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October 24, 2014

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Food:

Lake Las Vegas chef revels in all things Titanic, will re-create ship’s last meal

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Sam Morris

Owner and executive chef of Bernard’s Bistro, E. Bernard Tordjman, is seen in his restaurant Friday, April 6, 2012.

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The liner Titanic leaves Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage April 10, 1912.

Map of Bernard’s Bistro

Bernard’s Bistro

15 Via Bel Canto, Suite 100, Henderson

When the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, its cargo contained, among other things, 75,000 pounds of fresh meat, 40,000 eggs and 40 tons of potatoes.

Unfortunately, most of that food never made it to the table, as the famously “unsinkable” ship perished in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg four days into its journey.

But ever since the ship’s demise, aspiring chefs have sought to re-create the gourmet delicacies served in the first-class dining cabin, which set a standard for luxury in the early 20th century.

For Eric Bernard Tordjman, head chef at Bernard’s Bistro at Lake Las Vegas, the quest to recapture the essence of the Titanic and its decadent menu is personal. His grandfather, also a chef, worked for the French company Fauchon, one of the Titanic’s food suppliers, according to Tordjman. In 1952, his grandfather served his own version of the Titanic’s menu at a dinner party at the Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles, France.

Tordjman carries on his grandfather’s spirit through his Lake Las Vegas restaurant. He began serving weekly dinners with dishes drawn from the Titanic’s menu last June and is preparing an extravagant evening of food and music to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking this weekend.

“People love to relive the past,” the 76-year-old chef said. “These dishes have been forgotten, but we’re bringing them back.”

An avid fan of all things Titanic, Tordjman has visited the ship’s artifact exhibit at the Luxor three times.

“It’s beautiful,” he said.

Tordjman’s cozy lakeside restaurant is chock-full of nautical décor, including a full-size wooden ship’s wheel, a small replica of the Titanic’s bow and a White Star Line rotary dial phone.

Saturday’s dinner will be at the Ravella hotel due to forecasted rain that could close the patio at Bernard’s Bistro. Tordjman plans to transfer the ambiance from his restaurant to the Ravella and then some, adding live music — including a performance of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from the “Titanic” film — and an after-dinner champagne cruise around the lake, where a memorial wreath will be dropped to commemorate the ship’s sinking.

The six-course menu, at $100 a plate, will feature dishes re-created from the Titanic and infused with Tordjman’s style.

“Every dish has a story,” Tordjman said. “I love to introduce some 21st-century novelty into the dishes. There’s going to be more flair, more truffles, more caviar.”

Diners will start with an amuse bouche of marinated shrimp or smoked salmon before moving onto Consomme Olga — named after a woman who reputedly inspired the dish — and an asparagus salad. Entrees include takes on filet mignon topped with foie gras, brandy-glazed roast duck and vegetable marrow farci with rose dressing.

“Every dish is going to be special,” Tordjman said. “I’m putting all my energy into them.”

Saturday’s dinner begins at 7 p.m., and seats are still available. They can be reserved by calling 565-1155. For those who miss out on this weekend’s dinner, Bernard’s Bistro serves up dishes inspired by the Titanic every Thursday night.

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