The Vegans, Baby and James Beard Foundation partnership continues on Nov. 13 as five Strip chefs head to New York to celebrate incredible plant-based cuisine coming from Las Vegas at the renowned James Beard House. Like the first Vegas Vegan Dinner in July, once again Las Vegas is home to an encore presentation of the dinner.
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the chefs and menu return to Las Vegas to treat our hometown to an encore dinner at CATCH Las Vegas — The Vegas Vegan Dinner: Celebrating Strip Chefs.
Join Vegans, Baby founder Diana Edelman for this incredible vegan culinary event in Las Vegas bringing together some of the city’s most talented Strip chefs — repeat Vegas Vegan Executive Chef Andrew Carroll (CATCH), Assistant Executive Pastry Chef Cynthia Inguanzo (MGM Grand), Executive Chef Jessica Perlstein (Searsucker), Executive Chef Jimmy Lisnard (L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon) and Executive Chef Roy Ellamar (Harvest by Roy) — creating innovative plant-based cuisine.
The evening begins at 6:30 with a reception featuring passed apps, champagne and wine, and then continues with five courses with pairings, each presented by one of the chefs.
Tickets are $140 (inc. sales tax and gratuity) and can be purchased on Eventbrite. A portion of the proceeds benefit Mercy for Animals, which is dedicated to ending the greatest cause of suffering on the planet: the exploitation of animals for food, in particular, industrial animal agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing.
James Beard Foundation Vegas Vegan Encore Dinner: Celebrating Strip Chefs
Melting quinoa heart and smoked piquillo – Executive Chef Jimmy Lisnard, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (MGM Grand)
Beluga lentil caviar – coconut lemon cream, blini – Executive Chef Jessica Perlstein, Searsucker (Caesars Palace)
Smoked cabbage lumpia – black garlic, charred onion, chipotle – Executive Chef Roy Ellamar, Harvest by Roy Ellamar (Bellagio)
Lychee ceviche – fresh tropical lychee, jicama, yuzu-citrus emulsion, pickled onions, wasabi-avocado puree – Executive Chef Andrew Carroll, CATCH Las Vegas (Aria)
Champagne Lanson, Champagne Lanson, France
Sante Arcangeli “Split Rail Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains 2016
Duo of beetroot and apple, young shoots of herbs, green mustard sorbet paired with Ladoucette Pouilly-Fumé – Executive Chef Jimmy Lisnard
Butternut squash soup – smoked chestnut-almond pesto, sage balsamic glaze paired with Chenin Blanc, AA Badenhorst Family Wines, South Africa – Executive Chef Jessica Perlstein
Carolina broken rice congee – chanterelle mushrooms, Monterey seagrapes, Sakura Shoyu, nori powder paired with Manotsuru “Bulzai” Ginjo, Sado Island, Niigata – Executive Chef Roy Ellamar
PHOTO: JENN SMULO
Scallops – King oyster mushrooms, beetroot, apple-celery root puree, Brussel sprouts, tamarind brown butter paired with Pio Cesare Barbaresco DOCG 2014 – Executive Chef Andrew Carroll
PHOTO: JENN SMULO
Apple cider cheesecake – Fuji apple confit, hazelnut streusel, mulled cider sorbet paired with Neige Apple Ice Wine – Assistant Executive Pastry Chef Cynthia Inguanzo, Ambra (MGM Grand)
Andrew Carroll, CATCH Las Vegas
PHOTO: JENN SMULO
Andrew Carroll is the executive chef at CATCH Las Vegas at ARIA Resort & Casino. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Carroll traveled to San Francisco to obtain a degree in culinary arts from the California Culinary Academy. With over two decades of culinary experience, Carroll has climbed the ranks, working in major cities around the world and training under a collection of acclaimed chefs and restauranteurs including Geoffrey Zakarian and Brad Farmerie. In 2010, Carroll took his talents outside of the kitchen for the greater good, volunteering around the world and spending one year in Africa to teach essential cooking practices in an effort to help establish feeding programs within the local communities.
In 2011, Carroll began his career with CATCH Hospitality Group, serving as the executive chef of the celebrity-frequented, flagship restaurant, CATCH NYC. Carroll is responsible for developing a comprehensive back-of-house service and training model, which has been implemented across all CATCH restaurants and has been used as the foundation during the opening of CATCH LA, CATCH Playa Del Carmen and most recently, CATCH Las Vegas. Today, Carroll manages CATCH Las Vegas’ daily culinary operations which includes oversight of over 70 team members, menu development and presentation, food quality and sourcing. Carroll’s goal is to consistently create awe-inspiring dishes that complement the venue’s lush design and social atmosphere.
Cynthia Inguanzo, MGM Grand
Carrying a strong work ethic filled with passion for her craft, Cynthia Inguanzo’s inspiring journey has led her to become the assistant executive pastry chef at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Inguanzo sparked interest in the culinary field at a young age, influenced by her grandmother’s homemade recipes and baking cakes for a local orphanage. After high school, Inguanzo studied Computer Science, but her passion for cooking remained. She began taking night courses at Caracas Culinary Institute while simultaneously completing her bachelor’s degree. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, her aspiration to become a chef transpired and she moved to New York City to continue her education at the International Culinary Centre in 2005.
Inguanzo’s sweet tooth and appreciation for precision influenced her decision to switch from savory to sweet and focus her education on baking. In 2005 she earned a Grand Diploma in Pastry Arts. With initial plans to return to Venezuela upon completing culinary school, a conversation with MGM Grand’s executive chef soon became a pivotal moment for her career. In 2006, she was offered an opportunity to relocate to Las Vegas as a pastry helper at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, a Michelin-starred restaurant by the world- renowned “Chef of the Century.” Without hesitation, Inguanzo accepted and spent a year and a half garnering experience in the coveted kitchen. She then held several pastry chef positions within resort restaurants until becoming the assistant pastry chef of banquets for the destination in 2011. In 2016, she was promoted to her current role as assistant executive pastry chef at MGM Grand, taking responsibility for day-to-day operations, inventory management, menu development, banquets and special events.
