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Viva Las Vegan — Wynn & Encore have a whole lotta healthful shakin' going on

June 21, 2011 - Carla Tracy

Most Mauians go to Las Vegas to, well, gamble! Others, like myself, go there to check out new food trends. On a recent visit, I couldn’t help but notice that the Wynn Las Vegas and its sister property, the Encore, were running full vegan menus in addition to regular gourmet menus at all of its stellar, top-name chef dining outlets. Maui chefs would be well served to check out these menus.

“A little over a year ago, Mr. Wynn chose to follow an all vegan diet. And with Mr. Wynn’s new vegan lifestyle, not only has he benefited, but so too has our staff and our guests,” says Brian Gullbrants, executive vice president and general manager for both the Wynn and the Encore.

“We now have healthy vegan options in our employee cafeteria for all of our 12,000 employees to enjoy on a daily basis, as well each of our restaurant chefs at Wynn and Encore has developed his own individual vegan focused menus for all of our guests to enjoy.”

Move over, Elvis! There’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on in regards to Viva Las Vegan. In fact, a vegan cooking and tasting event with the name Viva Las Vegan was a big part of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit magazine when I visited Sin City recently.

It was co-hosted by Tal Ronnen, a vegan culinary pioneer and New York Times best-selling author of The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat (William Morrow, 2009), and the award-winning chefs of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.

In an exclusive collaboration, Ronnen works closely with the resort chefs to develop these tempting vegan menus for the restaurants. It was a one-of-a-kind event in Las Vegas, offering visitors the chance to sample vegan dishes from award-winning chefs such as Alex Statta of Stratta, Jet Tila of Wazuzu, Kim Canteenwalla of Society Cafe, Mark LoRusso of Botero and David Walzog of Lakeside Grill and SW Steakhouse.

Guests enjoyed meat- and dairy-free cuisine that did not feel like a sacrifice, but rather an indulgence of the utmost kind. Each participating chef demonstrated how to cook their vegan dish, step-by-step, as it was projected onto a large screen.

Attendees got to take home recipes for tasty vegan specialties such as LoRusso’s “Pasta and Clams” with eggless garganelle pasta, kombu broth, broccoli rabe, sweet peppers and oyster mushrooms; Canteenwalla’s tomato tasting of roast tomato bisque and heirloom tomato with cashew cheese salad; Stratta’s sweet roasted corn and cashew cream agnolotti with wild mushrooms; Walzog’s vegan “clam” chowder with cashew cream base and smoked oyster mushrooms, and Tila’s jade dumplings with spinach and shiitake mushrooms.

The fun, convivial experience was rounded out with organic cocktails from Patricia Richards, award-winning mixologist of Wynn and Encore, and vegan desserts from celebrated pastry chefs Kimberly Valdez and Jenifer Fournier of Wynn.

The good news is, these incrediblly fresh and aromatic vegan menus continue in each of the award-winning outlets at the Wynn and the Encore. I’ve attached a pdf file of some of the menus for your perusal as well as a few images of these top chefs.

“These new options have been extremely well received by our guests and our chefs are excited to stretch, learn, and create something completely new!” continues Gullbrants, who some may remember from his days in management at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

“So next time you are headed to Las Vegas, we hope that you will stay with us here at Wynn or Encore or at the very least stop by and visit one of our amazing restaurants and sample a few of our new tasty vegan dishes. Until then… aloha.”

For more information on these restaurants and their chefs, visit Wynn and Encore Website.


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