Sunday, January 24, 2010

The CUISINEIST's kitchen demonstrates three basic knife skills. Allumette , Bunouse and Julienne


Art is a part of the culinary arts and your knife is your brush. Of course, no one's going to take out a ruler and measure your knife cuts in your own kitchen.










But sloppy knife work can make for a sloppy-looking dish. Skilled knife skills shows that you care and take pride in your dishes. It's a way of paying a compliment to whoever you're serving the dish to by saying to them, "You're worth the trouble."

Consistent cutting technique ensures your food is cooked to a uniform degree of doneness. The Cuisineist's kitchens went to work and chose three basic knife skills we should all master in time. Allumette , Bunouse and Julienne . Practicing our knife skills every time we are in the kitchen makes us better cooks so lets get started.




ALLUMETTE

The first step in making an allumette cut (prounced al-yoo-MET) is to cut your product into ½-inch slices and 2½ to 3 inches long. Then square off the edges, and then you're going to cut them in half lengthwise, giving you several flat pieces, ½ inch wide and ¼ inch thick.
Now since they're flat, you can stack a few of them up -- maybe 3 or 4 at a time. Using the tip of your chef's knife slice the whole stack right down the middle and continue lowering the tip of the blade through the entire length and thickness of the stack. Then you have it !



BUNOUSE


Bunouse is a small dice cut of 1/8 inch cubes, typically of vegetables. Brunoised vegetables are the tiniest of cuts. The formal-looking little squares add color and elegance to dishes. First cut a flat surface on each of the vegetable’s four sides, making a rectangle shape. Now cut 1/8-inch thick slices, lengthwise. Then stack the vegetable rectangles flat, one on top of the other, and repeat the 1/8-inch thick, lengthwise slices. Turn the vegetable stick at a 90-degree angle and cut once again, into 1/8-thick slices. The result will be beautiful !




JULIENNE



A julienne (also called a "matchstick") is a type of cut that makes a long thin strip. It's a good technique to use for vegetables and other ingredients when you want to heighten their presentation. Peel the skin from the vegetable if necessary then Trim away any root or stem parts.
Cut the edible part of the vegetable into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Cut around the seeds if necessary. The last step is to cut these slices into even strips 1/4-inch thick. A few tips to remember are ,
  • The ideal julienne cut is about two inches long
  • Save any scraps for vegetable stock or to use in other recipes.
  • You can use julienned vegetables as a garnish, or use them as a substitute for chopped vegetables in your favorite recipe for a different look.
  • A sharp, non-serrated kitchen knife makes the best cuts. Avoid serrated knives, which "saw" through food.
Gourmet cooking , especially knife skills takes practice to perfect them. Over time they will become second nature and your dishes will look that much better. Now , lets get cooking.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Join The Cuisineist and 50 Celebrated Chefs for Vegas Uncork'd May 6-9 2010 in Las Vegas


Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit Celebrates the World of
Culinary Arts May 6-9, 2010

More than 30 Events Headlined by 50 Celebrated Chefs Including Paul Bartolotta,

Alain Ducasse, Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck and Joël Robuchon

Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit, one of the fastest-growing epicurean events in the United States, will be held May 6-9 in Las Vegas, coinciding with this year’s Mother’s Day weekend. The four-day fête features new events, new chefs and a diverse and richly enhanced program with the ultimate who’s who in the food world, celebrating the status of Las Vegas as an international gastronomic destination.

In 2009, Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit experienced record attendance across the board—featuring an increase in participating chefs, new business partners and sponsors, and a 17 percent spike in ticket sales year over year. Building on that momentum, this year will feature more than 30 events blending the worlds of food, gaming and entertainment in the distinct way that makes Las Vegas so memorable.

The playground for Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit is destination wide and features this year’s anchor partner resorts, each of which offers an enviable roster of on-site restaurants and in-house chefs: Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Wynn | Encore. Joining the lineup for the first time this year as an associate partner is The Venetian | The Palazzo. The event’s charitable partner is the Three Square Food Bank, which is dedicated to providing wholesome food to hungry people, while passionately pursuing a hunger-free community.

