Alex Stratta, one of Las Vegas' most decorated chefs, has left Wynn Las Vegas to pursue healthy lifestyle programs for charitable organizations, locally and nationally.
The surprise move came after more than a year of personal upheaval, including a divorce and a bout with colon cancer.
Stratta, 46, announced his split with Wynn after a 13-year relationship in an email to friends over the weekend. He wrote that he had "decided to take my career in a different path."
Stratta added that it was "time for a change and take some time to focus on Marco and Bianca, my twins who turn 4 in November."
Marilyn Spiegel, president of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, said Stratta will be missed. She added that "his desire to begin a new chapter in his life and share his gifts with others less fortunate is admirable."
Stratta was a rising star chef when Steve Wynn wooed him from the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz., to helm Renoir at The Mirage in 1998. Two years later, Stratta and Julian Serrano of Picasso (Bellagio) became the first Las Vegas chefs to earn Mobil's five-star distinction.
Stratta was recruited by Wynn again and was rewarded with two restaurants -- Alex and Stratta -- at Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2005. Alex, the French fine dining jewel, hauled in a slew of major awards but closed in January.
Spiegel said Stratta the restaurant will keep its name.
GAMBLE PAYS OFF
What a difference a decade makes.
Rolling the dice, aspiring choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to get closer to the center of the dance universe.
She left a public relations position at the Rio. He was a trainer at the Las Vegas Athletic Club on Karen Avenue where she taught dance.
The move paid off for the former UNLV dance students: They landed on their feet as backup dancers for Beyoncé, Missy Elliot, Destiny's Child, Toni Braxton, Timbaland and others. They worked with Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Celine Dion, Kanye West and Jennifer Lopez.
Bigger opportunities came their way: They were hired to choreograph "So You Think You Can Dance" and MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew." They signed on as directors of the JabbaWockeez, who ended up as headliners on the Strip.
They hooked up with Cirque du Soleil on "Viva Elvis" and other Cirque jobs.
Cirque announced Monday that the D'umos were among 10 high-profile choreographers hired to work on "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour" in collaboration with writer and director Jamie King.
The world premiere is Oct. 2 in Montreal.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Clear Channel's KPLV-radio, FM 93.1, unveiled a new syndicated morning show this week. Johnjay and Rich will broadcast from Phoenix. They've been radio fixtures in Arizona since 2001. Johnjay and Rich are broadcasting from Las Vegas today through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. They announced their association with KPLV last week during an interview with Flamingo headliner Donny Osmond. ...
Burlesque icon Dixie Evans celebrates her 85th birthday Saturday at the Royal Resort, 99 Convention Center Drive. The all-star cast includes Cha Cha Velour, Kalani Kokonuts, Vi Vacious, Miss Karla Joy, Cabernet Dance and newcomer Melody Sweets of "Absinthe." The show starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
THE PUNCH LINE
"They had so much rain in New York that a lot of cabbies had their first shower in years." -- Jay Leno