Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn - 2011 - Issue 2 - Fall

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/39920

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Page 60 of 123

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT PRESCOTT (RONNEN); JEFF GREEN (DISHES) "I was really nervous at first," Ronnen says about working with the world-renowned chefs at both resorts. "Alex Stratta is a hero of mine; he's one of the best chefs out there." To make matters more challenging, restaurants such as the hugely popular SW Steakhouse, which Wynn frequented before becoming a vegan, and Lakeside, both helmed by award-winning chef David Walzog, are centered on steaks and American classics, respectively. Ronnen was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the chefs were open to the techniques and substitute ingredients he was showing them. "I think they were glad I wasn't telling them how to cook or what to cook," Ronnen says. "I was just there to show them a few tricks and techniques I've learned to re-create things they already make, using other ingredi- ents in place of the animal protein." And tricks he has. In place of dairy cream, Ronnen uses cashew cream, a rich product of pureed cashews that has all the creaminess of dairy- based cream and the same mild, sweet flavor. The cream is used so often throughout the restaurants, such as to create agnolotti with "ricotta" filling at Sinatra and as a base for clam chowder at Lakeside, that it is now made in-house, in bulk, for all of its chefs to execute their vegan menus. Another product up Ronnen's sleeve is Gardein, a blend of soy, Chef Tal Ronnen wheat, pea and high-protein grains including quinoa, amaranth and kamut, that can, in the hands of chefs like Ronnen and those he works with at Wynn, be turned into just about anything. At SW Steakhouse, Ronnen uses Gardein as a base for savory vegan meatballs, which are served over a bed of polenta enhanced with cashew cream. At Wing Lei, the healthful whole-grain product becomes a classic Chinese dish of lemon "chicken." Coated in one of chef Carlos Guía's signature New WYNN 59

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