chef.gif We caught up with Chef Josh Miragliotta of Jack Binion’s Steakhouse at Horseshoe Casino Hotel Southern Indiana and Chef Justin W. Simmons of Cavanaugh’s Restaurant at Casino Aztar to get the dish on being an executive chef and the making of a quality dining experience.

p14_horseshoechefjosh_comp.jpgChef Josh Miragliotta

Horseshoe Casino Hotel Southern Indiana
Restaurant: Jack Binionâ??s Steakhouse
Contact: (866) 676-SHOE â?¢

What do you like the most about being an executive chef?

I love the creative aspect â?? leading a team to perfection, or the constant pursuit toward it. It is an ever-changing industry â?? new faces, new ingredients, new challenges to overcome. Guiding and mentoring young talent.

What is the process for developing new menu items?

I run daily dinner features that constantly raise the bar. Challenging my staff to different things daily. If a dish is successful, we run it in rotations. Our main menu is comprised of classic dishes that are done right. We are not reinventing the wheel, we are just making sure itâ??s the best wheel available.

What should people look for when identifying a quality restaurant?

They should look at the staff â?? the staff should be knowledgeable and on their game. Patrons should be laughing and enjoying themselves. The food should be spot-on â?? not a blemish on the plate. Hot food is hot and cold food is cold. Flavors should be layered â?? the further you get into your dish, new flavors should appear.

p14_aztarchefjustin_comp.jpgChef Justin W. Simmons

Casino Aztar Evansville
Restaurant: Cavanaughâ??s Restaurant
Contact: (800) 342-5386 â?¢

What do you like about being an executive chef?

The thing I like the most is the creativity. I am afforded quite a bit of creative freedom in the menu development.

What are some important factors in running a successful restaurant?

One of the most important factors in a successful restaurant is world-class customer service. If you provide that level of service, a lot can be forgiven. You also need a well-trained and top-notch staff (both in front and back of the house) to prepare and serve the food.

What should people look for when identifying a quality restaurant?

I always tend to look at the faces of people leaving the restaurant. If they are smiling, odds are they had a tremendous dining experience.

What makes the perfect dining experience?

The perfect dining experience is controlled by a number of factors including a calming and relaxing atmosphere; quiet music; a courteous, professional and attentive service staff; great menu selection; and a wine menu that complements each menu item.