The path to opening and running all three of the Batali and Bastianich restaurants in Vegas for Zach Allen sounds simple enough: start washing dishes in a kitchen when you’re 14; go to culinary school – Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, specifically; stage in Paris and New York City restaurants; then get a gig in one of Batali’s restaurants and work your way up.
In 1999, Allen started working for the Batali group at Lupa under the watchful eyes of Mark Ladner. Four years – and a lot of pasta and pancetta – later, Zach was promoted to executive chef to open Otto Enoteca Pizzeria. A Batali protégé to be sure – orange clogs included – Zach became a student of the art of salumi and has been learning the craft from Mario Batali and his father, as well as studying in Italy for the last several years. While at Otto, Allen launched the restaurant’s artisanal salumi program featuring over a dozen cured and aged meats; he now oversees all the salumi programs at the group’s Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles restaurants.
When the Batali/Bastianich group was looking to open three Vegas restaurants at once, they knew Allen was their man. He now leads the kitchens of B&B Ristorante, the upscale, 120-seat restaurant; Enoteca San Marco, the casual wine bar with small plates; and the grand, 300+ seat new-style steak and wine house Carnevino in the new Palazzo casino and hotel - which is why it's no surprise Allen was an easy pick for 2008 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef!