I began my restaurant career in my hometown of New Orleans, at the venerable Commander's Palace. It seems like a lifetime ago: before equal opportunity, before human resources, before women were even seen in some of that city's old dining establishments. I worked in the front of the house, assisting the maitre d', taking reservations and seating guests. This was my first real-life, pay-my-own-bills kind of job, and I really enjoyed it. I quickly learned a lot about the way a restaurant works; surely one of the most important things I learned was to stay out of the kitchen, and therefore out of the chef’s way. Emeril Lagasse had recently become the restaurant's executive chef, and let's just say that he could be pretty intense. I only needed to be called out once, and was never late again to let him and his staff know the number of guests we were expecting for the following day's brunch.
After putting in my time at Commander's, I floated around the country for a while, learning the basics of cooking in quite a few odd jobs before deciding it was time to go back to school. I went to Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., and after I finished the culinary program, I stayed on as a teaching assistant, and later as a fellow. I had finally found what I wanted to do for a living.
I returned to New Orleans and began my kitchen tenure with Emeril. In a little over 13 years, I have gone from an entry-level cook position to chef of his biggest restaurant to date.
Some days I drive to work, and am floored anew at the fact that I live and work in Las Vegas. Friends and family seem to feel the same way. They ask me, "How do you live in one of the hottest places on earth? Do you ever get used to the bells and whistles and clanking change? Where do you get your 'culture'? Do you gamble?"
Most of the time I drive right past the casinos without even looking at them. They've become just another set of high-rise buildings, like any other downtown. I park my car in the employee lot and start the march with thousands of other employees into the Venetian Hotel. After riding an elevator, walking across a bridge, going through a security checkpoint and navigating the back halls of the resort I finally arrive at Delmonico Steakhouse. The restaurant is the reason why I live and work in Las Vegas. It's my home away from home, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts, ideas and questions about this crazy life of fine food and wine.
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — August 28, 2007 3:13pm ET
John Miller — Windsor, CA — August 28, 2007 3:41pm ET
Stan Hagan — auburn alabama — August 28, 2007 4:51pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — August 28, 2007 8:35pm ET
Richard Asato — Honolulu, Hawaii — August 29, 2007 2:30am ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — August 30, 2007 1:56pm ET
Dana D'anzi — August 30, 2007 4:00pm ET
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