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Home > FINE DINING > Las Vegas Fine Dining > Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare > Conversations with Chefs
Paul Bartolotta (Part 1 of 6)
"We're living in a world where everything we do becomes less and less personal. Everything we do becomes more clinical, analytical, more gadget driven. [Restaurants are] one of the last bastions of emotional human interaction. You call the bank, you don't talk to a person anymore. You pump your own gas. Everything is like we're stopping to interact with human beings and have a moment. Here, you get two hours, one-and-a-half hours, of time where someone is taking care of you. Let's not forget that we are taking care of you and we need to create, I hate this word, 'authentic' and real experiences for the guest so that it resonates. I talk to my staff about little things that we put in our head, like 'Knowledge is confidence,' so that we're well trained to speak about it. Communicating naturally, using language that is natural to you. I don't want you to get into slang, but I want the customer to feel you are what you are, and I want them to feel your personality, and that's important that it gets transmitted to the guest."

Chef Bartolotta acquired many of his beliefs about the restaurant industry while studying under a string of culinary masters - his mentors. "I like the word mentor," he says, "because I look at it as a plural rather than a singular. I've been very fortunate, as I've had a great number of people who have mentored me over the years. I like to think of myself as a mentor now, as well, because there are all these very different people who have very profound impacts on me and all have a part in my food.

"There's no question that in terms of my passion for life, I got that from my dad. I believe there's also no question that my ferocious appetite for information and my love of life is definitely from my father. In terms of apprenticeships: My first apprenticeship was with a chef by the name of John Marangelli, who was in my hometown of Milwaukee. He really taught me the first things in a professional kitchen. He taught me about the development of flavor, the balance of ingredients, time and temperature that equal flavor. Those were the things that gave me the building blocks for flavor."

And flavor is of the utmost importance, Chef Bartolotta adds. After all, taste is the one thing that has made him truly successful, he says. "You can run a restaurant where everything looks great, or the menu reads great, and then you have a really good meal and the ingredients are fresh and the chef is a good technician, but there is something that is a really difficult thing to measure. It's when you eat something and it just kind of is right. It has a sense of place, it has a balance of textures and flavors. I don't know how to describe it, but I believe that is the single most important thing. Taste is my point of difference. You look at other restaurants and they may serve it in a more hip or trendy way, and their menu reads cooler than mine, yet dish by dish, meal by meal, I feel very good about the flavorings profile we serve."

Read more of TravelsinTaste.com's exclusive interview with Chef Bartolotta. Or, to learn even more about this amazing chef, read his biography. Can't wait to taste Chef Bartolotta's superlative cuisine, here's a recipe to try at home.

Still hungry? We offer an in-depth look at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, complete with a rundown of all its delicious menu items, in our full listing.

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