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"Wynning & Dining"

A Sneak Peek at the Wynn Las Vegas Roster of Star Chefs

By Charlette Krane

After much anticipation, the Wynn Las Vegas has finally opened its doors. Elaine and Steve Wynn’s newest masterpiece is a dining mecca of on-premises chefs, featuring a slew of big names like Daniel Boulud and Stephen Kalt.

The extraordinary talent from across the nation and around the world was wooed to the resort by the five-year commitment of Vice President of Food & Beverage Kevin Stuessi, Executive Vice President of Restaurant Marketing and Development Elizabeth Blau and Executive Chef Grant MacPherson. Along with luring the fine-dining restaurants to Bellagio in the late 1990s, Stuessi and Blau had recruited MacPherson from Singapore’s Raffles to be its executive chef.

Persuaded by the dynamic trio to join Wynn Las Vegas from Bellagio are Alessandro Stratta, executive chef of his namesake restaurant, Alex, displaying his expertise in French technique combined with Mediterranean ingredients and flavors; Mark LoRusso, executive chef of Tableau featuring his signature “Haute American” cuisine; Hisham Johari, executive chef of Red 8, the resort’s Asian eatery, specializing in his Malaysian cuisine, as well as Thai, Indonesian and Cantonese; and Marc Poidevin, Executive Chef of Catering and Special Events, working with Director of Catering Tom Cook, former Bellagio Director of Catering. Stratta, LoRusso, Johari and Poidevin presided, respectively, over the kitchens of Bellagio’s Renoir, Michael Mina (formerly named Aqua), Noodles and Le Cirque.

Daniel Boulud

Chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud, world-renowned for his Daniel in New York, brings his mastery of French cuisine to Daniel Boulud Brasserie, a collaboration with Executive Chef Philippe Rispoli, who perfected his craft at Charlie Palmer’s Las Vegas Aureole. Presiding over Okada, the resort’s Japanese restaurant named for a Wynn partner, is innovative executive chef Takashi Yagihashi, whose culinary style is an imaginative blend of French techniques, Japanese influences and American ingredients.

Chef Paul Bartolotta, who honed his skills working with acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs such as French master Paul Bocuse, as well as in Chicago’s Spiaggia and his own Milwaukee eatery, Ristorante Bartolotta, brings his signature flair for contemporary Italian coastal cuisine to Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare.

Considered an ambassador of Catalan and Mediterranean cooking, Stephen Kalt, who refined his art in the kitchens of some of the world’s most prestigious chef-restaurateurs (including Daniel Boulud, Jean-Louis Palladin, Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck and Jean-Georges Vongerichten), brings his deft touch to Stratta, Wynn Las Vegas’ stylish Mediterranean restaurant. Stratta’s guests can enjoy creative, casual Mediterranean fare in a festive, yet chic atmosphere.

Richard Chen, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, is the executive chef of the resort’s upscale Chinese restaurant Wing Lei, which, in addition to being the Chinese translation for Wynn, means “forever prosperous.” The former Shanghai Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago’s critically acclaimed chef de cuisine offers his signature fare, which successfully marries traditional Chinese classics with Western ingredients and techniques.

Wynn Las Vegas executive pastry chef Frédéric Robert has made his mark all over the world, especially for the last 15 years working in all of Alain Ducasse’s establishments including Monte Carlo’s Le Louis XV at the Hotel de Paris. For 13 of those years, he has been in charge of all of the pastries, desserts and breads. Chef Robert who co-authored, with Ducasse, the cookbook, Grand Livre de Cuisine d'Alain Ducasse: Desserts et Patisserie, will also launch a line of gourmet chocolates for his signature shop, Chocolat, at the new resort.

Wynn Las Vegas Director of Wine Danielle Price spent nearly seven years as corporate wine director managing the wine programs for all of the many restaurants in the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. Kevin Stuessi has been a key strategist in the design and development of the 22 unique food and beverage venues in Wynn Las Vegas. Elizabeth Blau’s instincts as a culinary trend forecaster and comprehensive knowledge of the culinary community have made her one of the restaurant industry’s leading voices.

Together with the Wynns, this team’s accomplishments are sure to revolutionize the Las Vegas Strip’s dining scene—again.

Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, 702-770-7000, 877-770-7077,

(Updated: 04/05/11 CT)

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