|By JULIETTE ROSSANT |
When you're a chef like Todd English, with restaurants in luxury hotels like Olives (Las Vegas), Tuscany (Uncasville, CT), Blue Zoo (Orlando), and Todd English Restaurant (afloat the Queen Mary 2), what do you do next?
Follow the wheel of fortune -- the roulette wheel, that is.
Todd English will be opening another Olives in December 2006 at the rebuilt Beau Rivage Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Will casino hotels be the best places to eat outside New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles? Can super chefs duplicate their flagships and achieve the same level of cuisine in their multiple restaurants?
No, said Mark Bittman recently in a New York Times article entitled "Dining by Satellite," repeating the old (New York) mantra that too many restaurants means not enough of a top chef to stir all the pots.
It depends on what wins out, the food or the spectacle.
It has been nearly 15 years since Wolfgang Puck kicked started chef restaurant expansion by opening Spago in Las Vegas (see Super Chef, pp. 22-3). By 2003, all of the chefs profiled in Super Chef had opened restaurants there, including Todd with Olives in the Bellagio back (pp. 104-5).
Nearly a decade after the Vegas explosion, Atlantic City has begun luring top chefs. The Borgata has lured Bobby Flay with Bobby Flay Steak, Wolf with Wolfgang Puck American Grill, Michael Mina with SeaBlue, and Susanna Foo with Suilan. Over at Caesars, George Perrier of Le Bec Fin has opened Mia.
Just why is Todd heading to Mississippi when the herd has headed to Atlantic City for the round-up?
After the destruction of the casinos by Hurricanes last year, the law governing casinos changed so that what were barges loaded with huge casinos on the Mississippi, are being rebuilt as as land-based structures, albeit a maximum of 800 feet from the Mississippi's shores. The Federal Government has ploughed in $10 billion, according to Mary Cracchiolo, assistant director of public affairs for Beau Rivage. That has lured investments of $25 billion from all the major gaming player, and she expects companies like Foxwoods and Golden Nugget to open in Biloxi. There is talk of some 15-20 casinos opening in Biloxi, perhaps doubling pre-Katrina number of ten.
Beau Rivage, owned by MGM-Mirage, is re-opening on August 29th, and has invested over $1 billion in the new structure. Some of the 12 new restaurants will open in August, though Todd's will open in December.
George Goldhoff, vice president of food & beverage, brought Todd to Beau Rivage. He knew Todd from his work at the Bellagio, so when the opportunity arose at the Beau Rivage, he contacted Todd to offer him a deal.
Do the Biloxi locals know Todd?
"Many people know him from "Most Beautiful" People issue, the local paper talks about it," says Cracchiolo.
OK, but what about the food?
Daniel Boulud v. Todd English: Initial Branding
Todd English: Fast Casual Chain Loses 2 Figs
Branding: Todd English, Beer Gourmet
Cooking Under Fire: Doused
Romancing the Stove - or The Way We Worked?
Todd English: Pitching After Puck?
English is Italian: No Stars
Cooking Under Fire: Already Over Done?
Todd English's Foodie Hotel
Todd English: Pots and Pans Pucked?
Todd English: Childrens Oscars (Update)
Ming Tsai TV
Todd English Winner Gets "English is Italian"?
Todd English Slums With Jeffrey Chodorow
Todd English: Trip Over Table?
Todd English Flipflops between Bush and Kerry?
Iron Chef: America vs. USA
Todd English: American Chef Gone Wild
[Hurrican Katrina - complete]
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