Eric Klein Interview

Spago’s Eric Klein Courtesy Jeffrey Green

Spago’s Executive Chef Eric Klein is passionate about his job and it shows. It’s why guests return night after night to Spago’s in Las Vegas. Eric’s smile is contageous and spreads throughout the kitchen, where he continuously deflects credit to his staff, as well as guests, whom he greets like family. The food is so beautifully presented,  guests always pause before picking up a fork!

Chef Eric  was kind enough to share a little about his background, along with a tour of the kitchen for the “Blue Baker” and myself.

Eric Klein Interview

The Gourmet Review

Q  Where did you grow up and learn to cook?

In northeastern France, Alsace. But it’s not what we — what person influences, it’s life in general that influences you to cook something. I mean I love to give a smile to the people.

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Q  What is your favorite food you cook at home?

You know, when you cook every day like we do, the most simple food is the most important thing. Sometimes, it’s food that comforts you, food that makes you happy, not one food. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a kind of food junkie. I like to eat popcorn and, you know, potato chips.  You spend time with your family, so that’s  what’s  the most important thing.

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Q  What do you enjoy most about your job?

I do not enjoy. I love my job. I think what I love the most about my job is to be in contact with people and be a part of a celebration. It’s hard sometimes. But, you know, there are so many things to be joyful about cooking and why we love a job is to make a difference and give — reach other people.

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Kitchen

Q  How much time do you spend creating dishes?

Creating a dish comes by inspiration. It is not just “Okay, today I’m going to create a new dish” and I’m thinking about it. When you cook every day and when you change food all the time, we go with the flow that’s coming in season and say “Ah, let me try something out” and I cook something on the spot and it becomes something  different. So, we spend a long time researching things and reading and looking at what’s happening, and what’s going on around the world.  We think about it and we eat it. We want to please the customer.

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Q  Where do most of your ingredients come from?

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Our ingredients come from all over the world. We have Yuzu coming from Japan. We have the onions coming from Spain. We have fish from Hawaii and the four corners of the world.  We have halibut coming from Alaska. We have oysters coming from the Pacific Ocean. We have our stone crab from Florida and meat coming from Japan.  All the products are coming from all over the world.

Eric Klein Interview

The Gourmet Review

Q  So you go to a central person who oversees all that?

We have companies all over the world – in Chicago, a company in San Francisco, a company in L.A. who are importers. They know what we like, so they call us once a week. “Hey, we’re getting some asparagus this week. Do you want some?” or “We have something today they like from Japan, like Japanese Kobe beef.”

Some (ingredients) are directly imported from Japan. Yuzu comes directly from a small farm in Japan.

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

 Q  Do you have vendors that grow any specific ingredients for yo

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

We have a local land farmer who grows lamb for us. He’ll say, “I got the lambs ready. And then we serve the lamb, which is locally grown.

Eric Klein Interview

Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Another example is Olsen Farm in Nevada. They grew all the microgreens for us. And basically, we say, “Oh, we like this microgreen for radish, we like chives, we like onions, we like .   .   .    or they come to us and say, “Hey, Eric, we have lot of land. I want to grow some melons and some tomatoes. How much do you need?” I say, “Listen, you bring them. I’ll buy them from you.” So the answer to your question is  yes.

NOTE

Thank you Eric, for showing us the kitchen and taking the time  to be interviewed.

What impressed us most is that every single item on the menu is made from scratch every day – every single bread, pasta, dessert, including the six different ice creams and sorbets featured daily. Every item, from whole halibut to meats and chickens are butchered in the kitchen to ensure only the freshest quality meats ever reach the plate.

There is a hands-on component to Spago, which is what makes it such a special place. Chef Eric’s attention to detail in the kitchen, which includes ordering only the very best ingredients, combined with the professionalism of the staff, makes dining here an extraordinary experience!

– The Gourmet Review

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