Vegas Chefs’ Obsessions

Chefs on the Las Vegas Strip may have the world's most high-tech kitchens, but many of their go-to tools and ingredients are simple, creative solutions that would come in handy for any cook.

Pascal Sanchez, chef de cuisine at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, uses a repurposed perfume atomizer for a last-minute tableside spritz of raspberry liqueur and vodka on a macaron. And it's great for spraying flavorful oils on dishes where a light touch is required--ceviche, for instance, or delicate salads. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
In order to whip up foam garnishes, Le Cirque executive chef Gregory Pugin relies on a battery-powered cappuccino whisk, which is also great for whisking sauces in portions too small for an immersion blender. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
Steve Benjamin, executive chef of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, keeps his culinary tweezers at the ready for artful arrangements of ingredients, but home cooks will find them super useful for everything from boning fish to decorating cakes. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
Jason Neve, culinary director of Mario Batali's Vegas restaurants, swears by his inexpensive, unglazed Milton Brook mortar and pestle for pestos and spice pastes: its surface is just the right amount of rough, and the porcelain is sturdy enough to hold up to years of pounding. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
In addition to tools, Vegas chefs have their go-to ingredients, and surprising ways of using them. Take Rick Moonen of RM Seafood, who has been adding fermented black garlic, with its raisinlike sweetness and subtle earthiness, to sauces for sweet seafood, like lobster. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
At Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Paul Bartolotta turns rosemary sprigs into brushes, which leave behind the flavor of the herb when he uses them to brush olive oil onto fish and meat. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
At Tao, Michael Armstrong reaches for shichimi togarashi, a Japanese mix of dried chile, nori, citrus peel, and sesame seeds (among other things), to bring bright and savory flavors to everything from tempuras to tuna tartare. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
Cured meats are a major mainstay up and down the Strip. At Public House, Anthony Meidenbauer chops buttery, rosemary- and juniper-strewn Iberico de Bellota lardo into pate and also serves it sliced on grilled bread; the cured pork fat from acorn foraging pigs carries the flavor of the herbs and lends a slightly nutty aroma to everything it touches, whether raw or cooked. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »
David Walzog at SW Steakhouse drizzles the sweet, thick finishing vinegar Noble Tonic 05, lush with notes of caramel, maple, and vanilla, over beet salad, but it's just as good over cured meats, cheese, and ice cream. Back to Vegas Chefs' Obsessions »

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