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Desert Companion

Restaurant awards:Chef Quotes

Where I eat

“With three kids, we mostly eat in the neighborhood and of the moment. Being spontaneous seems to be our best bet. I’m often at Mastrioni’s. You would think, as a chef, I’d try everything on the menu but I go for my favorites. Clams on the half shell, really well-caramelized with drawn butter. My kids love the marinara sauce, and you can really taste the not-fully-cooked-off garlic, and then I get the chicken Francese. Every time.”

Megan Romano, chef/owner, Chocolate & Spice


Where I drink

“When I go out it’s usually to Office Bar, probably nine times out of 10. It’s walking distance from my house, and it’s the place where I kind of hatched the idea for our second pizzeria. What do I order? I’m pretty simple, vodka soda with lemon. Maybe if the crew is out we’ll do some shots.”

Chris Palmeri, chef/owner, Naked City Pizza and Desnudos Tacos


Where I get gear

“When I go shopping for stuff I need professionally, I always go local when I can, and not just for food. You can get just about anything from any part of the world at International Marketplace. Either they have it or they can get it for you, and most of their gear comes with a very reasonable price. I’ve been there probably 20 times and they still have things on the shelves I haven’t seen yet.”

Support comes from

George Jacquez, executive chef, Aliante Casino


Where I get inspired

“I’m a yoga person. For inspiration, I really just need to clear my head. I go to Vegas Hot, which is bikram-ish. Super-fun, kind of a detox thing. But the poses work me more than the heat ... I’m used to being in hot environments.” 

Fatimah Madyun, chef de cuisine, Rao’s


Where I spend a night off

“When we get a night off, we go to Tokyo. It’s in the same shopping center as Lotus of Siam. Their appetizers and sashimi are just awesome. A lot of popular sushi joints specialize in rolls and that’s cool, but we’re more sashimi people. The salmon belly is ridiculous, and there are quail egg shooters with ponzu and sake and uni.”

Daniel Coughlin, chef/owner Le Thai

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