GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

2017-09-07 - Las Vegas Weekly

Las Vegas Weekly

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B y L e s L i e V e n t u r a t's 4:30 a.m., and chef Jaret Blinn is wide awake and ready to put me to work. It's a typical morning for the Craft- Kitchen owner, except that I'm here for a behind-the-scenes look at the bakery—specifically the journey each pastry makes before it gets to the customer's plate. It's a lot of prep work, making sure all the dough for the pretzel rolls, croissants, cinnamon rolls and cronuts is proofed and ready to be baked. For the next four hours, Blinn takes me under his wing, showing me how to make pretzel dough—which, to my surprise, requires way more upper arm strength than I possess—and how to garnish all of CraftKitchen's deli- cious pastries. There's a lot to learn from Blinn, who left his role as executive pastry chef at Red Rock Resort to open his Henderson restaurant in October 2015. It's been a neighborhood favorite ever since. "Hey Kaleb, grab the egg wash!" Blinn shouts over the loud hum of the bread mixers. Baker Kaleb Skougard brings the container over, and we begin covering raw, doughy croissants in the mixture. Blinn, an award-winning pastry chef, has worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui and San Francisco and at Lake Las Vegas, and he was executive pastry chef at Le Cirque and Circo before Red Rock Resort and opening his own restaurant. "I had to adapt immediately," he says. "I've been in the game long enough to see both sides. Ritz- Carlton gave me the service aspect. Volume was the Bellagio. If you didn't figure out how to streamline stuff, you're done. Then when I was at Red Rock I learned a lot more about the numbers, the financials, the HR. In this day and age, you have to have that balance." I finish egg-washing the crois- sants and dunking cronuts in choco- late and matcha-flavored icings, a relaxing exercise compared to the morning's earlier activities. And while I'm not sure I could get up at 3:30 a.m. every day, one glance at the happy customers in the lobby tells me why Blinn does. "We do this stuff for other people," he says. "Those are the fun things. That's what makes it worth it." Behind the Bakery scenes at henderson Fave craF tkitchen I TIme To make THe cronuTs hawaiian Benedict sandwich at vesta coFFee roasters Don't like Spam, you say? This might change your mind. Low-sodi- um Spam, an over-easy egg, ched- dar cheese and sriracha hollandaise create the center of this dish, while an excellent brioche roll—courtesy of Lulu's Bread & Breakfast—has just a bit of sweetness to offset everything else. Get that yolk runny and take a bite of everything to- gether. See? You like Spam. $7, 1114 S. Casino Blvd. #1, 702-685-1777. vegetaBle sandwich at kitchen taBle Diced sweet peppers, grilled squash and toasted pine nuts work harmoni- ously, adding all types of goodness to the party in service of lifting up the star ingredients: panko-crusted fried green tomatoes and freshly sliced mozzarella. It's finished with balsamic vinegar and sits on a soft ciabatta roll. It's like an American take on ratatouille in sandwich form. $11, 1716 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, 702-478-4782. craF tkitchen 10940 S. Eastern Ave., 702-728- 5828. Daily, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Photograph by Mikayla Whitmore The Hawaiian Benedict sandwich at Vesta. (Mikayla Whitmore/Staff) l a s v e g a s w e e k ly 65 0 9 . 0 7 . 1 7

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