, the 9. KWĂNT - Pronounced “Quaint,” this venue menu offerings are well thought out and very deep! was not on our original list, but was highly Lows: The menu design is underwhelming for recommended by multiple locals. Come to find out the caliber and reputation of this venue. Also, the that evening, Eric Lorincz was behind the concept, price points are a little higher, as expected, but how which is a beautiful space that has many early does one justify charging £22 for a Bloody Mary? 1900’s design characteristics with some Tiki lounge Ee-gads!! touches. Highs: Quite a few highlights here! Great selection That’s it, for now, ladies and gentlemen! Next of signature cocktails and also offered some month, we wrap up our countdown with our Top vintage cocktail selections. The real highlight was 5 selections! Who will be No. 1? Stay tuned… Til the considerable collection of 1940’s-1980’s vintage then, chaps! spirits that were on display. However, for a nominal ~ Cheerio!

Photo credit: Max Solano

As we continue where we left off from last month’s Part 2 of our whirlwind three-day London cocktail experience back in August, we cracked into the countdown of bars from nos. 15 down to 11. Curiously enough, the list of the World’s Best Bars was released approximately three weeks ago, just shortly after Part 2 was published. Once again, another “Best Of” list, and yet, no explanation or concise criteria regarding that committee’s selection process… For shame!! Of course, it comes as no surprise that London bars fared very well! Just to remind you, our intent and focus were solely on the cocktail menus and cocktail offerings so specific categories we scored each venue on were: depth of the cocktail menu’s unique offerings, cocktail menu design and creativity, overall cocktail menu depth, cocktail presentation, cocktail translation (description ties to cocktail flavors and theme), cocktail balance & quality, cocktail value & lastly, level of difficulty & time of execution. Each of these categories had a specific scoring range attached to it and the three of us on our own time carefully evaluated and scored each venue. Once done, we got together, tallied our scores and discussed the results! FYI, the selection process from here on forward was very difficult and, in some, cases, scores were separated by a mere handful of points. So, without further a due, let the nos. 10 through 6 countdown commence.

By Max A. Solano

November 2019 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 27

Product Review By Bob Barnes

H2rOse Rose water is nothing new, and in fact, its use dates back to ancient history and was favored by Cleopatra and Michelangelo. Over centuries it has been used to cleanse the skin as a topical skin toner, and now it’s also appreciated as a healthy beverage, as drinking rose water also purifies the body thanks to the flavonoids, tannins and other essential vitamins it contains, namely A, C, D, E and B3. H2rOse is made of rose water, as well as saffron and other natural ingredients and along with a pleasant scent has an equally pleasant subtle flavor, in addition to additions of peach, apple, mango or wild berry, which are the three available flavors. Other bonuses are that rose water aids with the relief of occasional nervous tensions, soothes the mind and may help with a better quality sleep; and saffron, which also dates back to ancient times, eases digestion, soothes irritated stomachs, enhances your mood, reduces occasional anxiety and compulsive desires to eat. Furthermore, at only 40 calories per 16.9 oz serving, it could become addicting, in a way that is good for you.

Chivas Regal 13 Launched in 1909, Chivas Regal has a long and respected reputation for being a leading producer of blended Scotch whisky. This special edition blend, created exclusively for the US market where Manchester United has over 8 million fans, not only celebrates the team’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s record 13 Premier League titles, but brings a US angle to the table: after being aged for the symbolic 13 years, a portion is finished in American rye casks. The bottle label proclaims it as being an ultra smooth and mellow blend with sweet, delicate vanilla notes, and after tasting it I have to agree. The packaging features the team colors of red, black and white, iconic imagery of the Club and Sir Alex Ferguson’s signature in gold script. This special edition is not only a collector’s item for a football (soccer) fan, but a pleasant tribute to a Scottish/American connection and one any whisky connoisseur will appreciate.

Real McCoy 5-Year Aged Rum This rum company is named for Bill McCoy, the pioneer rum runner of the Prohibition era who would fill a boat with alcohol in the Caribbean, sail it up to NYC, and legally act as a floating liquor store in international waters three miles off shore. McCoy never adulterated the alcohol as other rum runners did, and hence his spirits became known as "The Real McCoy." In like manner, this multi-award winning collection of rum made in Barbados is also completely unadulterated, with no added sugars, flavors or perfumes, using only the finest blackstrap molasses and pure spring water to produce small batch singledistilled rum in a rare artisan combination of column and pot stills, then aged in heavy char American Oak bourbon barrels. The flagship is the 5-Year Aged, and is what I would consider a whiskey lover’s rum, for unlike most other modified rums that come off as overly sweet, since no additional sugar or flavors are added, it delivers a smooth, well-balanced texture with caramel and toasted almond on the palate. As a proclaimed whiskey lover myself, I highly recommend this aged, unmodified rum, as well as their other two expressions: the 3-Year Aged Silver Rum and 12-Year Aged Super Premium Rum.

