Project Dinner Table
Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 | 9:38 p.m.
Hot off the grill! Steve Wynn’s restaurant consultant Elizabeth Blau, who also is “Iron Chef” winner Kerry Simon’s business partner, is opening a rival restaurant, and both men have given it their blessing. Elizabeth and chef husband Kim Canteenwalla (Society Cafe in Steve’s Encore) will open Honey Salt next month in the former Nora’s Wine Bar space on Fort Apache in Summerlin.
Over the weekend, Elizabeth and Kim were in Santa Barbara and Ojai in California shooting photos at the farms that will supply Honey Salt, and the pictures will become the murals of the new restaurant. Chef Joe Zanelli, who was at Lakeside Grill in the Wynn since it opened, will be the executive chef. He has known Kim from their days together at the Mansion in MGM Grand.
Elizabeth told me: “The restaurant is going to be exactly how we entertain at home. We have shopped antique stores all over to buy what is all a labor of love. We wanted fun, and so since we’ve had a few arguments over everything from water glasses to plates, we decided on Honey Salt because it’s so difficult getting a great name for a new restaurant. Kim is the salt, and I’m the honey, obviously!
“The menu is American comfort food, farm to table with both of our own home recipes. Think of it as a casual, family-friendly place. We have lived here for 14 years now and done every restaurant on the Strip. But in our neighborhoods, we have lots of chain restaurants, and we wanted to create our one with a lot of charm, great food and fresh from the farm. Steve and Kerry gave the project their blessing, and Steve said he’d join us on opening night. Kim will still run Society.”
CLINTON SIGNS JOSE: Celebrity chefs across America are signing up for a new program by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hoping to help with themed menus for foreign dignitaries in an attempt to influence diplomatic relations. Clinton has just inducted 80 top chefs into the first American Chef Corps, including Jose Andres of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and the upcoming SLS in the former Sahara.
The chefs will prepare meals here for diplomats and heads of state and also go overseas to U.S. Embassies as part of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership. Jose and his peers will wear a Navy jacket with the American flag and their names embroidered in gold as a state chef. Said Jose: “We can showcase America’s many diverse offerings and prove we are more than hot dogs and burgers. Food sends a message. I’m using Louisiana Gulf shrimp to send a signal of support to fishermen recovering from the hurricanes down there.”
SAN GENNARO FEAST: Since opening night of the 33rd Annual San Gennaro Feast falls on Sept. 11, organizers will honor military, first responders, veterans, FBI, Homeland Security, police and firefighters by reducing admission to $5. This year’s feast is being held at Silverton Casino Lodge.
Entertainment director and host Tony Sacca will present his new program “Las Vegas Sings for America” featuring Clint Holmes and Jasmine Trias. During the festival’s six-day run, there will be 70 food booths, games, arts and crafts and entertainment each night through Sunday.
NEW BACCHANAL BUFFET: It’s a $17 million gastronomic gamble: Construction is completed, the staff is trained, and now the food awaits preparation. Caesars Palace opens its highly anticipated Bacchanal Buffet on Tuesday. There will be more than 500 food items in the sophisticated, unique space with nine globally inspired live kitchens. Check out the media preview, posted last month, of the 25,000-square-foot decadence for 600 diners -- said to be the biggest buffet in America if not the world.
EMERIL’S UNLV BOSS: “Kick It Up a Notch” chef Emeril Lagasse has appointed a UNLV graduate as his new director of operations for four Las Vegas restaurants: Delmonico Steakhouse, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, Table 10 and Lagasse’s Stadium. Restaurant veteran Mike Olsen will lead the culinary, employee and service operations.
Mike attended UNLV from 1992 to 1996 and was hired as a waiter at Fish House, moving up to eventually spend nine years as GM of Delmonico. Incidentally, Delmonico hosts a wine cellar sale starting Sept. 17 for six days.
Buon appetito! Later in the week, we’ll have opening-night celebrations of Allegro at the Wynn with its gregarious chef Enzo Febbraro.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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