Restaurant News You Can Use

12:00 p.m. noon

Historic Fifth Street School Auditorium

We regret to inform you that Chef Hubert Keller had a family emergency and will not be able to attend this year’s book festival.

Chef Keller’s friends and colleagues in the restaurant community stepped up to fill his Headliner discussion this with a compelling topic and list of food influencers

A panel discussion of the current Las Vegas food scene - 2022

  • Moderated by John Curtas, Eating Las Vegas & Attorney at Law
  • Penny Chutima – Lotus of Siam
  • Rob Moore – Rosa Ristorante
  • Eric Gladstone – Feast of Friends

John A. Curtas, Food Critic and Attorney at Law 

John Curtas has been writing about the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. As a resident since 1981, he has seen Vegas grow from the “Town That Taste Forgot” into one of the leading restaurant cities in the world. He started his food writing career on KNPR radio, where his  weekly commentaries aired for 15 years, before moving to local TV stations (KLAS and KVBC), and then to the national stage as a judge on Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America.  

He is the author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 52 Essential Restaurants, which published eight editions up until 2020,  as well as his Eating LasVegas blog (, where he has taken no prisoners since 2008. 

Mr. Curtas has also been the restaurant critic for more local magazines than he can count, including Desert Companion, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Life, SCOPE and VEGAS, and was once on the voting panels for both the James Beard Awards, and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, before he got kicked off for being too opinionated about who was winning them.

John likes to say that he’s been privileged to have a front row seat for the greatest restaurant revolution any city in America has ever seen. He is also a lawyer by trade and a member in good standing in the Nevada Bar, but don’t hold that against him. For health reasons, he confines his diet to the five major food groups: French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and barbecue, and is rarely seen without a glass of Burgundy in hand — which he enjoys all the more when someone else is paying for it.  

Penny Chutima

Penny Chutima has grown up in the restaurant industry, learning the business from her mother, James Beard Award-Winning chef Saipin Chutima. Penny took over ownership of the second Lotus of Siam location and continuing the legacy of her mother’s with the newest Red Rock location and more. Lotus of Siam has been a celebrity and foodie mecca, earning praise from a parade of respected food critics and industry leaders with original recipes, quality sourcing and responsible practices.

Chef Robert Moore

After honing his skills for three decades alongside globally recognized chefs and restaurateurs from New York City to Las Vegas, Chef Robert Moore opened his very first solo venture, Rosa Ristorante, anItalian-American concept in Henderson, NV on April 27, 2022.

Located in the South Las Vegas Valley near the junction of Saint Rose Parkway and Eastern Avenue at the foothill of Seven Hills and Anthem, Rosa Ristorante provides a much-needed dining and drinking destination for locals and visitors alike. 

“My goal at Rosa is to bring back neighborhood dining, offering an approachable, yet superior quality experience” states Moore. “I am humbled by the incredible team I have been fortunate to assemble, and it has been a pleasure introducing the community to our beautiful space, Italian fare, and a beverage program unlike any other in the area.” 

Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Chef Moore’s fascination with food was tapped into at a young age. In the 7th grade, he was accidentally enrolled in a home economics class rather than the metal shop class he intended. After the first day of class making cinnamon rolls, he found his calling and began pursuing a career in the Culinary Arts. 

Chef Moore got his start as a dishwasher in 1989 as a dishwasher at The Grenville Hotel and Restaurant,which at the time was a high-end restaurant in Bayhead, NJ. This was the start of a professional journey that would take him from New Jersey to Manhattan and Brooklyn, before eventually arriving on LasVegas’ burgeoning culinary stage. 

Working his way up through the ranks of New York City’s punishing kitchens, Moore landed a coveted culinary position at Lespinasse, the renowned restaurant heralded by Chef Gray Kunz at The St. Regis Hotel. It was this opportunity that he credits for teaching him some of the most important aspects of being a successful chef and propelling him along his career path. 

“I thought I was a pretty good cook until I worked at Lespinasse,” recalls Moore. “I learned time management, organizational skills, how to work efficiently, and most importantly, let the ingredients shine in every dish.” 

From there, he took the techniques and principles he had honed and applied them to The New York Palace Hotel, Sam DeMarco’s iconic First in lower Manhattan and DeMarco’s Room, before he moved over to Mike & Tony’s Steakhouse just as the Brooklyn dining scene started to boom across the borough. 

In 2004, friend and former Lespinasse colleague, Chef Martin Heierling, invited Moore to move across the country to join his team and help assist in the development of an exciting new concept, Sensi at thenew spa tower at Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas. It proved to be a fortuitous decision as it paved the way for the next position that consumed more than half of his career. 

Rob was appointed as the Executive Chef of Prime Steakhouse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s acclaimed restaurant on the lake of the famous Bellagio fountains, and eventually moved over to open Jean-Georges Steakhouse at CityCenter’s Aria Resort & Casino in 2009. 

In 2015, Moore was asked to return to Prime to oversee Bellagio’s flagship restaurant once again, which led to his tenure of over 15 years working for one of the world's most famous and influential chefs. He attributes his success to the amazing partnership he had with his Executive Vice President of Culinary Development, Greg Brainin, and Executive Vice President Dan DelVecchio. 

Moore’s culinary style - global with nods to French technique and Italian sensibility - fit perfectly with Vongerichten’s. However, the chance to go out on his own and create a place where his American-Italian roots can shine was too great to pass up. In 2021, Chef Moore took a leap of faith and departed from the rewarding mega casino-resort way of life. He looks forward to showcasing the food he enjoyed from his childhood in New Jersey and a style of service he is passionate about as Rosa Ristorante continues to grow and evolve.

Eric Gladstone
Founder/Supreme Leader, The Feast of Friends

Eric Gladstone founded The Feast of Friends in 2018 as a comprehensive marketing and PR agency for independent restaurants and bars, covering everything from branding and concept development to social media, media relations and events. Gladstone's previous career began in music journalism for magazines and websites such as Alternative Press, Spin, Rolling Stone, MTV Online and AOL then shifting to Hollywood, writing for Us Weekly, Life & Style and others and rubbing elbows with the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr, Kim Kardashian and Olivia WIlde. After helping his former wife open the Edendale Grill in Silver Lake (Los Angeles) he transitioned to the worlds of food, wine, cocktails and travel for Bon Appetit and others, and his East Coast/West Coast journey drew him to Las Vegas. 

The multi-awarded Feast of Friends agency currently represents Esther's Kitchen, The Golden Tiki, Al Solito Posto, Ada's Wine Bar, Evel Pie, Gaetano's as well as L2 BBQ, Island Sushi & Grill and others. Previous clients have also included Sparrow & Wolf, Sand Dollar Lounge, Lotus of Siam, EDO, and Kaiseki Yuzu. Gladstone also created & produces the Vegas Unstripped food festival, which will be returning in Spring 2023.

You can read about Eric's adventures in the 90s alternative rock world in his recently published book Anything But Nirvana, available on Amazon and also at AvantPop bookstore here in Las Vegas.