BOOK: "Personal Favorites: The Chefs of Las Vegas," by Heidi Knapp Rinella (Stephens Press, $24.95).
TARGET AUDIENCE: Those who'd rather knead dough than gamble with it.
Part of the ongoing transformation of Vegas from gambling mecca to entertainment titan is the rush of the country's top chefs into the desert. As a result, food- ies don't have to look hard to find the latest culinary offerings from every Tom, Dick and Wolfgang. Rinella, a restaurant critic for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, profiles 13 of Sin City's most noted chefs and includes their favorite recipes and a brief overview of their eateries.
An engaging blend of sumptuous photography and dashing design, the book will appeal to anyone who likes to eat, though some of the recipes aren't for the faint of heart (Marc Poidevin's Roasted Monkfish Medallion with Crayfish Tails, Potato and Celery Root Galette among them). The profiles themselves, while informative, are definitely on the shallow end of the saucepan and prone to self-serving quotes. (Todd English, for example, says cooking is the result of "God-given ability. I think I was blessed with that.") Much more useful for travelers in search of a good meal are Rinella's asides on each chef's restaurants and her menu suggestions.
-- John Deiner