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Chef Gina Marinelli takes on the challenge of ‘The Globe’

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La Strega Chef Gina Marinelli poses for a photo, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.
Photo: Wade Vandervort

Gina Marinelli was already well on her way to becoming one of the city’s favorite chefs and Italian food specialists before she opened La Strega in Summerlin more than two years ago. Now the rest of the world has the chance to learn about her culinary skills thanks to an exciting new competition show streaming on the Discovery+ network.

The Globe is hosted by celebrity chef Robert Irvine and challenges competitors to create authentic dishes representing different cities and regions around the world. The first episode debuted on July 17 and new shows will be streaming every Saturday on Discovery+.

Marinelli, who cooked in Strip kitchens before opening La Strega and appeared on TV shows like Cutthroat Kitchen and the Vegas-focused Late Nite Chef Fight years ago, was excited to join the field of chef contestants because of the innovative format of The Globe.

“It’s totally different. At first I didn’t want to do something where you get some crazy curveball thrown at you, because that doesn’t really showcase a chef’s skills when you’re just kind of winging it,” she says. “This is really unique, and these chefs I’m competing against are unbelievably talented. All the judges and guests are at this really high caliber, and it was so cool to be part of this first season and see the show come to life. It was very difficult but so much fun.”

Marinelli is known for incorporating different and sometimes rare ingredients into her menu at La Strega, one of the Valley’s most eclectic Italian restaurants, so tackling special dishes and products from specific parts of the world on the show is right up her alley.

“A lot of the stuff I was exposed to on the show, I brought back to La Strega, a lot of random ingredients you can’t always get,” she says. “When you’re staying in the bubble of Italy and using those ingredients every day, that made it really fun to taste and try everything and really run with the challenge. And you can come in to La Strega and see there are some [ingredients] that are very different that we didn’t have last year.”

La Strega shifted gears during the pandemic to adjust to the different restrictions in place over the past year and a half, creating a new takeout lunch menu and hosting special weekend fish market activations. Marinelli also teamed up with Osteria Fiorella at Red Rock Resort recently for a dinner event celebrating that restaurant’s first anniversary.

Now that La Strega is back to normal business operations, the chef is looking forward to continuing to build on her restaurant’s stellar reputation.

“We’re always changing the menu with a lot of seasonality, and I’m just having a good time challenging myself and the cooks to stay relevant,” Marinelli says.

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