When it comes to cooking at Aureole, one of Las Vegas’ most celebrated restaurants, 2005 Las Vegas Rising Star Chef Vincent Pouessel gets down to the basics. Straightforward, seasonal ingredients define his sense of style in the kitchen. This fundamental approach to cooking, along with his upbringing and experiences in France, makes him a perfect match for American chef Charlie Palmer’s upscale, Las Vegas showplace.
“Vegas is no longer known for its buffets; it is a true dining destination,” says Pouessel. “For years no one took this town seriously when it came to food, but now it’s one of the most credible cities in America for diners as well as for chefs.” Hailing from a small town in Brittany known for seafood – as well as coming from a family of butchers – Pouessel was naturally infused with the importance of fresh, quality food. He pursued this rudimentary curiosity first at Saint Michel College and then at Lycée Hotelier Notre Dame in St Méen le Grand, where he earned certificates in both Cuisine de Collectivitées and Restaurant Cuisine. He began his culinary career as a seasonal cook at La Mere Pourcel in Dinan before working in both Bordeaux and Paris, where he was honored to be named executive sous chef de cuisine at Le Jules Verne, a Michelin-starred restaurant located inside the Eiffel Tower.
His experience at the world-famous Tower foreshadowed the grandeur of Las Vegas, where he began as sous chef de cuisine at the MGM Grand’s Mansion. While there Pouessel continued to hone his skills and soon left to work at Aureole in Mandalay Bay. Just a little more than a year later, Palmer asked Pouessel to take the reigns as executive chef.
On the rare occasion that Pouessel isn’t in the kitchen, butchering meat, preparing terrines, or running the pass, he indulges his other interests, including his passion for photography. However, when he really needs to let off some steam, he says, “I love to pick up the speed and run the go-kart tracks!”