|Chef Beni Velázquez, Chef-Owner, Bar + Bistro|
Chef Beni Velázquez, Chef-Owner, Bar + Bistro
Chef Beni Velázquez takes fusion cuisine to an entirely new level. As chef-owner of Bar + Bistro in Las Vegas' Arts Factory building, he blends regional cuisines and flavors from Spain to Italy, France and Morocco to his native Puerto Rico. Beni was raised in New York City and the dishes he creates are based on the food he was surrounded by growing up. The self-taught chef spent time cooking in the kitchen with his mother from an early age, but during and after college, Beni was on a different trajectory towards architectural design and the performing arts. He began working in hotel banquet and catering kitchens and worked his way up the ranks, learning technique and cooking fundamentals from the French chefs with whom he shared the kitchen. He soon established himself as a professional chef in hotels including The Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton. He spent about 12 years consulting for various hotels, casinos and restaurants and also served as corporate chef for Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Palo Alto, California and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
In February 2011, Beni landed in Las Vegas, where he opened Bar + Bistro in the Arts Factory. Since its inception, Beni has earned the restaurant a spot in several "Best Of" lists in national and regional publications plus a seat as a contestant on Food Network's Chopped. At Bar + Bistro, Beni uses sustainable seafood and organic ingredients wherever possible. Almost everything is made from scratch with seasonal ingredients from the jams and jellies to the ricotta, dressings and sauces. He was first introduced to The Perfect Purée line of products while serving as corporate chef for UCLA. He utilized the purées in various applications as it saved time and always produced a consistent flavor profile.
Today at Bar + Bistro, Beni incorporates the purees into his seasonal jams and jellies including strawberry, blueberry and green apple & jalapeño. He says the purées enhance the flavor, resulting in a pure fruit taste. He uses the purees for their all natural ingredients and their ease of use. Beni also creates a popular dish on his menu that utilizes the Roasted Red Pepper Puree: his Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with romesco sauce.
Beni continues to experiment with the flavors of The Perfect Purée in his Latin American fusion menu at Bar + Bistro.