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Westgate chefs headed to New York to serve Valentine’s Day meal

What’s happening in Sin City will be going to New York next week, and it’ll put the spotlight on the Westgate Las Vegas.

A four-person culinary team from the resort is taking its show on the road for a dinner at the Beard House Tuesday. The theme: “Valentine’s Day with a Vegas Kiss.”

Charles Wilson, Westgate vice president of food and beverage, said resort staff reached out to the James Beard Foundation and were asked for details. The foundation offered Valentine’s Day and the Westgate accepted, “even though that’s a really busy time for us here.”

Wilson said the motivation was simple: “We want to bring prestige back to the property.”

It’s a daunting effort, since the Beard kitchen is notoriously snug.

“We can only plate 24 dinners at once,” Wilson said, noting that there will be 85 diners. “The space is obviously a challenge.”

But the space isn’t the only challenge. The crew also must load up the food and much of the equipment they’ll need — even the dinner plates. Of those, Wilson said, “we wanted them to be something new and modern.”

They’ve had mock dinners to iron out snags, even packing up the 1,600 pounds of assorted food, dishes and equipment for shipment to New York.

Steve Young, chef de cuisine of Edge Steakhouse at Westgate, said he’s looking forward to the audience.

“It’s going to be great putting out some really great food for people who respect and enjoy it,” he said.

Executive pastry chef Stephen Sullivan said since he’s usually in the pastry shop, he’s looking for an opportunity to work more closely with the others.

And Wilson said he sees the trip as a good team-building experience.

“It’s something we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives,” he said.

And, in a very un-Las Vegas touch, they’ll be staying at a hotel so close to the Beard House, they’ll be able to just stroll on over.

“We’ll be walking with our knives and getting ready to throw down,” Wilson said.

The city will be well represented at the Beard House this spring. Mark LoRusso, chef of Costa di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas, will prepare a “Grand Seafood Feast” March 21. And Timon Balloo, executive chef of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Las Vegas and Miami, will present his global cuisine May 3.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com, and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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