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Home > CHEF SECRETS > Las Vegas Chef Secrets > Scott Conant (Favorite Local Spots, Most Memorable Meal, Experiences on Food Network)


Favorite Local Restaurants, Most Memorable Meal, Experiences on Food Network

Chef/Creator Scott Conant

TravelsinTaste had the distinct pleasure of engaging one of New York’s most beloved and respected chefs, not to mention one of the country's preeminent Italian masters: Scott Conant. Host of "24 Hour Restaurant Battle," a judge on "Chopped" and owner of five Scarpetta restaurants across North America, plus his latest concept, D.O.C.G. Enoteca in Las Vegas, Chef Conant's cuisine is legendary in our hometown of New York. We were especially pleased, therefore, to have the opportunity to ask him about his favorite local restaurants, his friend Geoffrey Zakarian, his experiences on Food Network and his most memorable meal.

TravelsinTaste: If you were taking a chef friend out to dinner, where would you take him?

Scott Conant: It depends on the friend. Geoffrey Zakarian and I are very close friends, but Geoffrey is wildly pretentious. Geoffrey is the discerner of fine things, so I think if I were to take him to a restaurant in L.A., for example, I might take him to a place he would really appreciate, like Mozza, the pizza place. I think he would love that. I also think he would equally appreciate Providence in L.A. for similar reasons. They're at two very different ends of the spectrum, but equally wonderful. My friend Marcus Samuelsson actually took me to dinner one night, and because he has an Ethiopian background he said, "Let's go to an Ethiopian restaurant across town here in New York." I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was spectacular. We sat on the floor and we ate with our hands and we bonded over this delicious food. It was an experience of relating to part of his background and his culture, something he was reintroduced to over the years. When you speak about food, you think about culture. It depends on whatever it is and whomever you're sharing those things with, but the most important thing is the bonding you have with your group.

TravelsinTaste: Speaking of your friend Geoffrey Zakarian, we went to his restaurant The National for Thanksgiving and had one of the most perfect scallops we've ever had. It was simply perfection.

Scott Conant: Geoffrey has always been very successful. His standards are pretty much unparalleled. Very few people have attained the level of success he has. But recently, with the whole Food Network thing and becoming the next Iron Chef and all that stuff, it seems weird. Because I am a lot younger than he is. I'm joking, but not really. I'm so proud of the guy. I love to see that success and he handles it so well. He's a gentlemen, a great guy and a great friend. I'm his biggest fan.

TravelsinTaste: We're a big fan, too. When we watched the finale of "The Next Iron Chef," tears came to our eyes as Geoffrey Zakarian won. It looked like such a heartfelt journey for him.

Scott Conant: He had the party at Scarpetta, so his wife showed up. I have to tell you it was such a touching moment, if you're a sucker for the family stuff like I am. I have a wife and a 2-year-old and a baby on the way, so I'm a sucker for that stuff. I'll weep like a child. Him looking at his wife and saying, "Thank you for holding it together while I did that," was so touching. It was just ridiculous. I couldn't say anything about it for a month. It worked out, God bless him.

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