Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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Chef Matthias Merges of Yusho at Monte Carlo: Food, photos and philanthropy

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Steve Marcus

Matthias Merges’ Yusho has opened at Monte Carlo.

Chef Matthias Merges and Yusho

Chef Matthias Merges is bringing his Chicago restaurant Yusho to the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. Pictured here: Lobster Chawanmushi. Launch slideshow »

Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the remainder of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here is celebrity chef Matthias Merges of Yusho at Monte Carlo.

Hi, I’m Matthias Merges, creator of Yusho Las Vegas, the Japanese-inspired grill and noodle house that recently opened as part of the renovated plaza experience at Monte Carlo. Though some of you may know me as a chef who worked for Charlie Trotter in Chicago and Las Vegas, there’s a lot more to me and to Yusho.

I was guilty of being a troublemaker as a child, but most of the trouble I found myself in revolved around food. From a very young age, I was attracted to food, and much of my younger years involved the kitchen and cooking.

As I grew older, went to school and started thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, everything fell together in an “aha” moment allowing me to see my path.

The culinary world is everything that I love wrapped into one. I love to eat. I love to cook. I love the dynamic of restaurants. I love photography. I love travel. Most of all, I love to craft an experience. The restaurant industry has allowed me to create a career that I can incorporate all of these things into one every single day.

That being said, if you asked me 10 years ago if Yusho was the restaurant that I would be devoted to now, I would have told you that you were crazy. It was pure chance and travels through the energetic streets of Asia that led to its creation.

The experience that I strive to create within Yusho Las Vegas is a sense of community. Yusho doesn’t care about the occupations of our customers, what they are wearing or if they ask for a fork in lieu of chopsticks. This approachable and welcoming establishment is my way of inviting people from all walks of life to sit down and enjoy a common love for food.

When I’m not in the kitchen, there are a variety of things that you can find me doing. I love photography and take all of the photographs for my restaurants, as well as other images in my free time.

I am a founder of Pilot Light, a nonprofit organization in Chicago developed by chefs to help instill healthy eating habits into young public school children. Despite how busy my schedule can become, I visit Chicago public schools four times every year for this initiative.

Although my relationship with food began as a troublemaker child who wanted to learn more, it is now something that I share with my own children. Whether it is picking fresh vegetables from our garden to grill or taking an “unplugged” vacation and trying every new restaurant we see, it is something we will do together forever.

Be sure to check out our other guest columnists today — reality-TV tattoo star Dirk Vermin and Las Vegas entertainer Tony Sacca. On Sunday, we’ll meet up with illusionist Jan Rouven from the Riviera and Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood executive Wendy Albert.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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