Posts Tagged ‘Top Chef Masters’

PPX – CHEF ALEX STRATTA

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

By Vincenza Di Maggio

Photo courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas

“We have an opportunity to do something really special here, and things that are special take time,” says Chef Alex Stratta as he casually raises his hot cup of coffee and motions towards his surroundings.

He’s sitting at a table inside of his latest culinary endeavor, his newly opened New York City restaurant, Bigoli — http://bigolirestaurant.com/. It’s only 2pm and the restaurant has not yet opened for dinner. It’s quiet… peaceful – well, except for the occasional sounds of clinking plates and running water emanating from the kitchen as the staff prepares for the dinner crowd. The chairs still sit on top of the wooden tables. Light floods into the dining room through the enormous skylight above, and the brick oven has just been turned on, the fire slowly warming up the room. The relaxing atmosphere suits him.

He’s right, things that are special do take time. And who would know it better than him? For over 30 years the renowned chef has worked and succeeded in developing an exciting career; the majority of which was spent working in the kitchens of Michelin two-star restaurants. Stratta’s name has become synonymous with “fine dining” and often evokes images of white tablecloths, elegantly folded napkins, mahogany coffered ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and tiny food portions. But with the opening of Bigoli, a casual neighborhood Italian restaurant located in Greenwich Village, he has decided to leave the luxurious dining experience behind. In fact, he’s stepping away from heat of the stove entirely and exploring a different aspect of the culinary industry – restaurant consulting. He says, “After 30 years of experience I’m doing something completely new which is what’s exciting about the restaurant business.”

It’s a business that’s in his blood. Stratta’s roots in the hospitality industry reach back to his great great grandfather who once owned a hotel in Piemonte, a Northern region of Italy bordering France and Switzerland. Generations later, across the Atlantic Ocean, Stratta’s father continued the family tradition by running a hotel company that required Stratta to make frequent trips from New York to Connecticut. As a fifth generation hotelier Stratta says, “I grew up surrounded by good food and good service. It became a part of who I was. I naturally gravitated towards the kitchen.”

Stratta started working his first kitchen job at the age of 15 at Manero’s Steakhouse in Greenwich, Connecticut. He slowly worked his way from dishwasher, to line cook, and 20 years later to executive chef at Mary Elaine’s restaurant at the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Years later he was invited by Steve Wynn to the Wynn Las Vegas Resort where he worked as executive chef of his two namesake restaurants, Alex and Stratta. It was in the kitchen of these fine dining restaurants that he really established himself as one of Las Vegas’ most notable chefs.

Stratta, who has become somewhat of a celebrity, thinks back to the beginning of his career and recalls, “When I was a cook and becoming a chef it wasn’t such an admirable position as it is now. The biggest challenge for me is finding the balance between

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GAME, SET MATCH

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Eating well, and for charity, at the 2010 US OPEN

Dedicated sports fans have their own satisfying sustenance at the game – baseball has its classic match up of hotdogs and beer; football offers beer and that ice cream in cute little helmets, but only at the US Open will you find serious food that matches the intense level of play on the court. And this year the dining and drinking options got even better.

“The US Open is one of the premier sports and entertainment attractions on the planet, both in the on-court product and in the experience offered to patrons throughout the grounds,” said Danny Zausner, Managing Director, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “The US Open features culinary offerings that have transcended sports, and with the additions in 2010, including an extraordinary lineup of acclaimed chefs, this year’s US Open will provide both tennis fans and casual visitors alike an experience unparalleled by any other sporting event in the world.”

At the 2010 US Open, which runs August 30-September 12 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY, the South Plaza Master Chef Café features signature items created for this highly anticipated tennis competition. Top Chef Masters, like Carmen Gonzalez, Rick Moonen, Jonathan Waxman and more are on hand to feed your belly and your soul.

On September 4th chefs will be demo-ing dishes. And the chef who sells the most of their signature dish will receive a $5,000 donation to their favorite charity.

Here’s what you can taste:

South Plaza Master Chef Café
• Master Chef Café: The new Master Chef Café will be accessible to all guests.

o Susan Feniger: Chef and owner of Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica and Las Vegas and the Border Grill Truck (along with business partner Chef Mary Sue Milliken), Feniger recently launched her first solo venture, Susan Feniger’s STREET in Hollywood. A veteran of Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales, Feniger also co-authored five cookbooks with Milliken, including Mesa Mexicana and Cooking with Too Hot Tamales. For the US Open, she will serve carne asada tacos made with grilled jalapeno lime steak, caramelized onion, grilled corn relish, chipotle salsa and guacamole, and Yucatan pork tacos made with braised achiote pork,

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