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[Chef Talk]

Don’t be surprised if you see Diego chef Christina Olivarez at Taco Bell

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Chef Christina Olivarez won the latest season of Chopped.

If executive chef Christina Olivarez looks familiar, perhaps you caught her culinary act on Chopped in June. She didn’t actually get chopped, taking the top prize despite working with difficult ingredients. Still, she’s more comfortable in the kitchen at MGM’s Diego, cooking classic and authentic fare and helping to maintain the colorful casino spot as one of the top Mexican eateries on the Strip.

Most important kitchen tool: spoon “There’s something about a spoon, whether you’re cooking on a line or making something at home … the right spoon makes a big difference. I have three spoons I love. They have different shapes, but there’s something about the way they sit in your hand.”

Most relaxing spot: the District at Green Valley Ranch “It’s a great place to just go walk around. You can get an easy lunch at Lucille’s, hang out at REI, and it’s just a great place to unwind. Now that it’s fall, the place is all decorated up.”

Current craving: Indian food “I crave things that are hearty and kinda saucy, so lately it’s all about Indian food. It’s spicy sometimes, and always has tons of flavor. I’m still hunting for the best Indian food in town. I don’t get as much opportunity to eat it as I’d like, because it’s hard to get my husband to go for it.”

Guilty pleasure: Taco Bell “If you look at where I’m a chef, I know it doesn’t make sense. I think it’s just because I ate it as a kid. But a Taco Bell bean burrito or Mexican pizza and I’m pretty happy.”

Tags: Dining
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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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