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[Chef Talk]

Don’t touch his spoons: In the kitchen with chef Stephen Hopcraft

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Stephen Hopcraft commands the kitchen at Cosmopolitan’s popular STK steakhouse.

Recognize chef Stephen Hopcraft from Top Chef Season 7? “I used to get recognized at places like the mall, which was kinda cool, but my wife would always just roll her eyes,” jokes the executive chef at Cosmopolitan’s hip STK steakhouse. “Now if I get recognized, it’s at the restaurant, so all the sous chefs roll their eyes.”

Best and worst things about being on Top Chef: “The best thing was the free beer. The worst thing was pretentiousness. The people I was on with were pretty cool, for the most part, but there were some people that really liked standing around and talking about which chefs they’d worked for. Boring!”

Beef obsession: “The Japanese A5, the true Kobe. It’s not an ingredient you do much with but sear it and slice it rare. It’s just that it was banned for so long, and it’s such a delicious product. I’m really happy to be working with it again, and we sell quite a bit of it.”

Spoon obsession: “I have three— one from when I was a sous chef at Bouchon, one from Top Chef, and one from when I first started at STK. I always have them and would be heartbroken if I lost any of them. There have been times when they’ve been accidentally passed down to the dishwasher, and I run around and cry like a baby.”

Best meal ever: “One of my biggest influences was Charlie Trotter, and when I went to the California Culinary Academy, I did an externship at Charlie Trotter’s. It was my last day—and another extern’s last day, too, this kid from Japan—and Charlie sat us both down and started to feed us a 32-course meal. He knew the kind of torture we had endured for six months, and he kicked us down this meal, with a wine pairing. Nobody gets a meal like that.”

Tags: Dining
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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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