When Gamal Aziz (then the president of MGM Hospitality) approached Joël Robuchon about opening his first U.S. restaurant in Las Vegas, the lauded chef had his initial doubts.
"I thought it would be difficult to do in certain culinary aspects because it's in the middle of the desert," he remembers with a smile. "You see, for us in France, we automatically think of books we read as children, with cowboys and Indians, where you see a cowboy lost in the middle of the desert!"
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But once he tried the produce he could access from California— and the quality of American wheat— he was all in. Ten years after opening, his avant-garde L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and the three-Michelin-starred Joël Robuchon both remain top destinations among the city's fine-dining spots.