Yatir Creek Winery A country that doesn’t get enough recognition for its quality wine is Israel, which has produced prized grapes for winemaking since the ancient days of the Judean Kingdom dating back 3,000 years. This boutique winery, founded in 2000 and located in the southern tip of the Judean Hills, recently entered the US market with two releases using grapes grown in the Yatir Forest. The Yatir Creek Judean Hills 2016, a blend of 76% Syrah, 12% Tannat and 12% Malbec grapes aged for 12 months in oak foudres and matured for two years in the bottle, displays a deep purple color, aromas reminiscent of black cherries and toasted almonds and flavors of fruit and a slightly salty and pleasant bitter finish. The Yatir Mt. Amasa White Jordean Hills 2017, a blend of 52% Viognier, 33% Chenin Blanc and 15% Roussanne grapes matured for 5 months in a combination of concrete amphorae, oak barrels and stainless steel vats, presents golden, pale-greenish hues, aromas hinting at melon and peach and flavors of lemon and pear with a refreshing finish.

28 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2019

How Chefs Are Making Kitchens a Better Place to Work Restaurateurs recognized for running healthy kitchen environments share their best practices.

After television personality and former chef Anthony Bourdain killed himself, the Wall Street Journal published the article “Reckoning with the Dark Side of the Restaurant Industry,” delving deep into chefs and restaurateurs speaking out about the stress, depression and substance abuse in the field. More and more restaurants are taking notice, and working toward ensuring employees are given tools and resources to overcome such obstacles. Worley is part of a cohort of chef-owners that have made it their mission to create kitchens that are fair, friendly and emotionally healthy places to work. “My partner and I both worked in kitchen environments in our 20s where the screaming and yelling was normalized, and it was terrible,” says Worley. “I knew I didn’t want to live like that again or be part of a business that was like that for others.” Here’s how Worley and other likeminded chefs are taking real steps to improve their kitchen culture. Offer communication training. Biscuit Love has a strict “no gossip” policy and requires that new hires take a communication training course in their first 60 days. “We define gossip as conversations about someone that you wouldn’t have to their face,” she says.  As part of onboarding, Wildflower Bread in Scottsdale, Ariz. also trains employees over the course of five weeks to use a communication tool set called Safe Space. It outlines how tone and body language are more persuasive than what is said, the importance of using “I” vs. “you” statements to avoid the blame game and the difference between stating facts and making judgements.  Level the playing field. At Biscuit Love, Worley says she makes wage levels and their accompanying job duties public. “We want all staff to see the road to advancement at the restaurant, and how they can make more money,” she says. “This cuts down on in-fighting about who is making what and why.” Likewise, Lior Hillel, the executive chef and coowner of four restaurants in Southern California (the Bacari restaurant group and Nature’s Brew), encourages every member of his staff from

photo credit: Nevada Restaurant Association

In a bustling kitchen where timing, quality and safety are everything, the charbroiler isn’t the only thing that heats up. When the rush is on, tempers can flare and tensions spike. Couple that with the job’s brisk pace and nontraditional schedule, and kitchen staff may be at risk for depression and fatigue. “There’s heavy stuff happening in restaurants,” says Sarah Worley, one of the chef/owners of Biscuit Love in Nashville, Tenn., adding that it’s not uncommon to see employees who struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues.

At 16-unit Wildflower Bread Company, Scottsdale, Ariz., crew members, known as Breadheads, receive communication training.

dishwashers to front-of-the-house managers to contribute meal ideas for the menu and pays the employee a bonus if their recipe idea is implemented. “It keeps me inspired, and it also shows that I value their opinion regardless of their position on staff,” he says. Take an empathetic approach. Hillel describes that when an employee is late, for example, communication can get explosively tense over text messages. When you read a text, you read it from your own perspective, filtering the words through your current state of mind. An innocuous message can turn into an accusatory message that the writer never intended. “We train our leaders to first take a concerned approach, asking ‘Is everything okay?’ because you never know what might have happened to the employee to make them late,” he says.  Similarly, as part of their communication training, Biscuit Love employees are coached to assume others have positive intentions when they find themselves in a difficult conversation. “It’s important to not put your feelings on someone’s else’s actions,” says Worley. Watch your tone. “I can get upset, but I don’t yell,” says Hillel. “And if I don’t yell, no one else yells. It’s unacceptable in our kitchens.” He also says there’s zero tolerance for harassment or offensive humor. “No one should feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or singled out,” he explains.  Worley says at Biscuit Love, they have a strict no-nickname policy. “We believe that names are powerful, and that identity is important, so we don’t allow anyone to put an identity on someone else,” she says.

