The winners of the culinary world’s highest honor—a James Beard Award—will be revealed in Chicago on June 13. In anticipation of the ceremony, we’re chatting with the Las Vegas chefs nominated for Best Chef: Southeast—semifinalists Gina Marinelli and Hongrui Xin, and finalist Jamie Tran.
Gina Marinelli, Harlo Steakhouse & Bar and La Strega
Stirring up genius in the kitchens of La Strega and Harlo Steakhouse & Bar, chef-partner Gina Marinelli touches hearts through the food she shares with the Summerlin community. After honing her skills under acclaimed chefs Michael Mina, Sven Mede, Shawn McClain and Scott Conant, Marinelli was inspired to take a leap of faith and build her own culinary empire off the Strip. From seasonal pasta dishes at La Strega to Harlo’s elevated beef program, highlighted by A-5 striploin certified Japanese Miyazakigyu, chef Marinelli has truly achieved culinary excellence—and the James Beard Foundation has taken notice. 702.333.0402, harlosteak.com; 702.722.2099, lastregalv.com
Hongrui Xin, Big Dan Shanxi Taste
Tucked within the Shun Fat Supermarket in the Pacific Asian Plaza, Big Dan Shanxi Taste is an understated gem of an eatery led by James Beard Award semifinalist Hongrui Xin. It’s here that chef Xin pays homage to Xi’an and his Chinese heritage with dishes full of authentic flavor. Bestsellers include the special hot oil noodles (served with tomato and eggs or vegetables, eggs and pork), pita bread soaked in lamb soup, the Chinese pork hamburger and braised beef noodle soup. Dine in or place an order online to enjoy Big Dan Shanxi Taste on the go. 702.363.6669, bigdanshanxinv.com
Jamie Tran, The Black Sheep
The chef always knows best, especially when dining at James Beard finalist Jamie Tran’s prized kitchen and cocktail concept, The Black Sheep. Tran’s culinary journey began at the age of 4 with a bowl of fried rice, for which her undeniable talent has landed her on Bravo’s Top Chef and as the chef of the year in 2017 for Eater. At her acclaimed eatery, located in Orange Grove at Rhodes Ranch, chef Tran curates Vietnamese-American comfort plates in a modern setting—she recommends the imperial rolls, fried whole rainbow trout and the tres leches Vietnamese steamed cake for first-timers (who are sure to return for more). 702.954.3998, blacksheepvegas.com