“Due to its extraordinary cuisine and its international draw, Las Vegas is a global destination that offers wonderful fun in a unique setting,” said Bon Appétit Vice President and Publisher Paul Jowdy. “Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit is a perfect opportunity to see the breadth of Las Vegas with its celebrity chefs and exquisite resorts paving the way.”

Sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit is designed to celebrate Las Vegas’ ranking as the world’s most exciting culinary destination. “Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit celebrates our culinary scene in a way unique to Las Vegas,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing, LVCVA. “It appeals to visitors drawn to top-tier epicurean experiences as well as the world-class resort atmosphere Las Vegas offers.”

“2009 was an extremely successful year for the program in a difficult economic climate,” said Rob O’Keefe, executive director of Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit. “Each year the program continues to build off its own momentum. As we enter into our fourth annual event, the growth continues as our partners and consumers spread the word that the combination of Las Vegas and its top culinary talent presents an epicurean festival not to be missed.”

Highlights of this year’s Vegas Uncork’d Presented by Bon Appétit schedule, which includes many new events, follow:

· Culinary Conversation with Chef Wolfgang Puck – New to the program this year, Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild holds a tête-à-tête at Bellagio’s Fontana Lounge with the icon that created the world of the celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. Together, they trace the growth of Las Vegas as an international gastronomic destination.


· Masters’ Series Dinners –This event will be hosted at Caesars Palace with Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill, Bradley Ogden at Bradley Ogden, Restaurant Guy Savoy with Guy Savoy and Rao’s with Carla Pellegrino.


· Masters’ Series Luncheons – Brand new to the line up this year are luncheons at The Venetian | The Palazzo with Wolfgang Puck at CUT, David Burke with David Burke, Restaurant Charlie with Charlie Trotter and Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino with Luciano Pellegrini and Piero Selvaggio.


Ultimate All-Star Interactive Luncheon – Step into the kitchen and play sous-chef to an all-star lineup of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas chefs at this incredibleinteractive luncheon at Wynn | Encore with Paul Bartolotta, Frédéric Robert, Alex Stratta and David Walzog.


· Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace – A delectable evening featuring 50 restaurants and 50 vintners at the wildly expanded, five-acre Garden of the Gods pool complex at Caesars Palace.


· Better by the Bay with Alain Ducasse and Charlie Palmer – Dine under the stars with a beachside barbecue at Mandalay Bay’s 11-acre tropical water environment and 1.6 million gallon wave pool. Enjoy an East Coast-inspired menu from Charlie Palmer and tastes from coastal France created by Alain Ducasse. Beach attire required. New to the program this year.


· Chef’s Table with Alain Ducasse – New to the event lineup this year is a seat at the table with Chef Alain Ducasse, considered to be one of the most renowned French chefs of his generation, at miX, high atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. For the first time ever, a small group of Vegas Uncork’d guests will join him as he conducts his seasonal menu changes.


· Fashion Feast: A Delicious Evening of Style and Taste at BellagioHaute cuisine meets savory couture––intricate details, impeccable lines and quality down to the last accessory on and off the plate. This event will deliver front row access to the most celebrated Bellagio chefs and the hottest Via Bellagio designers, while you indulge in a delectable five-course dinner accompanied by wine pairings selected by Bellagio's Wine Director and Master Sommelier Jason Smith. New to the program this year.


· Celebrity Chef Blackjack – Try your luck poolside at Encore with icons of the culinary world such as Bobby Flay, Charlie Palmer, Joël Robuchon, Alex Stratta, Kim Canteenwalla and Carlos Guia. Afterward, the excitement continues at the spectacular XS nightclub.