Jessica Perlstein, Searsucker
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in California, Jessica Perlstein spent much of her childhood helping her mother cook in their kitchen for friends and family. At the age of 15 she became fascinated with the culinary arts and started down the path of her culinary career. Jessica wanted to make people happy through cooking up good food and good conversation and knew the kitchen was where she wanted to be.
In 2001, Perlstein landed her first gig at a local strip-side steakhouse in Las Vegas, NV where she assisted in opening two of Gustav Mauler’s restaurants as their Lead Line Cook. In 2002, she would begin a 13-year career with the Wolfgang Puck brands starting as Banquet Chef at Postrio, followed by Executive Sous Chef at CUT. In 2010 she opened CUT Singapore as their Executive Sous Chef but after a year of exploring Southeastern Asia, she was ready to come back to Las Vegas. Perlstein landed at a Wolfgang Puck staple becoming the Executive Sous Chef of Spago. Her longevity with Wolfgang Puck made her a versatile asset to the company and she challenged herself to create unique offerings while looking up to the likes of Thomas Keller and Anthony Bourdain.
In 2013 she left the Wolfgang family and moved to Portland, Ore.and worked as Sous Chef at the Urban Farmer at Nines Hotel before she returned to Vegas and was a part of the opening team for Alex Stratta at Tapas by Stratta. A new opportunity came up quickly and she received a call from a past mentor and friend, Chef Geno Bernardo who was about to open Herringbone Las Vegas at ARIA Resort & Casino. Perlstein spent two years working as the Executive Sous Chef cooking California Coastal Cuisine with Chef Bernardo at Herringbone before going on to assist their sister property, FIX Restaurant & Bar at Bellagio. In 2018, she landed her first Executive Chef role at another sister property, STACK Restaurant & Bar at Mirage. Perlstein’s parent company, Hakkasan Group saw her talents and when the time was right, moved her over to their social dining venue as Executive Chef of Searsucker at Caesars Palace.
Jimmy Lisnard, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
PHOTO: JENN SMULO
Jimmy Lisnard started helming the kitchen at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at just 30 years old, making him one of the youngest executive chefs in the Chef of the Century’s prestigious portfolio. Here he is responsible for delivering unparalleled experiences designed to dissolve boundaries between the kitchen and dining room. The interactive chef’s counter positioned in the heart of the restaurant is a means for Lisnard to showcase his passion and creativity. Using the plate as his canvas, Lisnard skillfully prepares playful yet sophisticated dishes using only the finest ingredients right before guests’ eyes.
Lisnard first stepped into a professional kitchen at 9-years-old when he accompanied his mother, one of the first female culinary teachers in France, to Lycée Hotelier Francis De Croisset, a culinary school near his native Cannes, France, where she worked. It was here that he remembers feeling at ease in the heart of the kitchen, putting on an apron for the first time and where he would later earn his first culinary degree in 2004; under the teachings of his mother. Lisnard also earned a bachelor’s degree of culinary arts at Lycée Paul Augier in 2006.
After a few years exploring the culinary landscape in France, developing his craft in both pastry at L’amandier de Mougins and luxury dining at 1835 White Palm Hotel, Lisnard became anxious to leave the comfort of his native country and expand his knowledge. That opportunity arose when he accepted the chef de partie position at Joël Robuchon Restaurant at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Here he quickly climbed the ranks to chef de cuisine.
In 2015, Lisnard moved to Chicago to serve as executive sous chef at Omni Chicago Hotel playing a vital role in increasing the luxury resort’s food and beverage ranking within the Omni Group portfolio from 12 to one.
Nearly two years later, Lisnard returned to the Robuchon family where he fulfills L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s promise to create an entertaining and genuine experience complete with opulent cuisine at one of the most coveted restaurants in Las Vegas.
Roy Ellamar, Harvest by Roy
Royden Ellamar, a Hilo, Hawaii native, learned to respect nature at a young age. He grew up farming, fishing and hunting in the Big Island’s pristine terrain with his family and from them, he gained a keen understanding of the process food goes through while traveling from the farm to the table.
Ellamar’s culinary career began at the University of Hawaii where in 1994, he earned an associates degree in food service. He secured his first job in 1996 as sous chef at Fiascos Restaurant in Hilo, during which time he further developed his passion for working with local farmers to bring homegrown produce to the restaurant. After four years he moved to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai where he wore several hats during his tenure including sous chef of Pahuia, the resort’s signature restaurant. Here he continued his work with local farmers by assisting with a menu redesign that featured local ingredients.
Ellamar left the island four years later for the mainland and worked throughout the country as chef de cuisine at notable restaurants including Seasons Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows before making his way to Las Vegas where he accepted the position of chef de partie at MGM Grand’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. In 2008, Ellamar earned the position of chef de cuisine at Bellagio’s Sensi and only three years later, was named the restaurant’s executive chef. In 2015, Ellamar received his own restaurant, Harvest by Roy Ellamar.
Diana Edelman is the founder of Vegans, Baby. She previously lived and worked in Thailand working for an elephant sanctuary and has traveled around the world speaking about the realities of elephant tourism, being a positive activist and entrepreneur at events including TBEX, SEED Food + Wine, VegFest Puerto Rico, VegFest Toronto and more. Diana is a proud partner with the James Beard Foundation and curates their Vegas Vegan Dinner series at the famous James Beard House, as well as the vegan activation, The Farm Stand, at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful festival.