Talking shop with SW and Lakeside chef David Walzog
Tue, May 24, 2011 (5:05 p.m.)
Photo: Jeff Green
Now that winter’s gone, what seasonal produce are you looking forward to working with?
Squash blossoms. We stuff them with ricotta and serve them with a little roast tomato compote. It’s really killer.
You did Vegas Uncork’d this year. What was your favorite event?
[The Viva Las Vegan lunch at the Wynn.] I think it’s the most important event of the weekend. It makes an impactful statement about diet and health. And coming from the chef of the steakhouse at Wynn, and seeing the lighter understanding that bits and pieces of this can be interjected into your diet and the way you self-operate, I think it’s important. At home we did three simple things—and it’s certainly not giving up blue-veined cheese or things on the grill. Giving up a cheese plate would be absolutely impossible; I could never do it. Or a ribeye, for that matter. But we did three things: almond milk, vegan cream cheese and Earth Balance (vegan butter) and Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise). Just do it. Try it for a round. You won’t know.
It’s a mental block. I think if I tried it without knowing, it’d be okay, but when I’m shopping and I see the Vegenaise, I’m like, “I don’t know...”
Go to Yard House. They have a lot of Tal (Ronnen)’s things with Gardein (meat substitute). I think I was a week away from working with him at SW, so we decide to try some things. We’re at Yard House and we had to take my 16-year-old daughter home something, so we ordered some (vegan) sliders. We’re snickering in the background like, “We got her! She doesn’t know!”
Still, you’re the steakhouse chef. What’s your go-to piece of beef?
A ribeye. Nothing beats that as far as fat content and flavor and juiciness. That’s the cut: bone-in ribeye at SW perfectly charred, well-seasoned. We age it on property here at Wynn and cut it to specification.
And for people who are going to grill at home this summer, where should they get their steak?
Costco. Definitely. You can buy the best meat at Costco. You can actually buy USDA Prime Beef at Costco.
What’s your perfect Saturday night dinner?
Saturday night dinner we’re doing 625 covers.
For you, though. When you get a night off?
Sushi. Nice and light, easy does it. I like the No. 1 roll at Sen of Japan—spicy tuna with crab on top. Really killer. You gotta try it.