It’s rare that a Las Vegas executive chef puts his name on a Strip restaurant, and all the more so at the famously luxurious Bellagio resort. Yet Roy Ellamar, who proved himself at the property’s Asian-influenced Sensi eatery, has been given free rein to express his farm-to-table signature at the new Harvest by Roy Ellamar (which replaced Sensi in January).
“Harvest is my passion project,” Ellamar said. “It has been my dream to create a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip that highlights the best local ingredients, supports regional farms and offers sustainable cuisine.”
Ellamar grew up farming, fishing and hunting on Hawaii’s Big Island, where he gained a keen understanding of the process food goes through between farm and table that has permeated his career.
“[This] gave me a great respect for the food and the people that helped get it there,” he recalled.
Ellamar’s culinary career began with an associate’s degree from the University of Hawaii in 1994. After eight years of honing his craft at prestigious Big Island restaurants, he moved to the U.S. mainland, becoming chef de cuisine at Seasons Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, before accepting the position of chef de partie at MGM Grand’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas.
In 2008, Ellamar became chef de cuisine at Bellagio’s Sensi and within three years became its executive chef.
“Most people find it hard to believe that food can actually grow in the desert, but it’s cool to learn about the different types of produce that can be found here in Vegas,” he said. “Bellagio understands that people want to know where our food comes from.”
Harvest by Roy Ellamar marries his lifelong farm-to-table philosophy to a creative blend of the casual and classy, including innovative “snack wagons” — carts traveling table-to-table offering interesting bites and Ellamar’s adventurous “creations of the moment.”
“At Harvest, we’re trying to cook on the edge of rustic where it’s the middle ground between comfortable and sophisticated,” Ellamar said. “We want to create a unique experience for our guests with our food and atmosphere.”
Paul Rogers, Tribune Content Solutions