Here's something you don't see every day — a former Wall Street banker who's now a chef. But that's not why you should get excited about Bryan Emperor, the new executive chef at F.A.M.E. — Food.Art.Music.Entertainment, opening at The Linq next month.
Emperor was an investment banker with Lehman Brothers, and spent his nights entertaining investors at restaurants. He'd been an exchange student in Japan and came to love Asian cuisine, trying to recreate the dishes he ate at home. He dropped the banking industry for a degree at the Culinary Institute of America, specializing in Japanese cuisine. He went on to apprentice in Tokyo, learning kaiseki, a multi-course Japanese tradition found at fine restaurants.
Then he worked at the original Nobu in New York, and later under chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Gray Kunz. He opened a Japanese restaurant in Beijing, where he added classic Chinese dishes to his repertoire.
Back in the States, he opened TEN Restaurant in Charlottesville, Va., with modern Japanese cuisine, then Departure at The Nines Hotel in Portland, Ore., where he oversaw a menu focusing on traditional Asian cuisine from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand. His work at Kalu Asian Kitchen in Charlotte, N.C., named one of the best new restaurants in America by Esquire in 2011, earned him the Southeast Champion of Food & Wine magazine's inaugural People's Choice Best New Chefs in America competition. Before landing in Vegas, he was the opening chef at Sen in New York City.
So feel free to get excited that at F.A.M.E., Emperor will bring all of that culinary expertise, including tutelage at three Michelin-starred Kikunoi Honten in Kyoto, Japan, from master chef Yoshihiro Murata only three years ago. He plans to serve up a menu of authentic Japanese, Chinese and Korean dishes, using ingredients, beverages and equipment normally only found in Asia.
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Bryan Emperor [Photo: Courtesy]