Is the small and slow-moving Northeastern North Carolina town of Edenton ready for the flash and flair of Vegas? Stay tuned, you-all.
Celebrity Chef Vic Vegas – best known for his numerous appearances on the hit reality TV show Bar Rescue – has been named Executive Chef at The 51 House on the Edenton waterfront, owner Rose Tummarello has announced.
Vegas played a lead role in the restaurant’s launch in the fall of 2016. Now he’s coming back to help oversee restaurant operations and spice up its culinary image, Tummarello said.
He’ll also take charge of all culinary aspects of Tummarello’s dream project – transforming the second floor of the restaurant into the region’s premier event space for weddings, banquets, corporate events and private parties.
Construction is underway, with a grand opening gala planned for mid-March.
Chef Vic is a self-taught chef specializing in traditional Italian and contemporary American comfort food, or, as he calls it, “food people like to eat.”
He worked his way up the culinary ladder from dishwasher to executive chef at a Las Vegas hotel restaurant. He moved from Brooklyn to Las Vegas when he was 13, but his culinary style reflects his classic, New York Italian background.
Today he’s known for a unique style that blends Vegas flair with the traditional recipes he learned from his mother and grandmother. “They’re really the reason I took this position at The 51 House,” he said in an interview. “I’m involved in a lot of projects, doing a lot of different things, but being a restaurant chef wasn’t one of them. I’m doing this as a way of paying homage to them, to get back to the basics they taught me, now I can teach others,” he said. “So when Rose called with the offer, I didn’t hesitate.”
“I’m involved in a lot of projects, doing a lot of different things, but being a restaurant chef wasn’t one of them. I’m doing this as a way of paying homage to them, to get back to the basics they taught me, now I can teach others,”
His 20-year career in the food industry includes a stint as the event specialist at the Rumor Boutique Hotel and Resort and the House of Lords Steakhouse in Las Vegas, where he specialized in high-volume banquets, holiday functions, weddings and corporate parties.
He first gained national television exposure in 2008, when he won the Gold Medal in the Food Network Challenge Big Bash Catering competition, followed by making the finals of the Food Network’s Next Star competition in 2010.
Tummarello brought in the Bar Rescue team – headed by star Jon Taffer – to flip their usual script and help her start the restaurant. “Jon’s team usually comes in to save restaurants from going under,” she said. “I thought we could bring them before we even opened, so we’d do things the right way from the beginning.”
Taffer and his team came up with every aspect of the new restaurant’s identity and operation – concept, design, décor and menu. As it turns out, the Taffer team’s most important contribution might have been bringing in a chef named Vic Vegas.