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Food & Drink

Top Chefs Heating Up The Culinary Scene In Las Vegas

August 8, 2012 11:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Las Vegas may be known for its many celebrity chefs—Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsay, Emeril Lagasse…the list goes on and on—but the city is also home to plenty of rising culinary stars. From up-and-coming chefs who’ve been trained by the best to those redefining the way people think about certain types of cuisine, here are five chefs who are heating up Las Vegas’ culinary scene with their delectable creations. Forget about Bravo’s “Top Chef”—we’ve got the next generation of celebrity chefs right here.

Trendy Chef: Mike Minor
Border Grill – at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 632-7403
bordergrill.com

Price: Chicken poblano enchiladas $24 for lunch and $26 for dinner, Baja ceviche $15

Border Grill may be known as much for its celebrity chef owners (Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales”) as for its bold flavors, however, executive chef Mike Minor also deserves some credit with making Border Grill one of the most beloved Mexican restaurants in town. One of the city’s trendiest chefs, Minor creates new, innovative dishes daily using seasonal ingredients. Having studied regional cuisine in Oaxaca and Michoacán, Mexico, Minor’s mouth-watering creations are inspired by traditional Mexican and Latin flavors. Next time you’re at the restaurant (which overlooks the lazy river just off Mandalay Beach, making it an ideal summertime dining destination), be sure to try Minor’s Baja ceviche—shrimp, lime-marinated sustainable seasonal fish, jalapeño, tomato and cilantro aioli—or his tasty chicken poblano enchiladas made with smoked chicken, handmade corn tortillas, poblano crema, grilled corn, wild mushrooms and charred poblano chiles.

Related: Best Mexican Food in Las Vegas

Up-and-Coming Chef: Todd Harrington
Central Michel Richard – at Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 650-5921
centrallv.com

Price: French toast crème brûlée $17, crab cake & leek tartare $15, matzo onion soup $12

As the executive chef of the only 24/7 restaurant in the world helmed by a James Beard Award-winning chef, Todd Harrington may barely be 30, but he’s definitely a chef to watch. His eagerness to learn, proven prowess at team leadership and dynamic flair for contemporary, palate-pleasing fare caught the attention of Michel Richard, who personally selected Harrington to choreograph his Las Vegas kitchen’s day-to-day operations. No stranger to Caesars Palace, Harrington was previously the senior chef tournant at Nero’s Steakhouse and later the executive chef at Augustus Café (where Central Michel Richard now resides). Although Harrington stays true to Richard’s famous creations for the most part, the menu at the Las Vegas Central does feature several of Harrington’s own dishes that Richard gave his blessing on. Must-tries include the French toast crème brûlée for breakfast and the matzo onion soup (a twist on Richard’s signature onion soup) and crab cake & leek tartare with ginger aioli for lunch or dinner.

Most Eligible Bachelor Chef: David Middleton
Marché Bacchus French Bistro and Wine Shop
2620 Regatta Drive #106
Las Vegas, NV 89128
(702) 804-8008
marchebacchus.com

Price: Crispy skin maple leaf duck breast $30, heirloom tomato salad $13

One of Las Vegas’ most versatile (and eligible) chefs, David Middleton has worked in some of the city’s most notable kitchens. Before joining the culinary staff at Marché Bacchus in October of 2011, Middleton served as the executive sous chef at Scarpetta inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the chef tournant at Alex inside Wynn Las Vegas and the sous chef at David Burke inside The Venetian. He’s worked alongside James Beard Award-winning chefs Alex Stratta and David Burke and was handpicked for the position at Marché Bacchus by Stratta, who serves as the restaurant’s consulting chef for its food and wine programs. Able to cook a variety of cuisines, Middleton incorporates classic French and Italian techniques in all of his dishes at Marché Bacchus. Two of his most scrumptious selections are the crispy skin maple leaf duck breast—duck breast, fennel-Pernod cream, orange braised fennel, port candied pearl onions, cara cara oranges and a black pepper-coriander duck jus—and the heirloom tomato salad made with burrata cheese, roasted corn, tomato cloud and black garlic crisp. Coupled with the picturesque view of Lake Jacqueline, diners have a meal to remember.

Related: Best Wine Bars In Las Vegas

Rising-Star Chef: Devin Hashimoto
Mizumi – Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 248-3463
wynnlasvegas.com

Price: Okonomiyaki $24, 72-hour braised American Wagyu short rib $65, seafood Inaniwa pasta $35

When Mizumi opened its doors to the public on May 4, it not only introduced a taste of new Japan to the Strip, but also introduced Las Vegas to its newest rising-star chef: Devin Hashimoto. Serving sophisticated Japanese cuisine, Mizumi’s menu is a reflection of Hashimoto’s mastery of Japanese cuisine and includes traditional dishes such as okonomiyaki—a Japanese pancake made with shrimp, scallops, cabbage, tonkatsu sauce, creamy mustard, aonori and katsuo—alongside unique creations that pay homage to the executive chef’s Japanese heritage. Signature dishes include the 72-hour braised American Wagyu short rib with creamy satsuma potatoes, fava bean, shitake ragout and red wine miso sauce and the seafood Inaniwa pasta with scallops, king crab, octopus, roasted tomatoes, shiso, lime and uni butter sauce. One bite and guests will instantly be transported to the Far East—no passport required.

Best-Kept Secret Chef: K.C. Fazel
TENDER Steak & Seafood – at Luxor
3900 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 262-4852
luxor.com

Price: Wild game tasting $36, American Kobe chili Texas style $8, charcuterie and deli meats $14

Classically trained by chef Tom Colicchio, K.C. Fazel is one of Las Vegas’ best-kept secrets when it comes to the city’s top chefs. A chef that’s truly passionate about food, Fazel uses farm-fresh ingredients in his dishes and is known for the different cuts of beef he serves on TENDER’s menu. While a quality steakhouse is nothing out of the ordinary on the Strip, what makes Fazel stand apart from other steakhouse chefs is the unique dishes he serves, like the wild game tasting entrée with nilgai antelope osso buco, axis venison medallion and wild boar loin with farro, fig chutney and huckleberry demi-sauce. Other memorable selections include the American Kobe chili Texas style made with Kobe beef, smoked bacon and beer and the charcuterie and deli meats platter featuring duck ham, wild boar sausage, hot coppa, finochietta, bresaola and antelope pastrami.

When she’s not interviewing some of Hollywood’s biggest celebs, Heather Turk can often be found visiting some of Las Vegas’ most popular restaurants and spas for Examiner.com. She also covers the Las Vegas market for a variety of other media outlets, including Allegiant Air’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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