Haute Dining: 10 Questions for Chef Todd English of Todd English P.U.B.

Chef Todd English, voted one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people, winner of three awards from the James Beard Foundation, author of three cookbooks and involved with numerous restaurants, epitomizes charm, good looks and talent. English demonstrated his ability to mix gourmet cuisine with comfort food for a new culinary delight with the opening of Todd English P.U.B. (Public Urban Bar) inside Crystals at CityCenter, his interpretation of an authentic English pub. Todd English P.U.B. offers bangers and mash; Grichebecktom, the workman’s cheese sandwich with creamy brie and double-smoked bacon; Welsh rarebit, cheese sauce mixed with other ingredients served hot over toasted bread along with Southern American food such as grilled baloney sandwiches. The Carvery is a selection of rotisserie-cooked meats with a choice of bread including sourdough, thick-cut rye, grilled pita and challah and sauces such as pineapple mint jelly, horseradish sour cream and black truffle mayo. The Raw Bar offers oysters — East and West Coast — and little necks, shrimp, lobster and stone crab claws. Buckets of fries such as skinnies, fatties and sweeties — sweet potato fries — come with a variety of mustard dips. Bar food includes grilled soft pretzels; dirty chips — kettle chips with bacon bits, scallions, blue cheese dressing and chicken liver; and cured salmon with potato pancakes

Haute Living: When did you begin your culinary career?
Todd English:
I started cooking when I was 15 in a small Mexican restaurant in Bramford, Conn.

HL: Your background is certainly eclectic with pizza, pasta, Italian, steakhouse, ranch cooking, South American, seafood, French and a jazz club. With Todd English P.U.B., what made you decide on the menu items you offer?
Welsh rarebit is standard English pub food, so we wanted to do that and take some of the traditions of a classic English pub, but mix it up and do the new gastro pubs that are happening now and give a different twist.

HL: Since Las Vegas is one of the top destination cities, a very international and diverse group of people will be coming to the pub. Do you think people are ready to try an English pub cuisine?
English: We are not 100 percent English cuisine, we are more representative of what America is and American food is and that’s what I like about what the menu represents.

HL: What influenced you to offer food from the southern region of the United States?
Well, I was born in Texas and raised in Atlanta, but my family is from New York so I spend a lot of time in New York. However, my first language was Southern.

HL: What are some of those dishes you will be offering?
English: There’s macaroni and cheese, turnips, lobster rolls which is American, fried boloney sandwiches. We like to do twists on different things. The menu is going to continue to grow and we are going to continue to do different things. It’s everyday food that you want to eat.

HL: Is this your way of introducing Southern American cuisine to our international visitors?
Well, my Southern roots show so I guess in a way I am. It’s funny, my chefs have worked with me so long, when I said fried baloney, and they brought in mortadella, where bologna comes from. I said no, we have to bring in baloney.

HL: Yet the carvery is influenced by South American cuisine.
The carvery is about eating meat, it’s a carnivore station. We offer rotisserie-cooked meats like prime beef, roasted chicken, roast duck, brisket and Greek leg of lamb.

HL: How did you feel opening the pub, even though you have opened a number of restaurants?
English: It’s fun. I have hung out in a number of pubs and I knew it was time to do my own, so it was exciting. I have gone on pub crawls, traveled and visited many pubs in Ireland and England, also in the U.S., especially New York. It’s something people feel very comfortable in and I love the fact that locals come in as well as tourists.

HL: Diners now question sustainability and other issues with food. How has this impacted you?
I think what has happened is more opportunity, so the exciting thing is now that world refers to chefs as experts in many different areas especially from the standpoint of food complexity. People want to know what’s in their food, the nuisances, where’s food from? Food is much better that way. As chefs, we are natural nurturers, so that is what I constantly seek out.

HL: Chefs are under so much pressure today with issues of branding, cookbooks and the merchandising. How do you feel about this?
We create our own pressure, as in pressure cooker. At the end of the day, I do these restaurants and what I love to do because I want people to have a good time and have good food.