· Wine Immersion Experience at Bellagio – Want to know what the numbers really mean? Gain a better understanding of wine scores and ratings at a behind-the-scenes panel discussion hosted by Bellagio’s Wine Director and Master Sommelier Jason Smith at Jasmine.


· Payard Pâtisserie and Bistro Tea & Dessert Demonstration at Caesars Palace – Celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with a unique and scrumptious glimpse into the technique of this celebrated chef and his classic Parisian pastry shop. New to the program this year.


· Culinary Theatre: Two Master Chefs CollideRick Moonen of rm Seafood Cafe and Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys and Burger Bar have mastered the art of entertainment––both in the kitchen and on the stage. As they prepare their favorite signature dishes and "dish" about each other, you’ll enjoy their delicious creations with a side of comedy and a cocktail or two. New to the program this year.


· Mother’s Day Brunch at L’Atelier at MGM Grand – Join Barbara Fairchild and Chef Joël Robuchon for an unforgettable celebration of mom on her special day. New to the program this year.

Many of these events are already on sale. To purchase tickets and to see more information about this year’s event lineup, please visit www.VegasUncorked.com. There, you may also opt in to receive information about additional events as they are added to the schedule.

Last years event was probably the most all encompassing event that we have covered in years. This year's Vegas Uncork'd should be the best yet !

BON APPETIT !

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Cuisineist welcomes Executive Chef James Aptakin as a contributing Chef and he shares a receipe for Spanish Short Ribs










The Cuisineist welcomes Executive Chef James Aptakin as a contributing Chef. We have had the pleasure to meet this talented young Chef and enjoy his culinary artistry. When in the Napa / Sonoma area he is worth looking up.


Executive Chef James Aptakin was born in Miami, FL, and picked up South American, Spanish influences of food growing up. He has worked in various restaurants in Miami. James joined the Navy after high school, traveling the world on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), cooking for 6,000 people.

James has over 18 years experience in the culinary world. James pursued his education at the California Culinary Academy and Culinary Institute Of America. He has made California his home for the past 16 years, picking up Hawaiian cuisine and all Pan Pacific styles; infusing all his passion into his own creations making him a pioneer of New World cuisine.

James has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, radio shows, TV, and now on the Travel channel, and Food Network where he made history for the first time on the show.

James has won numerous awards, first place finishes, and local Iron Chef competitions in the Northern California area. James is a local celebrity Chef of Napa and Solano county. He is also well known for his charity work in the community, and gives his time to make a difference helping others. James is the Co-producer for Chefs for Charity.




CHEF JAMES APTAKIN RECIPE

SPANISH STYLE SHORT RIBS

yields 10 people

Ingredients

Portions

Measurements

Cooking Oil

1/4

c

Boneless Short Ribs

10

#

Diced Onion lg

1

Ea Medium

Celery Stalks sm dice

5

ea

Carrots lg sm dice

2

ea

Leeks cut 3inch bottom cut 1/2

1

Ea julienne

Green bell pepper sm dice

2

Ea med

Minced Shallot

1

tbs

Minced Garlic

1

tbs

Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

1

Ea Medium

Cumin

4

tbs

Kosher salt


To taste

White pepper


To taste

Red Wine

1

C

Veal stock or beef

5

c

Bay leaf

1

ea

crushed tomatoes

3

c

Fresh tomatoes quartered

3

ea

Tomato paste

4

tbs

Chipotle pepper (can) minced

2

Ea peppers

Options :

Corn Ear (or canned equivalent)

2

Ea

Black Beans (soaked overnight , cooked or canned)

