By Erika F. Washington
Next month, the world will be dining at Central Michel Richard at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the first-ever round-the-clock restaurant to be helmed by a James Beard award-winning chef. For those familiar with his “American cuisine with a French accent,” they will be pleasantly surprised to know their favorite signature dishes will be offered 24 hours per day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Michel Richard exemplifies the art of cuisine and a love of his profession and graciously took the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for VegasAllNight:
Can you explain the theory behind the description: “American cuisine with a French accent”?
I am French, it’s where I’m from and it’s the food I love. But I AM also AMERICAN, AND I love America and have been here for more than 35 years. It’s my way of combining the two cultures I love. I HAVE NOT LOST MY FRENCH ACCENT WHEN I SPEAK OR IN MY FOOD. AND I AM PROUD OF IT!
You were trained in France in French cooking, what about American food interests you?
Everything American is food from all over the world. I don’t have to travel, it’s all here. In Las Vegas for instance, we have the best Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, etc.
The Las Vegas restaurant scene is pretty competitive. Does that make you nervous, opening up a new place on the strip?
Inside Caesars Palace is the best location in the world; I love the size of it and the patio. I’m proud to be part of Las Vegas and look forward to people experiencing my food!
Why did you choose to do a round-the-clock style restaurant?
Opening a restaurant in Las Vegas is a dream comes true. It’s a 24 hour town. No one sleeps so it only makes sense to make my food available around the clock. It’s fun food at any hour.
What item do you love the most on Central’s menu?
Many of my signature dishes will be in Las Vegas including my lobster burger and fried chicken, banana split, & chocolate bar. There’s so much crunch in many of my dishes that they’re just so good and so fun to eat.
Will the Las Vegas location premiere any new creations?
Dessert drinks, and small plates at the bar.
What do you love about Las Vegas?
I love the energy and pace of the city. That’s why we decided on a 24-hour format – to keep up, we have to go, go, go! I’ll get to feed a puzzle of people from all over the world.
Cooking or baking, which do you love more?
I began cooking when I was 14. I cooked for my brothers and sisters as my mother worked in the factory. My mother was the one who said to be a great cook; I had to be a great pastry chef first. So baking is the path that led me to cooking. I love to take care of everything, from first course all the way through dessert.
Can you give our readers any kitchen advice?
Don’t try to be a grand chef. When you cook for your friends keep it simple. The goal of entertaining, the most important part, is to spend time with your guests.
Thanks for answering our questions!