On Sunday, Legendary Las Vegas chef André Rochat was honored by his past and present peers and protégés. Rochat, who is celebrating 35 years since Andre’s in Downtown opened, hosted the evening as a team of chefs created a one-night only menu that featured exquisite culinary creations (Photo credit: Isaac Brekken for Getty Images).
The dishes, selected to acknowledge and honor Chef André, showcased the talents of each chef.
Pictured: Back row (from L to R): Mark Purdy, executive chef, Alize at the Top of the Palms Casino Resort; Heather Zheng, executive chef, Shibuya at MGM Grand; Jennifer Blakeslee, chef and co-owner, The Cooks House; Eric Patterson, chef and co-owner, The Cooks House; Scott Sampson, chef and owner, Scotty’s Kitchen; Gary LaMorte, corporate executive chef, The Michael Mina Group; Florian Wherli, executive chef, Triomphe Restaurant; Johnny Church, chef and owner, MTO Café; Greg Engelhardt, owner, Off-The-Grid Caribbean Catering; Tammy Alana, corporate pastry chef, Alizé at The Top of the Palms Casino Resort and Andre’s at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino Front row (from L to R): Christopher Bulen, executive chef, Andre’s at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino; Josh Smith, executive chef; Bardot Brasserie; Arnaud Masset, executive chef, Palms Casino Resort; André Rochat; Les Goodman, current chef in Adafina, Calif.; Senma Martinez, pastry chef, Andre’s at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino; Chris Herrin, president, CH Hospitality Group; Lupe Ponce, chef de garde manager, Alizé at The Top of the Palms Casino Resort
From Master Sommelier Steven Geddes to Greg Engelhardt to Eric Patterson, they all credit Rochat with serving as a mentor over the last 35 years. Even within his own kitchen, those positioned to take Rochat’s culinary fare into the next 35 years can each pinpoint the techniques he has personally taught them.
Chefs for the evening included:
- Host Chef, Chris Bulen: Current executive chef at Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge.
- Chef Greg Engelhardt: Former chef de cuisine at Andre’s in Downtown, current owner of Off-the-Grid Caribbean Catering in St. Thomas.
- Chef Gary LaMorte: Former chef de cuisine at Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge, current corporate executive chef for the Michael Mina Group.
- Chef Florian Wherli: Former chef de cuisine at Andre’s in Downtown, current executive chef at Triomphe Restaurant in New York.
- Chef Eric Patterson: Former chef de cuisine at Andre’s in Downtown, current chef/owner at The Cooks House in Traverse City, MI.
- Chef Arnaud Masset: Former sous chef at Andre’s in Downtown and Alizé, current executive chef at Palms Casino Resort.
- Chef Heather Zheng: Former sous chef at Andre’s in Downtown, current executive chef Shibuya at MGM Grand.
- Chef Mark Purdy: Current executive chef at Alizé at the Top of Palms Casino Resort.
- Chef Tammy Alana: Current executive pastry chef for Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge and Alizé.
- Chef Johnny Church: Former sous chef at Alizé and Andre’s Restaurant and Lounge, current chef/owner of MTO Café, Las Vegas.
- Chef Josh Smith: Former chef at Alizé, current Executive Chef at Michael Mina’s BARDOT Brasserie at ARIA.
- Chef Chris Herrin: Former pastry chef Andre’s and Alizé, current president of CH Hospitality Group in Seattle, WA.
- Chef Scott Sampson: Former chef Andre’s Downtown, current chef/owner of Scotty’s Kitchen in Las Vegas.
- Chef Les Goodman: Former sous chef at Andre’s at Downtown and Andre’s Restaurant & Bar, current chef in Adafina, Calif.
The James Beard Foundation was selected as recipient of the evening’s proceeds as a result of André’s relationship with the organization that spans more than 30 years. Through the Jean Louis Palladin Foundation and friends of James Beard Foundation, Rochat has raised more than $200,000 towards scholarships for aspiring young Chefs, apprentices and future food and beverage professionals.
In 1980, French-born Rochat changed the face of Las Vegas’ dining industry, introducing the city to its first freestanding fine dining experience. Decades before the Fremont Street Experience and Zappos arrived, Downtown Las Vegas belonged to Rochat. That was then he purchased a 1930s-era house downtown and transformed it into his eponymous restaurant. Andre’s in Downtown Las Vegas featured dining rooms named after French cities, along with copper pots used as light fixtures and wine labels framed as art creating the ambience of a French country inn. As the only freestanding gourmet option at the time, Andre’s quickly became a hit with locals looking for a place to celebrate a special night out and visitors willing to travel a few miles via taxicab to the must-see restaurant.
The restaurant made such an impact, the city of Las Vegas honored Rochat for his contribution to the community by renaming the street, formerly known as Lewis Place, to Chef André Rochat Place. In 1997, Rochat opened a second location on The Strip, Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge at Monte Carlo. By 2001, he opened Alizé at the Top of Palms Casino Resort. In 2008 and 2009, both Alizé and Andre’s were recognized by the Michelin Guide with the one-star rating.
Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109