Opening Act


Chef Michel Richard Will Seat You Now

Photo Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Although Chef Michel Richard says he’s “not making unusual dishes,” his menu says otherwise: Lobster burger, cheese puffs and onion carbonara are among the “usual” items.

The James Beard Award-winning chef founded Central (pronounced “sen-TRAHL”) in Washington, D.C., and recently opened Central Michel Richard in Caesars Palace. He calls it “an American bistro but with my French accent.”

“I am not trying to change the world,” he says with a chuckle. “I just want your mouth to dance with pleasure when you eat my food.”

Here, Richard shares his thoughts on dining and other pleasures of Las Vegas.

Where does Las Vegas rank in the echelon of food cities? Las Vegas is one of the top cities for cuisine. I love being in Las Vegas. So many of my friends and fellow chefs have restaurants here too.

You brought Central from Washington, D.C., to Las Vegas. How does the restaurant and crowd differ? Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas are naturally very different but the same. Both cities welcome visitors from around the world, and both have visitors and locals who love and appreciate good food. But the energy in Las Vegas is like no other city.

What’s your favorite thing about Las Vegas? I love the energy and pace of the city. To keep up, we have to go, go, go. And I get to feed a puzzle of people from all over the world.

What makes this city unique when it comes to dining? It’s a twenty-four-hour town, so it only makes sense to make my food available around the clock. It’s fun food at any hour.

Everyone raves about it, so tell us about your fried chicken. I’m in love with the chicken: crisp, crunch! I love the grand crunch. We use larger bits of bread, like plump snowflakes, and this creates a larger surface area that crisps as it cooks.

Best food cure for a hangover? My fried chicken…cold.

Who is your favorite entertainer in Las Vegas? Elton John and Céline Dion.

How do you spend your free time in Las Vegas? I love seeing the sights on the Strip.

Best place to catch a drink after a hard day’s work? I know it sounds self-promotional—but Central is a great place to grab a cocktail and people watch. Our gorgeous bar is RIGHT THERE in the busy main lobby at Caesars Palace. It’s in the middle of all the action.

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