Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chef Mario Batali's Culinary Team Takes on June 25 Project Dinner Table

This month’s Project Dinner Table is being prepared by Chef Mario Batali’s team from B&B Ristorante, Carnevino Italian Steakhouse and OTTO Pizzeria Las Vegas. They will be delighting diners with cuisine that is not only delicious, but also sustainable. To further enhance this event, Project Dinner Table returns to its debut location that launched so many other unique dinners and the conversations that follow: the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) Orchard.

The dinner will be held on Saturday, June 25 with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres starting at 6:30 p.m., and dinner set to begin by 7:30 p.m.

“When we hosted the inaugural Project Dinner Table at UNCE, everyone had an incredible time because they felt with the orchard setting and delectable menu, no one could believe they were still in Las Vegas,” says Gina Gavan, founder and self-proclaimed spoonbender, Project Dinner Table. “Combine the ambience of the orchard with the cuisine of Chef Batali’s team, the dinner will be unforgettable.”

Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's signature collaborative culinary team will present an unparalleled dining experience, as they do in their restaurants every night. Batali’s protégé since 2000, Chef Zach Allen is responsible for creating magic in the kitchen night after night. As the consulting salumist to all of Batali’s restaurants, he educates servers and staff about the complexities of curing meat. Now the culinary director of B&B Ristorante, Carnevino Italian Steakhouse and OTTO Pizzeria Las Vegas, he executes his vision for Italian flavors and techniques in Las Vegas’ ever-growing gourmet scene.

Also at the helm will be Chef Doug Taylor, who joined the team in 2007. In addition to running the pastry programs at Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and OTTO Pizzeria Las Vegas, he is an instructor in the agricultural program at the University of Nevada, which concentrates on producing sustainable ingredients in the arid desert climate.

Working together with Zach and Doug are Chefs Jason Neve and Nicole Brisson. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Jason was part of the opening team at Mario’s restaurant, Del Posto, in New York City. His aptitude in the kitchen and his passion for cured meats led him out west to Las Vegas where Jason is now the Chef di Cucina at B&B Ristorante. After attending Johnson & Wales University, Brisson got to know the food writers Molly O'Neill and Faith Willinger who helped her develop a love for local produce and cured meats in both the United States and Italy. After studying abroad, she went on to open Wynn Las Vegas under Chefs Steven Kalt and Paul Bartolotta. She is now the Chef di Cucina at Carnevino Italian Steakhouse.

Project Dinner Table is the wildly popular community dinner series founded by Gina Gavan. What makes Project Dinner Table so special is the delicious sense of community each event brings. Every dinner is hosted in a unique location, unavailable typically to the public for dinner, with each location selected based on its ability to host the event’s signature long, white dinner table where the meal is served family style. Local chefs work with local growers and purveyors to not only create a one-night-only menu, but also to educate Las Vegans on all that is available while feasting on an organic dinner. Since Project Dinner Table’s launch in April 2010, every dinner has sold out quickly. To top it all off, a portion of every dinner’s proceeds benefits a Southern Nevada charity. This dinner will benefit the We Care, We Share Foundation and Create a Change Now.

Project Dinner Table’s 2011 season is sponsored by Nevada Beverage Company, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Whole Foods Market, Bacardi USA, Seven Magazine, Las Vegas Design Center and Renaissance Catering. Local partners and purveyors include: L.A. Specialty, Gilcrease Orchard, Herbs by Diane, Supreme Lobster, UNCE Farm, Heritage Foods USA, Chefs Warehouse, Hydro Greens and Bon Breads

To purchase tickets, go to www.projectdinnertable.com. Ticket price per person is $140. Packages are also available; to purchase a half season of three dinners, the price is $375 per person.

For the remaining 2011 season, upcoming Project Dinner Table events include:
Sept. 10: Chef Geno Bernardo at El Cortez Parkway Downtown benefiting the Animal Foundation. Start time: 7 p.m.
Oct. 15: Chef Rick Moonen at Cashman Field, benefiting Huntridge Teen Clinic & Volunteers in Medicine. Start time: 6:30 p.m.
The final dinner will take place on Sunday, Nov. 13.

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