It’s been about a year since Fatimah Madyun took over as chef de cuisine at Rao’s at Caesars Palace, where Las Vegas visitors—and locals, too—expect their favorite Italian dishes to come out perfectly every time. No problem, says the chef.
Is it difficult to maintain the high standards and familiar recipes at Rao’s, or does that consistency make it easier to produce? Sometimes it’s a bit of both. People always want that high standard that they might know from [the original restaurant in] New York, and we do a good job of keeping it consistent.
What are your favorite Rao’s dishes? To cook or to eat?
Both! My favorite to eat is the veal chop with sweet and hot cherry peppers. It’s pretty simple but really good, but there’s a lot to it so it’s not a lot of fun making that dish. But it’s so good. I like to get into the pasta dishes, making our lasagna from start to finish, the sauce, the noodles, everything. Whenever I have the chance to make fresh raviolis, I’m all over that.
How much room is there for you to get creative and add to the menu? The specials are my area to play around and try new things, and when we do special menus for Three Square’s Restaurant Week [starting August 22]. We’ve been doing some things with scallops lately, like couscous with Spanish olives, heirloom tomato, seared scallop and a roasted red pepper beurre blanc.