1

C

Spanish olives pitted

6

ea

Pot. Yukon, purple Peruvian, yucca 1/4

5

ea


*Heat oil on high in a large stock pot or lg roasting pan. Place ribs fat side down, season, the other side heavy with salt, pepper, ½ the cumin. Caramelize for 8 minutes till golden brown crispy crust forms, turn over and caramelize the other side for another 8 minutes. Take out of pan, set aside. In same roasting pan, cook Sofrito; placing the celery, onions, peppers, leeks, shallots for 5 minutes till caramelized. Add garlic, carrots, and stir for about 3 minutes, deglaze with red wine, reduce for 5 minutes. Add Veal or beef stock (you can use already made ones, or do ½ chicken, and ½ beef for a lighter color stew). Add fresh tomatoes, crushed, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Use the rest of the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. When stew comes to a boil, simmer, cover and place in oven at 325 for 3 hours, till meat falls off the bone. Make sure to pre cook, potatoes, quartering them, cooked black beans, and raw corn is ok. Add all of these with the Spanish olives when 20 min is left for the stew, so all ingredients are heated through, and full of beautiful flavors.

Serve with Spanish rice, or steamed white rice, add caramelized plantains for sweetness.

Cooking tip:

You can use any potatoes, you want, purple Peruvian, gives it more exotic flare, as well as Yucca which is a root used in the Caribbean. You can use all or just 1 kind in this dish. Using many gives better eye appeal as well as layers of flavor.

You can add a nice demi, or gravy if you like thicker stews, or flour the meat before searing. You can use boneless, but the bones is what helps, thicken your stew and add intense richness and flavor to the dish. You can substitute Pork, with beef short ribs, or use chicken for same dish, only cooking for 1 hour. This dish is warm, hearty, comfort foods, of South American, and vibrant palette and eye appeal hunger that will place you in an amazing mind set of goodness. My favorite meal to eat any time of year brings me back to home.

On the road in San Diego, the Cuisineist enjoys great dishes at Bertrand at Mister A's



The most spectacular views in San Diego can be found at Bertrand at Mr. A's just minutes from Downtown and is far from an ordinary dining experience. We were pampered with an extremely attentive staff and enticed with the finest cuisine. As we dinned views of the beautiful San Diego skyline, San Diego Bay, Balboa Park, Coronado, Point Loma and even the world famous San Diego Zoo came into focus


This lovely restaurant was Recently featured by Gayot.com for MSN as one of the Top 10 Penthouse Restaurants in the United States.

Award winning Chef De Cuisine Stephane Voitzwinkler did a great job in offering a fresh and tantalizing menu with American , French and Mediterranean influences that complemented the stunning view from the outside patio.














Owner Bertrand was Born in rural southwest France, Bertrand studied economics at the University of Toulouse. After college, his studies took him to America where he made his way to the west coast, always deriving income by waiting tables in French restaurants.





He started his own restaurant career in La Jolla, in 1973, as the managing partner of Le Cote d'Azur. In over a decade, Bertrand became involved in the ownership of several restaurants: Mon Ami, La Mediterranean, Bertrand's and La Maison du Lac



In 1984, on his own, Bertrand bought the property he coveted for years: Mille Fleurs, in Rancho Santa Fe. His commitment and belief in utmost freshness and quality, soon made Mille Fleurs San Diego's premier restaurant. Mille Fleurs has attracted national attention & awards (being named top 25 in America by Food & Wine magazine), helping to bring San Diego's dining scene to the forefront.

Bertrand wanted to add a metropolitan restaurant to his restaurant portfolio and had always loved the tremendous location and potential of the legendary Mister A's. He was able to purchase the lease in 2000 and completely redesigned the restaurant, which is now one of the toughest reservations in San Diego.


We stopped in at this lovely venue and enjoyed a nice meal of delicious Kobe Beef Sliders and of course some Fresh Swordfish sliders as we watched the sunset over San Diego Bay with a nice glass of wine.




Once thought of as a place for just special occasions where jackets were required, one can now enjoy casual elegance among friends for lunch , happy hour and dinner as you dine on great food with one of the best views overlooking San Diego.












