Jason Neve began working with Mario Batali’s restaurant empire at Del Posto in New York City almost 10 years ago. The young chef was soon shipped out to Las Vegas to help open B&B Ristorante at Venetian. Today, Neve is culinary director overseeing all four of the company’s Vegas restaurants.
What was it like to “audition” for a position at Del Posto? It was an intimidating place. I was one of the few non-Batali cooks to start there, and they pretty much gave us a menu and said go make this stuff. I spent a couple days studying up and figuring it all out. To make these dishes and walk up to a table of Lidia Bastianich, Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali and Mark Ladner sitting at a four-top and put your plate down and hope you have a job in a few minutes, that’s pretty intense. But it was a cool thing to be a part of.
Italian food on the Strip has changed a lot over the years, and B&B helped by adding a little more variety. I think so. People are getting away from thinking Italian is just red tablecloths and veal marsala. There’s a lot more to this food. There are 21 different regions in Italy, and each is like a small state. It’s like the cuisine of Florida or Texas. You can’t just say there’s one American cuisine.
How different is your job now that you’re culinary director? I still try to spend as much time on the line as I can and still consider myself a cook. But it’s hectic with one restaurant—there’s always something going on, something is broken or a truck missed its delivery. Then multiply that by four. I can’t really plan my schedule. I wake up and check my email and keep my fingers crossed that it’ll be a smooth day of cooking.