U.S. casinos court Kalt's Italian expertise

Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:13pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Stephen Kalt has become a "go-to" chef to create Italian and Mediterranean restaurants at U.S. casinos.

Last summer, Kalt helped launch Fornelletto Cucina & Wine Bar and the more casual Roma at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Previously, the New York native had spent about five years as the executive chef of Corsa Cucina at the Wynn casino in Las Vegas.

Kalt, 52, spoke to Reuters about his cooking style, his family background and working with casinos.

Q: How did you develop your love for cooking?

A: "I was raised by my father and mother, who were really good cooks. My grandparents were from Eastern Europe. My mother's side was from a part of Romania that ran all the way east which had a certain Turkish influence. I always had this childhood sensibility with sweet and savory flavors, which was kind of Mediterranean. I also did a lot of my early training at Le Cirque with Daniel Boulud and I got my French training with him. I was very influenced by that Mediterranean sensibility."

Q: Describe your culinary style

A: "I became known early for my Spanish cooking at Spartina. We did a lot of earth and sea and not being afraid to mix ingredients like meats and fish. I became well regarded for my grilled pizzas from the guys I learned from Al Forno. In Vegas, I started doing contemporary Italian cooking. I became known to lighten up that food."   Continued...

<p>Chef Stephen Kalt is seen in this undated photo. Undated handout/Reuters/Courtesy of Borgata Hotel Casino &amp; Spa</p>