For more information about Bertrands please visit http://www.bertrandatmisteras.com/












Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ZINE NOODLES DIM SUM AT THE PALAZZO NAMED “TOP 10” CHINESE RESTAURANT IN THE U.S. BY CHINESE RESTAURANT NEWS
















Zine is the first and only Las Vegas restaurant to place in the top 10 in the 6-year history of the Top100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA awards




We have had the pleasure of dinning at ZINE in the Palazzo Resort in the past. This hidden gem at The Palazzo proved a winner as Zine Noodles Dim Sum received the Overall Excellence Award from Chinese Restaurant News at the 6th Annual Top 100 Chinese Restaurants Award show at The Venetian. Zine Noodles Dim Sum, an authentic Chinese restaurant located on The Palazzo casino floor level, is the first restaurant in Las Vegas to rank in the top 10 at the prestigious award ceremony. Showcasing the highest standards of cuisine, decor, and service, the award is prestigious among Chinese restaurateurs.


Many qualifications must be met in order to be considered for the Overall Excellence Award. The criteria consists of a restaurant: being in business a minimum of two years, receiving positive industry or customer recognition, and having a menu where 50 percent of the cuisine is Chinese-focused. When the final results are calculated, along with the Mystery Diner's scores and direct votes from the general public, the top 100 highest scoring restaurants achieve the award.

"Zine's philosophy is to provide an authentic Chinese experience to our guests through cuisine and service," said Ken Wong, executive director of Paiza Club Operations at The Palazzo and The Venetian. "We are thrilled that Chinese Restaurant News, the restaurant industry, and our valued guests have recognized this and provided us with such an honor."

“From suburban buffets to high-end restaurants, Chinese cuisine has become as American as apple pie,” said Betty Xie, editor-in-chief of Chinese Restaurant News. “With these awards, we acknowledge those restaurateurs who excel at the overall experience: exceptional food and magnificent service in beautiful restaurants. We salute Zine Noodles Dim Sum for being the first restaurant from our host city of Las Vegas to rank in the top 10 in our six year history.”

From acclaimed chef Simon To, the genius behind the exclusive Paiza Club, Zine Noodles Dim Sum melds traditional dishes with the exotic and simple with the extravagant in a comfortable, contemporary ambience. Drawing from Cantonese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Szechuan and other Asian cooking styles, Chef Simon To has created a menu that’s equally tempting to both the casual and adventurous diner. From the Rare Filet Mignon Noodle Soup and Abalone and Chicken Congee to the Singapore-Style Pan-Fried Crab with Chili and Steamed Lobster in Garlic Sauce, every dish is a delectable transport to the most acclaimed kitchens of Asia.

Chef To has 30 years of experience cooking Asian cuisine. Originally from Hong Kong, he specializes in Canton and Szechwan styles and is considered a dim sum master. Chef To has served his signature dishes all over the world, including France, Hong Kong and Canada and was recently awarded the coveted Bleu Ribbon Award from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.




This prestigious award was not a big surprise to The Cuisineist. One of the finest dinning experiences we have ever enjoyed was at ZINE . Once again, The Palazzo and its restaurants make Culinary News.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

James Beard award winning Chef Luciano Pellegrini is right at home at Valentino Las Vegas

Italy is the birthplace of one of America’s most established chefs, Luciano Pellegrini, who we have had the pleasure of meeting many times over the years. It is always a delight to experience his dishes first hand at Valentino in Las Vegas. Luciano began his culinary experience in his mother’s kitchen and when he was 13, enrolled at one of Italy’s most prestigious hotel schools, San Pellegrino.

He spent his teenage years attending school and gaining experience at various restaurants. Once graduated, Pellegrini worked at Locanda dell’Angelo, a one-star Michelin rated restaurant in Michelin, Italy.

At the age of 18, he had already worked for an impressive list of Italian restaurants . Then 1985 he was convinced by a friend to accept a job offer from renown Chef and Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio in America and Luciano was well on his way.

