Chef Emeril Lagasse received his first culinary experience from his mother, Hilda, when he was a boy growing up in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts. As a teenager, he worked at a Portuguese bakery where he mastered the art of bread and pastry baking. Upon high school graduation, Lagasse was offered a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music, but decided to pursue a career as a professional chef.
Chef de Cuisine
Ronnie Rainwater was born and raised in Southern California outside of Los Angeles. He grew up in the kitchen, shadowing his Southern grandmother at the stove; anxious to taste anything he could get his hands on.
Chef Ronnie attended Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and obtained a Culinary Arts Degree in 1999. One of his early jobs in the industry was an internship in the kitchen at The Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, where he helped prepare dinners and private events for guests.
In June 1999, Ronnie was offered a position as a cook at Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian and moved to Las Vegas. In 2007, he was promoted to executive sous chef at the restaurant.
In January 2011, after working with Emeril for over 11 years at his restaurants in Las Vegas and on the East coast, he was tapped to become the next chef de cuisine of Delmonico Steakhouse.
Today, he leads the kitchen at Delmonico and oversees all facets of its culinary operations, from sourcing products, to managing the restaurant’s in-house dry-aging program for prime U.S.D.A. beef, to crafting ambitious nightly tasting menus for guests at his kitchen table. His love of simple fresh ingredients has helped him cultivate close relationships with local farmers who supply the restaurant with their best products including beets, heirloom tomatoes, squash blossoms and seasonal herbs. A local orchard provides him with fresh apples and cider, along with the apple wood used to brine and smoke the restaurant’s house cured bacon.
One of his favorite dishes on the menu, Delmonico’s dry aged bone-in ribeye, may best represent his cooking philosophy and style in the kitchen: taking top quality products, preparing them simply and expertly, and pairing them with the comfort and hospitality that makes Delmonico Steakhouse’s guests feel right at home.
Tuan Tran has worked with renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse for 23 consecutive years, working his way up from busboy to general manager of Lagasse's popular Delmonico Steakhouse in The Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino. When asked why he enjoys his job, he simply replies: "I love working for Chef Emeril."
Tran was born in Vietnam but moved to New Orleans as a child with his family in 1979. He got his start in the restaurant industry as a teenager, working as a busboy at a restaurant on New Orleans' West Bank. When Chef Emeril Lagasse opened his first and eponymous restaurant in 1990, Tran applied for a busser position. "I had heard Emeril was a good chef at Commander's Palace," Tran says, "so I wanted to try out a new restaurant."
And he hasn't looked back. Starting at Emeril's, Tran moved through the ranks and Lagasse's other restaurants, helping to open NOLA Restaurant in 1992 as he worked through college. Tran attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, working at NOLA on weekends. He graduated with a degree in sociology in 1997, but stayed with the restaurant, still loving the energy and excitement of the bustling French Quarter outpost.
Tran was promoted to Dining Room Manager at NOLA in 1999, before moving to Las Vegas in 2001 to work at another one of Lagasse's restaurants, Delmonico Steakhouse. Tuan became Delmonico's Assistant General Manager in 2008, and was promoted to General Manager in October 2012. Tran's mother, affectionately known as "Mama," continues to work at NOLA Restaurant, where she's the sole crafter and creator of the restaurant's famous appetizer, Miss Hay's Stuffed Chicken Wings.