Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

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Chef Q + A:

Eight questions with Sammy Hagar

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IS Photography/ImagesofVegas.com

Karina Smirnoff and Sammy Hagar at Carnival du Vin in the Palazzo.

The Carnivale du Vin brought together many of the top chefs in the country: Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Bradley Ogden… most of the big names were at the Venetian this weekend.

The Sun caught up with eight of the culinary heavyweights and asked them eight questions, including their take on their signature dishes, restaurant trends, favorite kitchen gadgets, and what they would have for dinner if they had just one last supper to enjoy.

Chef #6: Sammy Hagar

How many restaurants do you currently have?

All together, I think seven … soon to be 10.

What would you say your signature dish is? What defines you as a chef?

I'm a pasta guy. I'm a Mexican food guy and Italian but I can make a great pasta with porcini mushrooms. I really, really can make a mean ass porcini pasta and I like linguine personally, it's my favorite noodle. But I also have Sammy's Wabo's shrimp which is kind of a signature dish at all (my Cabo Wabo Cantina restaurants). (That'd be Sammy's Tequila Shrimp, which is jumbo shrimp sautéed with garlic and serrano chile.)

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

This morning I had porcini mushrooms sautéed in a little bit of bacon fat because I fried bacon first, applewood smoked bacon, and then I fried my porcinis in there … and then toast, no butter … sourdough French bread from San Francisco, then two eggs, not over easy, seared – you cook them (covered) with the lid at high heat and the heat cooks the top and they turn white – and white pepper and salt. And orange juice and black coffee, orange juice split halfway with bubbly water… (laughs) I knew I was going to be busy all day and I wasn't going to eat until tonight.

What is your favorite food-related trend right now?

Tapas and small bites. I love, not necessarily tapas, I don't want to use that word because it's not necessarily Spanish food in general that I love, it's small plates. I like just one wonderful little thing. I can go into a place … and have 10, 15 different things instead of just a plate with a side of vegetables. It's the future of fine dining.

What would you have at your last supper?

I'd have to have, of course, some grilled porcini, I'd also have to have, probably some osso buco, veal, with the marrow, … with maybe a saffron linguine, and I'd have, maybe a 75 Vega Sicilia Unico with that.

Who would cook it?

Me or Mario (Batali)

What is your favorite Vegas-based restaurant (other than your own)?

Be careful, now, I have too many friends there. I've got to plead the fifth here. I love Emeril's place and Mario's place that (are) across from each other right here at the Venetian. … Those guys are just my two best friends in the world. I come here and have appetizers at one, and with the chef, Mario himself, we go over to Emeril's or vice versa.

What's your favorite kitchen gadget?

Straight up, a pair of tongs. I can do anything with a set of tongs.

Next Chef: Nancy Silverton

Jump to: Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Bradley Ogden, Kerry Simon, Sammy Hagar, Nancy Silverton, Mark Tarbell.