Tour de Stage: Las Vegas – Restaurant Joel Robuchon
Chef Joel Robuchon is famous for offering extravagant and luxurious fine dining experiences. With more than a dozen of his restaurants cumulatively earning the most Michelin stars around the world, Chef Joel Robuchon became an influential figure for many other chefs. Chef Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, and Michael Caines were mentored by him. Joel Robuchon is a worldwide name representing French fine dining to its maximum expression. Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas is run by the Executive Chef Christophe de Lellis who, after working in Paris and moving to Las Vegas, quickly made his way up the ladder from sous chef to managing the entire operation at the restaurant. It offers a16 courses tasting menu and is considered the second most expensive restaurant in the United States, after Masa in NYC. The white marble entrance, intense color palette of black and, white, with a dash of purple, makes the restaurant a unique place where everyone feels a little like royalty when they are there.
Laura’s Stage at Joel Robuchon
After staging in many restaurants across the country, we’ve realized that most chefs are welcoming and willing to share their knowledge—Joel Robuchon is one of them. Chef Christophe was open and enthusiastic about having a stage in the kitchen for the day, and was happy to show me the operations of the restaurant.
The restaurant is divided into three savory stations: garde manger, entremetier, fish and grill. Three or more cooks work each station and one sous chef per station makes sure everything is prepared to standard. I started my stage by helping the entrementier. The cooks and sous chef ensured that I was exposed to every process and signature recipe, like the restaurant’s famous pomme purée. The ratio is one-to-one—one kilo of butter to one kilo of potatoes. The process takes a total of 2 hours. Fingerling potatoes are first cooked in water and then peeled. The butter is added little by little to make an emulsion; sometimes milk is needed to continue the process. The final step is to pass the potato purée through a fine sieve. Pomme purée at Joel Robuchon is a smooth and rich potato emulsion that is served with every entrée on the à la carte menu.
Uni spaghetti with bottarga, sous-vide egg, and caviar is on of their hottest dishes
Caviar, truffles, and gold leaf are common ingredients or garnishes in every dish. Incorporating luxurious ingredients into the composition elevates simple dishes such as pasta. Uni (sea urchin) spaghetti with bottarga and caviar is a favorite on the menu. A simple butter and urchin sauce is added to the spaghetti and topped with sous vide egg, caviar, and bottarga, a perfect dish that fits into the restaurant concept. Another simple but extravagant dish is oeuf de caviar, an egg filled with caviar and mousse, with a gold leaf garnish—it’s chef’s version of a luxurious deviled egg.
Egg filled with caviar, mousse, and more caviar with a gold leaf for garnish. The most decadent and luxurious deviled egg
In order to maintain the restaurant’s high standards and intensive dish preparation, the work environment is very important. Cooks and chefs take long breaks and have family meal altogether. They help each other during service and every one of them understands each other’s station. Sometimes more than three cooks are needed to plate one dish. All the tools are available to have a successful service. By the end of the meal, Chef Christophe reviews the service with the team to make sure mistakes won’t be repeated. He talks with the cooks to find solutions for the hard pickups or new dishes. It takes more than one person to make sure all the extensive details of the dishes are perfectly executed.
These are tiny watermelon candies. Every component of dessert at Joel Robuchon is a piece of art
This stage was a lesson in luxury for me—excellent service, impeccable and luxurious ingredients, well thought-out concepts, and perfect execution. Thank you Chef Christophe for having me in your kitchen!
For more food photos, adventures and stories from the travels, visit Sayat and Laura’s instagram at @LauraAndSayat.