By 1987, he was quickly developing his cooking and leadership skills as a pasta chef at Primi and then in 1991 as head chef at Posto restaurant. Posto manager Santo Selvaggio accredits Pellegrini for much of the restaurant’s success. Voted as “Best in the Valley” by Max Jacobson, Posto received four stars from Larry Lipson of the Los Angeles Daily News. Los Angeles Times reviewer, S. Irene Virbilia, has famed Pellegrini as “a man you can trust with pasta” and has further commented that his kitchen excels at “the kind of rustic main courses you might find in the Italian countryside.”

During different stages in his travels, Pellegrini has worked with four of the most reputable Italian chefs in the world; GianFranco, Vissani, Fulio Angelini, Paola DiMauro and Nadia Santini.

To hone his culinary skills even further , Pellegrini returned to Italy. During his hiatus, he learned the art of grilling on the “fogolar,” a traditional, flavorful way of cooking on a wood-burning grill. Also, he spent much of his time with Bruno Libralon, a renowned Italian Chef. Libralon, leader of the Italian Chef Association, is often referred to as the “King of Fish.” In addition, Pellegrini worked with a local sausage connoisseur to perfect his sausage making skills.

After Pellegrini returned to the United States he showed off his new style at Posto. The James Beard Foundation listed him among the Top 10 chefs in Los Angeles. He maintained this position for six consecutive years which was an amazing feat.

In 1999, Pellegrini came to Las Vegas to open Valentino . Under his direction , Valentino is one of the leading Italian restaurants in Nevada. Backed by his culinary expertise, Valentino Las Vegas has received numerous awards including a 2001, 2003 2004, 2005 and a 2006 Las Vegas Life Epicurean Award for Best Italian Restaurant.

.










In 2003, Pellegrini was the only chef in Las Vegas who was nominated by the James Beard Foundation. Then in 2004, he received the recognition of Best Chef in the Southwest by the Foundation. This category includes chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions.

Valentino Las Vegas is a sister restaurant to multiple James Beard Award-winner Piero Selvaggio’s world-renowned Valentino in Santa Monica. Valentino Las Vegas features a variety of traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine that includes a variety of homemade pasta dishes, entrees and decadent desserts. Valentino's wine list has received Wine Spectator magazines coveted “Grand Award” since 2002 and features more than 2,400 selections with choices for both the connoisseur and novice alike. The restaurant currently offers a variety of tasting menus, pre-theater options and standard a la carte dining in both the formal dining room and the more casual “Grill” room.

Grand Award Winner (2002-present) Wine Spectator

Top 10 Restaurants in LV Wine Spectator

America's Top 10 Tried and True RestaurantsBon Appetit

America's No.1 Restaurant Forbes

Top 10 Wine Lists in America Wine Spectator


The wine list at Valentino is one of the best in Las Vegas in our opinion. We started right off with a sommelier suggestion of a lovely Brunello di Montalcino 2003

This wonderful Castiglion del Bosco Brunello was a great way to start our experience at this landmark restaurant located in the Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Little did we know that Chef Luciano was just getting started .






















For our main courses we chose the special Opa fish with
broccoli rabe with polenta and a pork tenderloin with heirloom tomatoes. The Opa was flown in fresh from Hawaii and had a dense texture with a mild flavor that was accented with the acidity from the brococoli rabe. The pork tenderloin was cooked perfectly. Each bite was a taste that we will long remember.




After such a wonderful meal , we did not think we could eat any more. However , how could we turn down a sample plate of amazing pasteries which included delicious tiramisu and other delights delivered by Luciano himself .

Chef Luciano Pellegrini is not only a great Chef but he is a delightful , "down to earth " person as well. What a better place for great Italian food than at Valentino. We keep going back again and again. And even better yet , The Grill is open for lunch. Enjoy !

Giorgio Ristorante Executive Chef Nico Chessa, Whole Foods Market and Stone Bewing Co. Team up for a Beer pairing dinner that was memorable

We have met Chef Nico Chessa on several occasions. When the Cuisineist found out he had teamed up with Whole Foods Market and Stone Brewing Company at his Giorgio Ristorante for a Beer dinner , we just had to stop by.