Unite around a purpose. In order to keep up morale, particularly in a kitchen where tasks can get repetitious, offer reminders about the mission behind the work. “If you don’t have something to believe in, it can be hard to wake up and come to work every day,” says Wildflower Bread CEO Louis Basile. His staff, called Breadheads, are trained on the framework of Wildflower’s purpose: to change lives, create traditions, build community and feed the soul with passion—every time, every day.  Provide resources. Biscuit Love employs two staff-care specialists, one English-speaking and one Spanish, to assist employees with any challenges such as housing, transportation, childcare and substance abuse. “They hold regular office hours at the restaurants and will also bus tables with staff members to find out how everyone is doing,” says Worley. “It’s confidential and very solutions-based.” Join #FairKitchens. This movement, initiated by Unilever Food Solutions, sponsor of the National Restaurant Association’s Centennial, aims to help create kitchen environments where everyone supports each other. “Our vision has been to make the 17 million kitchens around the world better places to work,” says Clare Stroud, Unilever’s global lead for #FairKitchens. Over 2,000 chefs have already pledged to follow the initiative’s TEAMS code: Talk openly, Excite passion, Act as one, Make time, and Say ‘good job.’ Connect with #FairKitchens to receive staff training tools, employee resources and more tips to create a sustainable and fair workplace. Get in on the conversation and take advantage of the rich ideas being shared to enhance kitchen cultures.

November 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

November 11-13: The Restaurant Finance & Development Conference convening at Bellagio is the largest industry event that is exclusively focused on the finance side of the restaurant business. Designed for multi-unit restaurant operators and senior executives, the conference has become the “must attend” for many in the industry. November 15-17: The Cigar Aficionado Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend at The Mirage will include daytime seminars with Cigar Aficionado editors and renowned cigar makers and two Big Smoke evenings with attendees receiving premium spirits and food and 30+ premium cigars.

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Big Dog’s Brewing Company 702-368-3715

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Jay’s Sharpening Service 702-645-0049

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Designated Drivers, Inc. 877-456-7433

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Power of Love 2020 702.263.9797

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Ferarri Carano

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Roca Patron

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Keep Memory Alive Event Center

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November 16: The 17th Annual Lee’s Wine Experience will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center and will feature unlimited sampling of more than 1,000 different wines from around the world and a variety of beer, vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey and liqueurs. December 12: The Nevada Restaurant Association will hold its 37th Annual Meeting at Wynn Las Vegas during which the 2019 culinary excellence awards will be presented and the incoming 2020 officers and directors will be inducted. January 19-21: The 45th Annual Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco will offer more than 80,000 specialty foods and beverages, thousands of new products and more than 1,400 exhibitors from around the globe and sessions featuring innovative thinkers in specialty food, sustainability, commerce, and food technology.

702-645-0049 •

Mobile Service Our mobile service vans provide sharpening services on-site to even the largest resort properties, without disrupting workflow. Commercial Knife Exchange Program We furnish sharp knives to your kitchen on a weekly or biweekly rotation schedule. Equipment Sales We offer top-of-the-line knives, culinary tools, kitchen supplies and replacement parts.

W Harmon Ave Jay’s Sharpening Service

Cutting Board Resurfacing & Replacements

Arville St

March 9-12 The Catersource Show will be co-located with The Special Event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and feature everything to do with the business of catering. The combined event will bring over 500 suppliers and 8,500 professionals together to provide an unmatched opportunity to source, network and learn. If you or your company is involved in catering, or even if it isn’t, you’ll want to attend this show.

4310 W Tompkins Ave Las Vegas, NV 89103

Steak & Table Knife Re-Serration / Sharpening

W Tropicana Ave

30 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2019

IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO READ THIS AD, WE’VE MADE LITTLE TO NO PROGRESS. We slow-roast the finest 100% Weber Blue Agave for more than three days and then slowly crush it with a two-ton tahona stone wheel. The result is an earthy, complex taste that’s more than worth the wait.

The perfect way to enjoy Patrón is responsibly. Handcrafted and imported exclusively from Mexico by The Patrón Spirits Company, Las Vegas, NV. 42-45% abv.



MGM Grand Garden Arena Las Vegas, NV

Save the Date | Saturday, March 7, 2020 Mark your calendar and expect big surprises at the Power of Love® Gala.

Cuisine by Wolfgang Puck ♥ Tantalizing Cocktails Exquisite Wines ♥ Luxury Auction Items ♥ Spectacular Entertainment Celebrity Appearances ♥ Philanthropy and Camaraderie Proceeds Benefit:

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Alzheimer’s | Huntington’s | Parkinson’s | Multiple System Atrophy | Multiple Sclerosis

Seating available now: 702.263.9797 |

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The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional - November 2019  

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