Chef Jose Navarro of Trevi: Finding common ground – good food brings people together

Editor’s Note: After a glorious nearly month-long family vacation in the Italian and Sicilian countryside, Robin Leach is back and resuming his new daily columns today with news of Caesars Palace’s weekend 50th anniversary celebrations and a Wicked Whisper + Racy Rumor of Derek Stevens purchasing Hooters Casino.

We’ll continue guest columnists in August while Robin works from the cooler climes of La Jolla near San Diego in advance of our newly designed website launching midmonth.

Today, our weeklong salute to the culinary kings and queens of our restaurant and culinary industry continues – those kitchen warriors who work long hours serving up taste treats our 41 million annual visitors have come to expect here. Today, we welcome Bellagio chef Roy Ellamar from Harvest at Bellagio and chef Jose Navarro at Trevi in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

Here’s Jose on how food is the best social experience:

By Jose Navarro

I come into the kitchen with the mindset that cooking and eating are social experiences.

From cooking here with my team as the executive chef of Trevi Italian Restaurant to making dinner with my wife at home, food is a necessity. In one way or another, we all need to eat. Finding a way to meet the likes of everyone is a challenge, but that challenge motivates me as a chef every day.

My wife and I have four kids: a vegan 18-year-old, a flexible vegetarian 14-year-old, a picky 9-year-old and a 21-month-old who will eat just about anything (as long as it’s on her terms – she has to do it herself, and plates are discretionary!). We enjoy cooking as a family, and my wife and I work together to make family meals that our children can enjoy.

Each member of my family has individual lives, tastes and personalities, but the dinner table brings us together.

The same is true on a larger scale at Trevi, where we see people from every walk of life sit down with us every day. Adults, children, large groups, Italian tourists, European tourists, Asian tourists, college Spring Breakers, couples, locals. Being in The Forum Shops on the Strip brings it all.

At Trevi, we work to offer options for people with any taste and restrictions while sticking to our classic and contemporary Italian menu. Recently, we rolled out a kids menu and a menu for vegans and gluten-sensitive eaters.

Veggie options include melanzane fritte; vegan items include spaghetti aglio e olio; and gluten-sensitive dishes include pollo e cavolo and bistecca fiorentina. Our kids menu is full of favorites like mini meatballs, fettuccine with butter, cheese pizza and other finger foods.

Don’t like a particular ingredient? Just tell us! We’re happy to make most anything to satisfy your tastes. We have a full dinner menu, desserts and a popular walk-up gelato bar, drinks and cocktails, and a new, spectacular 2-for-$20 lunch deal. While some of our favorites are the deep-dish lasagna pizza and frutti di mare, sometimes you just want a big plate of spaghetti. We get it.

When you’re here, you’re part of our family. If you’re a picky eater, vegetarian, allergic to shellfish or gluten-sensitive, it matters to us. Looking around our restaurant sometimes can be a melting pot of culture and lifestyle. But it makes me smile to know that we’re all here for a common purpose, and that’s what drives us here at Trevi.

Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, chef Roy Ellamar, who uses his harvesting of the Big Island of Hawaii to dazzle his guests at Harvest in Bellagio. Robin also has news of a group of Anthem Village neighbors who pooled their savings to invest in a showbiz venture.

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