JEAN GEORGE – Chef and Restaurateur

If you don’t know, I’ve worked for this world class chef for the last 11 plus years. I work at Jean George Steakhouse, located in the Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

I’ve worked in great restaurants all over the country, including California, Nevada, Florida, and New York; and every one has taught me different valuable nuances about food and wine.

I can tell you this… the more you learn about food and wine the more you realize how little you know. What I mean by that is with wine and food there are so many foods and wines associated with countries.

Then there are regional wines and dishes, villages, and finally family crafted wines and recipes. This list is virtually endless and so is the journey to prepare food, craft wine, beer, and liquor to ultimately create an experience by which all others would be judged.

Certain people are built for certain professions. At the age of 16 Jean George Vongerichten was cooking at a three-star Michelin restaurant (the highest accolade a chef and his or her restaurant can achieve), L’Auberge de L’ll generally considered Alsace’s best restaurant. He remained there for four years and then went on to work with iconic chef Paul Bocuse at Eckart Witzigmann (in Munich), and finally with Louis Outhier of L’Oasis, on the French Riviera.

It was Outhier’s genius that set Jean George on his true path by sending him to the United States and Asia as leader of his “flying squadron” of chefs. Ultimately Jean George cooked for four years in Asia spending time in Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong. As he now says, “The flavors of lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, and coconut milk, changed my life.”

Now Jean George has 40 restaurants in 11 countries including the Bahamas, Brazil, China, England, France, the French West Indies, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Morocco. His ability to translate his knowledge to the front and back of the house (with a great team that travels well) makes a statement about his recipe for success.

The real beauty of a great chefs repertoire is the simplicity in which they execute the dish. This enables the quality ingredients to stand for themselves. At the heart of any composition is a melody that is highlighted by the orchestration conducted by the maestro that makes the senses dance.

Letting the ingredients speak for themselves is the key to great cuisine. Not relying on fancy presentation or exotic garnishes to embellish but the weaving of culinary components into a symphony of flavors to create a memorable dish is the pronounced goal.

If you’re in Las Vegas please stop by our restaurant, “Jean George Steakhouse”, to experience a great steak with some memorable appetizers, side dishes, and desserts. One such appetizer is the Kobe Carpaccio. We are one of only nine restaurants in the country that has the real Kobe beef from Kobe Japan. The Kobe Carpaccio is Kobe beef that is sliced very thin draped over a cheese truffle fritter topped with a Perigord Black Truffle and surrounded with a four leaf balsamic vinegar. Four small pieces… ridiculous.

Jean George was hooked by the restaurant business when he was young, plucking chicken feathers for dishes in a fine French restaurant. I was hooked when I was 16 years old by the restaurant business (front of the house) when I realized the beauty of providing great service to appreciative guests to create an unparalleled dining experience. The key to anything you love is to become proficient at it learning the variables that knowledge can provide and then communicate that information in a simple yet articulate manner.

I have been blessed to be in the restaurant business virtually my whole life. From serving, writing wine lists and menus, to becoming a chef and a sommelier… the love I have for the restaurant business I feel is a gift.

This coming year, midway through, will be the last time that I will provide the dining experience to the guests I’ve come to love over the course of a lifetime. But what I’ve learned about life…it’s about beginnings and endings.

Let’s see how the next chapter unfolds.