Vegas Platelist: Chef David Walzog

Walzog spends his free time with his wife and two daughters, ages 15 and 8. Although they cook at home, it's more about spending time together. "These days things are moving constantly, so when you're [away from work], you're chilled out or by the pool." As a family, their approach is to "have fun with food instead of making it ceremonial and making it an absolute. 'Let's cook, let's have fun, let's eat and dine together. That's the most important.' You kind of forget the pomp and circumstance of it, for a little bit." He said his family understands the demands the restaurant makes on him, but they try to be together as much as possible. "It works in our world," he said. "There's things that you miss, but there's also, 'you better make time for it,' because that's important. That's the end game…Having a very sound, happy, successful family. My wife and I work really hard at parenting our children to make sure that they have some of those core principles and beliefs that it's hard work, its passion, but ultimately it's honesty. It's being real and forthright and kind of nice."

He may preach and fully understand the importance of time off, but at the end of the day, Walzog loves his work. "I talk a lot about how it never ends, but I also kind of love that it never ends," he said. "It's always coming back tomorrow, but it's also kind of reinventing ourselves every day, every week, every month, and so on, and through seasons." Walzog said this reinvention is a continual driving force of inspiration. "You've got to be in tune with those ebbs and flows of ingredients and guests wants and needs and changes in appetite and dining styles and things like that. "

He said he enjoys the challenge of keeping up with the changes and factoring in what may happen next. "The operating ways of a restaurant and how we run it have strict rules and ways of doing things and understanding... so you know there's not a ton of adlibbing. But, the ways that we operate have to evolve and have... you're shooting at a moving target," he said.

According to Walzog, the nature of a Las Vegas location is that the crowd varies so much, it's difficult to get a feel for what to expect. "So really getting a handle on exactly who they are, what their dining styles are, needs, things like that is always the moving target, but that's a fun part. And you're never going to figure it out so don't try. Try to be as gracious and fun and welcoming and putting out great food. It seems like it's working at our establishment. "

As for reviews, Walzog doesn't put too much emphasis on them. He said a friend once advised him, "Whether it be one star, two stars, three stars, four stars, whatever it may be. You're either working to prove the review right or working to prove the review wrong. It's never not hard work, and it's never not putting your head down and kind of killing yourself. You're either proving the guy right or you're proving the guy wrong... They're the same."

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