Chef Paul Bartolotta of Las Vegas Italian Restaurant “Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare” is a chef to watch. Raised in an Italian-American family, Bartolotta’s childhood was spent in the kitchen. Bartolotta’s career began at age 15, when he first started working in restaurant kitchens. He later decided to hone his culinary interests, under the guidance of New York restaurateur, Tony May. May, who then owned the Rainbow Room, was a founder and active member of Gruppo Ristoratori Italiani, a global society dedicated to preserving traditional Italian home-cooking. May instantly recognized Bartolotta’s talent and passion, and arranged for Bartolotta to further his studies in Italy.
Bartolotta remained in Italy for seven years, perfecting his craft of Italian cooking, and trying his hand at several first-class Italian restaurants, including Locanda dell’Angelo and Ristorante San Domenico. Bartolotta was not afraid to think outside the kitchen; while in Italy, Bartolotta hunted with dogs for white truffles, fished in the Mediterranean, and worked at an olive pressing mill, an artisanal cheese farm, regional bakeries, butcher shops, and several wine vineyards.
Bartolotta decided to relocate to France, the gourmet capital of the world, where he worked at Relais et Chateau, Moulin de Mougin, Collognes à Mont D'Or, Troisgros, and Taillevent in Paris. Bartolotta supplemented his work in Paris, with advanced pastry studies at Gaston Le Notre’s Ecôle Le Nôtre.
Upon returning to the United States in 1988 Bartolotta settled in New York City, where he assisted Chef Andrea Hellrigl in the development of San Domenico. In 1991, Bartolotta relocated to Chicago where he served as chef and managing partner at Chicago’s acclaimed Spiaggia, until 2000. Bartolotta’s work at Spiaggia earned him a wealth of local and national fine-dining awards. He was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Midwest; he was the first Italian chef to win the award.
Chef Bartolotta currently serves as the Executive Chef at the Las Vegas Italian Restaurant Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare at the Wynn Hotel. The restaurant has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award, the Forbes Four Star Award, and a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, Southwest – making it one of the best Las Vegas Restaurants. Fresh seafood from the Mediterranean is flown in daily, per chef Bartolotta’s request. Homemade pasta is served indoors or in private outdoor cabanas, against a stunning lagoon backdrop. Carolyn Bates, of Gourmet Magazine, has written of Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare, “So passionately and uncompromisingly Italian… a place I’d eat in everyday.”