Friday, December 3, 2010

What's Happening To Bradley Ogden at Caesars?

In my interview with the new director of restaurants for Caesars Palace this morning, I asked Franck Savoy about what’s happening to Bradley Ogden. This was the first significant food name at Caesars Palace proper -- distinct from Forum Shops, which Harrah’s does not own but where Wolfgang Puck began the food revolution in the early 1990s – and Ogden is extremely important for its proximity to the entrance the Colosseum. It’s a special, coveted location the likes of which really don’t exist anywhere else on the Vegas fancy-food scene.

Afterward, I Tweeted that Savoy said Ogden wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. This prompted a note from a fellow reporter who told me that this was not so, that Ogden himself has been open about his desire to depart.

So I figured I’d do something unusual and post this snippet of a transcript of that part of the interview. Think of it as a teaser, and tune in and join the chat at LVRocks.Com on Saturday from noon-2 p.m. to hear the entire Savoy conversation – yes, I ask his fast food preferences and whether Caesars will go vegan like Wynncore -- as well as a live debate between me and Eating Las Vegas co-author Al Mancini. And, to top it off, we’ll have a food-related, live interview edition of the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week that will delight guest host Amy to no end, I believe.

Anyhow, here's the Ogden stuff:

Savoy: I know there are a lot of rumors of Bradley Ogden closing next month or two months or even six months. This, I have to tell you, no. This is not true. Why this rumor occurred is that Bradley Ogden’s contract is over in two years and a half. Caesars Palace is of course obviously looking around right now for what we can do with Bradley Ogden. It might be again Bradley Ogden, it might be somebody else, but on today, this is December 3, I’m telling you that Bradley Ogden will continue until the end of his contract. It will be the same restaurant. It will be the same James Beard Award-winning restaurant. We’ve added a couple of steaks on the menu to make it more American-style cuisine and it’s doing very well, the restaurant.

I then asked about John Curtas' shredding critique of Bradley Ogden in late 2009.

Savoy: I have no idea why he said that. We just did a couple of changes in the food and beverage department (at Caesars Palace). First of all, we have a new VP. Obviously, we have a new director of restaurants, which is me. You have the current chef de cuisine of Bradley who became the assistant executive chef for Caesars Palace, Todd Williams. And we have a new chef at Bradley and we also have a new GM at Bradley and that was before the GM at Tableau at Wynn and before that GM at Alex at the Wynn. See, this is another reason I am telling you Bradley is not closing tomorrow because we put some very key staff in there.

So that's the official line, anyway. Maybe all of these changes were prompted by Ogden’s dissatisfaction? Time will tell. That's why we get these thing on the record.

FYI, the podcast version will post probably Sunday if you can’t make it to the live show. You can subscribe for free via iTunes or Zune. Also, you can listen live via your smart phones at LVRocks.Com, too, and don't have to join the chat to listen. It's more fun that way, though.