Giorgio Ristorante is a traditional Italian restaurant by famed restaurateur Piero Selvaggio . The menu at Giorgio Ristorante begins with an antipasto menu including vegetarian dishes and cold cuts. Pizza, baked pasta, meat and fish entrees as well. A gelato bar with a variety of authentic Italian gelatos is featured in the front of the restaurant, and an Italian deli case along with an Italian crystal-topped bar and lounge area are available for casual dining. Formal dining is available with an atmosphere for those seeking a more intimate dinner experience. Chef Nico Chessa serves as executive chef, and watches over every dish that comes out of his authentic Italian kitchen.

Giorgio Ristorante has won numerous awards including Wine Spectator’s 2007 Award of Excellence , Wine Spectator - Best Lunch , The San Diego Tribune – Best Wine By The Glass and The Las Vegas Sun – Best Pizza

Nico Chessa was born in 1966 on the Mediterranean Island of Sardinia. His passion for food began at a very early age, starting in his mother's kitchen.

While living in Sardinia, he traveled each season to various northern and southern Italian regions, embracing the opportunity to learn all of the basic techniques and ingredients unique to each region. Chessa received personal guidance from many highly-regarded professional chefs throughout Italy, including those at The Il Ginepro Restaurant, located on the coast of Sardinia. By working in a variety of kitchens he gained experience that allowed him to master the diversities of his culinary practices.

In 1992, Chessa moved to Rome to work in special events and catering at the prestigious Petrollini Banchetti, where he had the opportunity to showcase his talent for Italy's jet set and renowned clientele. Chessa had the pleasure of sharing his cuisine with Pope John Paul II during events held in Vatican City, including serving as the executive chef at the gala reopening of the Sistine chapel in 1996.

In 1998, Chessa set his sights on North America and headed to Houston, Texas to work as a chef at Arcodora, recognized by restaurant critic John Mariani of the New York Times as the finest Sardinian-style restaurant in the United States. Eventually, he relocated to Washington, D.C., and served as executive chef at Cafe Milano, where he shared his talent with celebrity clientele including congressional leaders, world-renowned entertainers and numerous dignitaries.

Chessa joined Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio's renowned Valentino Restaurant Group in May of 2003. He began his career with Valentino as a candidate for chef of the new Giorgio Ristorante. He worked for two months on the line stations and as sous chef under James Beard award-winning Chef Luciano Pellegrini. He now serves as the executive chef of Giorgio Ristorante. With Chessa's dedication, Giorgio has set a new standard in Las Vegas while encompassing a casual Italian ambiance at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas.


Whole Foods Market is very familiar to most of us. They are a leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. They still honor their original ideals and seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakable commitment to sustainable agriculture. On this occasion , They were supplying the beer.



Stone Brewing Co. is a craft brewery headquartered in Escondido, California. It was founded in 1996 in San Marcos, San Diego County, California.

The Brewery is best known for the aggressive Arrogant Bastard Ale, although the brewery considers Stone Pale Ale and Stone IPA to be its flagship beers. Most of their beers are characteristic of west-coast craft brews; that is to say, most beers have a traditionally 'hoppy' flavor. Stone beers are bottled in 22 ounce bottles, 12oz six packs, and occasionally 3 litre bottles.


Arrogant Bastard Ale started the evening off. Being deep mahogany amber in color with a nice creamy head that dissipates to a foam that laces the glass with nearly every sip.




The nose was nice and not too huge with hints of of malt and caramel. On the palate , citrus hops up front that finishes with toasty, caramel maltiness. This was paired with beef caparccio ,
peccarino cheese and green apple slices. This pairing was excellent with the mild saltiness of the
cheese, the tartness of the apples,the peppery qualities of arugla and the delicate slices of cappricio, alongside the toasty, Carmel flavors of the beer. Our palates were ready for the next pairing.











