Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 | 6 a.m.
Current job: Owner and founder, Caña Latin Kitchen & Bar
Education: I went to school for musical theater at a small theater conservatory in New York City.
About Cory Harwell: A Georgia native, Cory Harwell began his restaurant career at 16 as a dishwasher at a southern “Mom and Pop” diner. Today, his career boasts expertise in nearly every facet of the food and beverage industry. His latest contribution to the Las Vegas culinary landscape is Caña Latin Kitchen & Bar, which opened at Town Square last month. It’s the city’s first ceviche restaurant, offering South American-inspired fare in small plate selections — or “bocadillos.” It entices diners to with a shared-eating concept. Previously, Harwell was a member of the New York-based Tao management team. He relocated to Las Vegas in 1997 to build and operate the Harley-Davidson Café. Harwell then joined the MGM Mirage group as vice president of food and beverage at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. Harwell sits on the board of directors for Police Officers Riding 4 Kids (PORK), is involved with the Police Athletic League of Southern Nevada and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s annual head-shaving event to raise money for children’s cancer research.
The most important issue facing the valley: I believe the most important issue facing the valley is whether or not our city can continue to remain a value destination for tourists. The one good thing that has come as a result of the state of our economy is that it has forced a correction in the price structure and business model of Las Vegas.
My mentor and why: Thomas J. McCartney is the president of the Tropicana Hotel & Casino and was one of the first people I met when I moved to the valley in 1997. I have looked up to Tom and have learned countless lessons from him, but I would say the single biggest thing that Tom has taught me is that you always put people and products before profits.
Favorite Web site: I love the site www.foodtv.com. But, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t on www.espn.com and www.sportsline.com every day.
Hobbies: I love to golf and go to the movies. I am an avid reader of cookbooks highlighting different cultures and cuisines and I love to cook with my daughter every Sunday.
Fantasy job: I was going to say space cowboy or jockey but I’m pretty sure both of those are out of the question. So, I think my fantasy job would be a motivational speaker. I wouldn’t be as serious as Tony Robbins but would probably be more like Chris Farley’s character on Saturday Night Live. The only exception would be that I don’t “live in a van down by the river.” Seriously though, I would enjoy being able to impact people’s lives or encouraging them to follow their dreams by sharing my own life’s struggles or challenges.
One-word description of self: Fun