Alex Stratta

Chef

Los Angeles

Alex Stratta, whose time at Wynn Las Vegas included two wildly popular restaurants — ALEX and Stratta — has been busy since leaving the resort. In 2011, Stratta introduced his cooking to a national audience as a contestant on the Bravo TV program Top Chef Masters, and in January 2013, he took up residence at Scott Conant's Scarpetta at Montage Beverly Hills as the executive chef. Before his tenure at Wynn Las Vegas, Stratta helmed Renoir at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where he received national acclaim for his marriage of regional French and Italian ingredients. A fifth-generation culinary professional, Stratta worked in hotel kitchens for several years before enrolling in the prestigious California Culinary Academy. He subsequently graduated with high honors and decided to pursue his passion and strive to reach the top of his profession.

  • On July 2
    Kaley Johannesson is now following Alex Stratta
  • On April 8
    Emil Stancu is now following Alex Stratta
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What are the best farmers markets in Los Angeles?

    There’s the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market that’s great. I’m going to try to get most of the [Scarpetta] menu from those markets. There are three — Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday — that I’m going to be hitting. That’s what excites me as far as being a chef, finding incredible people and ingredients.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What are Alex Stratta’s favorite ingredients?

    I love Japanese sea salt and different types of salts. And I love olive oils, whether it’s fruity olive oils or really pungent olive oils used for different meats, vegetables or fish. I love fresh seafood, especially fresh shellfish. I used to have to have my stuff shipped to Vegas, but now it’s all right here, which is great. I’m really excited about that.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What are Alex Stratta’s most important kitchen tools?

    A high-speed blender is very important for making soups and purées. A Japanese mandoline from Benriner is very important. I use that for a lot of things — sometimes more than my knives. A good, solid, heavy sauté pan, whether it’s copper or All-Clad, for even heat distribution is important, especially when you’re working on flat tops like I am now, so you can get a nice sear on meats and vegetables.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What does Alex Stratta love most about his job?

    I like the company. I like the culture at Scarpetta. I absolutely love the kitchen itself; it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a place I wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time in, which I will be doing quite a bit. It’s important to be in an environment that makes you feel that way. The kitchen is beautiful; it’s airy; it’s all glassed in; everything’s marble; it’s just unbelievable. It’s a really good place to work. I’m also really inspired by my staff here. I was very fortunate to have adopted a really good staff, which is usually not the case. Usually, the outgoing chef takes somebody with them, and you’d end up with interesting surprises.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    Is Alex Stratta ever inspired by wine to create a dish?

    I was very involved with the wine selections for the tasting menus at Alex, as well as the wine list. I’ll continue doing that at Scarpetta. That’s not my first focus right now; I just want to make sure the kitchen operates smoothly and positively. But the wine is very important, especially the wines by the glass — it’s definitely part of the experience. And as far as the business is concerned, too, I think it’s important.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    How does Alex Stratta come up with his menus?

    Scott Conant and I discuss the menus for Scarpetta. It’s interesting for me because I’ve always been on my own — a lot of chefs have sous chefs and other chefs involved. It’s nice to be able to get ideas from Scott and vice versa because our priorities are similar. I think we go back and forth pretty well. Our meetings about the menus are actually very easy because we come from similar backgrounds, which helps tremendously. Our process is different because our own personal tastes come in — they’re little details that wouldn’t make or break it, but they’re certainly interesting.
  • On May 6, 2013
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What’s Alex Stratta’s take on the evolution of fine dining?

    One of the main reasons that we closed Alex [at Wynn Las Vegas] is because we saw that super high-end fine dining had turned into this dinosaur. People didn’t want to spend three hours at the table, and they didn’t want to get dressed up. Alex was more of a special occasion place rather than a dining experience. I personally feel that fine dining — in the sense of ingredients and executing really well at a high level — is still very much alive; but I think packaging it at a super high-end restaurant may become very limited in the next couple of years. Dining habits have changed; people don’t have as much time as they used to. They like a more casual feel.

    Here [at Scarpetta] I can prepare foods just as high-end as I did at Alex, but we kind of undress it. It’s a lot more casual — the waiters have aprons. I think it’s going to be a lot more approachable. It’s good for me to get the vibe that Scarpetta has. I’ll be traveling to Miami and New York to get the brand really engrained here, which I don’t think has really been the case yet. I think now that I’m here and there’s a clear direction, it’s going to be a pretty quick fix.
  • On April 3, 2013
    steven olson is now following Alex Stratta
  • On March 21, 2013
    Rebecca Reynolds is now following Alex Stratta
  • On March 15, 2013
    Natalie Wearstler is now following Alex Stratta
  • On October 22, 2012
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What are the best Italian restaurants in Las Vegas?

    I think Scarpetta is good — at The Cosmopolitan. I've heard that Piero's [Italian Cuisine] is good, but I haven't been there. A place called Nora's [Cuisine] is good. Again, it's a couple local places. I'd say Scarpetta is probably the better Italian restaurant.
  • On October 22, 2012
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    When is the best time to visit Las Vegas?

    It depends if you like crowds or not. If you don't like crowds, the first two weeks in December. If you like to be in the thick of it, I'd say the first week in June, when it's just starting to get warm. Everybody's out in their lighter clothes and there's a lot of good people watching. 
  • On October 22, 2012
    Alex Stratta answered the question: Alex Stratta

    What are the best places to stay in Las Vegas?

    I like Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Encore's rooms are beautiful. I think The Cosmopolitan is very cool. Those are the two I'd stay in. The rooms at Encore — there's nothing better. I've been to a lot of hotels, and there's nothing like the Encore. These things are really nice. I'm not biased because I worked there, the rooms are just stunning. The Cosmopolitan draws a young crowd, a lot of people watching which is fun.