Vegas Platelist: Chef David Walzog

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Walzog said that as he was growing in the business, he didn't really have a set goal in mind. "The only goal and kind of things I set before me was making my way in an industry, paying the bills, and loving to go to work everyday," he said.

At 24, Walzog was able to further sharpen his skills as opening chef under Chef Mark Miller at Red Sage in Washington, D.C., another potent classic chef. "He's wonderfully passionate, hugely educated, he was a wealth of information and he's just a resource and a really great guy," he said. Miller showed Walzog the art of developing a menu and determining the way a restaurant would behave. Walzog said his position under Miller was incredibly fortunate, and he admits, "was probably above my head and above my years of experience," but Walzog made the most of it. "I was kind of his right hand in that opening. You talk about just… second to none kind of experience, especially in a young career, was just fantastic…to learn from him, that's where a huge amount of ingredient passion and food passion and development passion and kitchen, all that stuff was great."

He returned to New York as Executive Chef at Arizona 206, again an incredible opportunity for his age. "I was 24, 25 years old and helming what was in the mid-80's and late-80's the hottest thing kind of going," he said. "They had three-star review after three-star review, it was very contemporary, stylish, slick, fun, -- a tequila-driven, Southwestern cuisine restaurant that was really cool," he said.

Walzog credits his past experiences for helping him land the gig. "Working with and for Mark Miller and doing that whole development… it was a master's program in southwestern flavors, ingredients, developing levels of flavors and plates, and 'why's?' and 'how comes?' No question about it. I think that I went and had a great experience at Gotham with Alfred, and I went and had a great experience, doing a whole other curriculum at Red Sage," he said.

It was during his tenure there that his Southwestern menu caught the attention of the New York Times (he was awarded three stars), and his flair for lively tastes translated to steak house cuisine garnered him much attention.

Walzog became the corporate executive chef at the Glazier Group in New York City, putting him in charge of the city's legendary The Steakhouse at Monkey Bar, Michael Jordan's The Steak House NYC, for whom he developed their brand steak sauce, and three Strip House restaurants.

Walzog was recruited to Vegas in 2005 to head the staff at SW Steakhouse. "Although it's very rewarding to cook in New York, I think it's even more so rewarding to cook in Las Vegas because guests are there to have nothing but a great time," he said.

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