Monday, May 4, 2009 | 5:36 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
Though thousands of miles away from the James Beard Foundation Award ceremony held this evening, May 4, at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Vegas wasn’t far from the thoughts of the foodies and chefs gathered for what is often referred to as the Oscars of the restaurant industry.
Fifteen years after winning his first James Beard Award, Chef Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas was named the country’s best chef in the Southwest region for 2009.
Established in 1990 to honor chefs, restaurants, cookbook authors and food journalists, the awards are a highly anticipated annual event that celebrates the best in American cooking and can pave the way for years of success in the chefs and restaurants lucky enough to receive its blessings. Bartolotta previously won the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Midwest in 1994 for his work at critically acclaimed Chicago eatery Spiaggia.
Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare is an AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant known for updated Italian cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood and homemade pastas that bring a bit of moisture to its desert locale. Each week, one and a half tons of seafood arrives from cities along the Mediterranean, which Bartolotta and his crew fashion into enticing plates like whole imperial snapper and pasta “rags” with lobster, shrimp, crab and other seafood in white wine sauce.
In front of restaurant industry legends like Eric Ripert, Grant Achantz, Emeril Lagasse and Todd English, Bartolotta accepted his medal in dark tuxedo paired with an orange shirt. Hopefully, his presence and his much-coveted award will remind the restaurant industry and its fanatic followers that even in this slumping economy and even if you don’t want to hit the tables, Las Vegas is a worthwhile destination – for dinner as much as anything else.
Also honored in this evening’s award ceremony were:
Best Chef: Northeast: Rob Evans, Hugo's, Portland, ME
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic: Jose Garces, Amada, Philadelphia
Best Chef: Southeast: Mike Lata, Fig, Charleston, SC
Best Chef: New York City: Gabriel Kreuther, The Modern
Best Chef: Great Lakes: Michael Symon, Lola, Cleveland
Best Chef: Midwest: Tim McKee, La Belle Vie, Minneapolis
Best Chef: Northwest: Maria Hines, Tilth, Seattle
Best Chef: South: John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, MS
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco
With world-class dining, shopping, spas, golf and entertainment, there's no shortage of things to do at Wynn. The resort’s aquatic acrobatic show, “Le Reve—The Dream,” a creation by Cirque Du Soleil veteran Franco Dragone and Steve Wynn, will leave guests wanting more with its breathtaking performances that conjure an imaginary world. The Wynn Esplanade offers a unique shopping experience with stores including Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta and many more. Tryst is its signature nightclub, offering a secluded lagoon inside the club and spacious dance floor. Blush, the Wynn’s ultra lounge, draws swanky party-goers. Tryst, Wynn’s signature nightclub, is situated along a private lagoon under a 90-foot waterfall and plays host to some of the world’s most renown DJs.