Chef Talk: James Richards, Chef de Cuisine at Table 10

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James Richards

Emeril Lagasse’s popular Las Vegas restaurant, Table 10 at The Palazzo hotel, specializes in serving up world-class dishes that combine authentic New Orleans creole classics with American favorites. Lagasse’s talented chef de cuisine, James Richards, has been with him since 2010 and their creative chemistry is a big reason why Table 10 continues to roll out fresh dishes that have foodies flocking here each week. After graduating from the Iowa Culinary Institute in 2010, Richards migrated to Las Vegas and began working as a line cook at Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse before being promoted to manager-in-training in 2012. From 2012-2015 Richards worked at the sous chef at Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, before he took over as the chef de cuisine at Table 10. His menu has perfectly complimented Lagasse’s original concept while concentrating on fusing quality local and seasonal ingredients with modern cooking techniques. It’s Richards infectious energy, excitement and passion that comes through in every dish and he has made Table 10 a must-try dining experience. We recently spoke with him for our latest Chef Talk installment where Richards shares his secrets to what keeps people coming back to Table 10.

What excites you about cooking in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is an ever changing culinary landscape. You are not bound by a culture or cuisine but rather you are encouraged to explore as many as possible. You have access to any products you can imagine and because of the high quality and creativity of fellow chefs, you are always pushed to your maximum creativity. Also there’s a rumor the Michelin Guide may be coming back to Las Vegas and as a chef, that is the ultimate achievement.

What is it about cooking for a Las Vegas audience that is different than other major foodie markets?

The majority of people you are cooking for, you will probably never see again. You have to create menus that will entice and bring all walks of life through the front door. This is a tourist town and there is a constant flow of new palates to please. You usually only get one shot to truly impress your guests and that raises the stakes immensely for perfect plates.

What goes into curating your menu?

Seasonality rules all. Food is best when it’s at the peak of its season and at the peak of its freshness. I let the ingredients tell me how they should be served and make them the star. I also have a soft spot for anything that comes from my home state of Iowa, so anytime I can, I try to highlight those memory-invoking ingredients.

Do you feel a menu can have more “risks” in Las Vegas as opposed to other markets?

Of course our menus are higher risk menus. We are faced with the challenge of being creative and innovative in all aspects of our menus. Some people may not understand the message you are trying to send and be confused by some of the modern techniques and fusion cuisines that are developing.

How often do you add/subtract menu items?

We change our menu with the change of the seasons. Sometimes I’ll make some tweaks in between if I happen to stumble upon an idea that I truly believe needs to be shared with our guests.

Where do you source your ingredients from?

We get our ingredients from as many local farms as possible. This is difficult in the middle of the desert but you’d be surprised at some of the high quality ingredients we are producing in Nevada. I always have to give props to Gilcrese Orchard and High Desert Farms. A lot comes from California and Seattle as well, and like I said anytime I can get a great Iowa product on the menu I’m all about it.

Do you do seasonal specials?

We run specials every lunch and dinner shift. They’re as seasonal as our menu.

What are your favorite items on the menu?

Right now I’m hooked on our BBQ duck with blueberry barbeque sauce. Our filet is killer as well, and who doesn’t love a great piece of beef topped with bone marrow butter. Our ahi tuna tartare is one of my pride and joys as well.

What dishes are a “must” if it’s your first time here?

All of the above as well as our candied bacon, Emeril’s Berkshire pork chop and Emeril’s smoky mushroom pasta. But the best way to go is with our Taste of Table 10 menu. Four courses for $48 gives you the chance to experience us at our best without emptying your wallet.

Describe your restaurant in one sentence?

A modern creole/American restaurant that focuses on seasonality and a truly unique guest experience.

Table 10 at The Palazzo
3327 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 607-6363

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