The Stone Smoked Porter is deep brown in color with a nice head. On the palate the porter starts off with a toasty malt then with dark fruit and a touch of smoke upon the finish.The subtle monk fish flavored with cayenne pepper and accented with meaty artichokes, added a spiciness that worked well with the dark fruit notes of the beer.













Paired with our dessert ,The Stone Pale Ale was Nico Chessa's most interesting paring of the night. The chocolate mousse with black pepper and powered sugar was indeed interesting. The black pepper was the creative spice that lent to the contrasting accompaniment of this dish and enhanced the flavors to enrich the mildness of the stone pale ale. This was an interesting and thoughtful finish to this beer tasting. This is Stone's flagship ale, and is their Southern California interpretation of the classic British pale ale style. Deep amber in color, Stone Pale Ale is robust and full flavored. A delicate hop aroma is complemented by a rich maltiness.

Chef Nico Chessa did a wonderful job pairing and in one case contrasting the Stone Brewing Company Beers with delicious and creative dishes. Join Scott from The Cuisineist as he speaks with Nico Chessa after the dinner and they discuss the reason behind the pairings.
ead chef.

Bernard’s Bistro at The Village Lake Las Vegas pays tribute to " Ole Blue Eyes"

Just south of Las Vegas you will find the community of Lake Las Vegas. Sculpted from colorful desert terrain of Southern Nevada, Lake Las Vegas lies nestled within the desert mountainside just 17 miles from the world renowned Las Vegas Strip.








Boasting world-class hotels and spas, championship golf, and spectacular residential communities, Lake Las Vegas guests and residents alike have an unmatched experience centered around a beautiful lake.
At Lake Las Vegas you can find Bernard's Bistro , a quaint restaurant with some great dishes created by owner and Executive Chef E. Bernard.

The Cuisineist stopped by to sample some great food and soak up the atmosphere as Chef E. Bernard payed tribute to Frank Sinatra with a themed evening of elegance celebrating “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” As we watched classic Sinatra favorites the guests enjoyed a special five-course meal of signature items that the legend himself enjoyed.

















Menu

Amuse Bouche

Petite Brioche Au Foie Gras

Or

Tartelette with Roasted Onion Confit and Truffle Amandine



Hors D’Oeuvres

Smoked Salmon Roses with Belgian Endives and Onion Caviar

Or

Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus Vol Au Vent in Cheese Fondue








Main Course

Hors-Radish Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Saffron Rice and Soy Grilled Pear

Or

Poached Lobster Tail with Parsnip and Pistachio over Rice in Creole Sauce

Or

Flamed Armaniac Chateaubriand with Parisian Potatoes, Haricot Vert in Mustard Truffle Sauce

Or

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Apricot and Goat Cheese over Chestnut Mashed Potatoes in Sauce Veronique.


















Dessert

Lady Astor with Fruit Sorbet Amandine

Or

Chocolate Soufflé with Cream & Chocolate Sauce

Or

Espresso Crème Broulee

We started our Frank Sinatra inspired dinner with an appetizer petite brioche of foie gras. Although the foie gras was overwhelmed by the tartlet, the flavors came through, as we waited for our next course. For the following course we selected the sauteed mushrooms. The cheese
fondue had a hint of red pepper which brought a nice touch of heat to the earthiness of the mushrooms and the asparagus. For the main entree, the Chilean sea bass was a large, perfectly cooked portion that melted in our mouth. The wonderful creme broulee was a most delightful ending to a lovely dinner in tribute to "Ol' Blue Eyes."

Bernards Bistro has not been open very long but with dishes created by Chef E Bernard in a bistro overlooking the beautiful Lake Las Vegas we have a feeling this is just the beginning of a long running great place to dine.


Join Elaine from the Cuisineist as she speaks with Chef E. Bernard about his Bistro and Frank Sinatra.