Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 | 3:04 p.m.
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
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.