Interview with Chef Rene Lenger, Switch, Encore Las Vegas

Posted on Jul 26, 2010 under Archives, Chefs, Interviews | No Comment

I sat down with Chef Lenger for a short chat before sampling a great tasting menu at Switch restaurant, located at Encore Las Vegas.

René Lenger is the executive chef of Switch at Encore, the new signature resort in the  Wynn collection, where he serves modern seafood and steakhouse fare with an  emphasis on the finest market ingredients. Lenger joined Wynn Resorts in 2005 as  executive chef of The Country Club, A New American Steakhouse.

“At Switch, I hope to provide my guests with a truly unique dining experience,” says  Lenger. “The seasonally-inspired cuisine combined with the restaurant’s theatrics offers  an event that’s in a class of its own. There’s nothing like Switch in Las Vegas.”

Previously, Lenger spent seven years working alongside David Walzog, (former  executive chef of The Country Club, now executive chef of SW Steakhouse, also at  Wynn Las Vegas) at Strip House, Michael Jordan’s and Monkey Bar, where they were  both key members of the Glazier Group, a prominent restaurant company based in New
York.   Born in Vienna, Austria, Lenger grew up in a home where food played a major role. The  chef’s father was a professor at the esteemed Culinary Institute of Vienna and taught  Lenger at an early age how to make Austrian specialties such as taffelspitz and gulasch.  By the time Lenger graduated from high school, he was hooked on cooking and applied
to the Culinary Institute of Vienna where he graduated at the top of his class.

Upon graduation Lenger trained at Zu den drei Husaren under three-toque chef Ewald
Plachutta. While working under Plachutta, he would set off daily for the market, choosing
items for that evening’s menu.

By the early 90’s, Lenger seized the opportunity to come to New York to work at the
Rhiga Royal Hotel. To build upon his already impressive culinary background, he
decided to master pastry arts and accepted a position as assistant pastry chef at the
hotel. Lenger returned to Vienna in 1993 where he worked at another three-toque
restaurant, Altwienerhof, and then became an executive chef at Da’ Marcello. By 1996,
the chef was ready to move to the U.S. and was hired as executive chef at Theodore
Restaurant, a critically acclaimed Austrian-American brasserie in New York’s flatiron

In 1999 Lenger was introduced to restaurateur Peter Glazier of The Glazier Group and
was immediately asked to helm the kitchen at the Glazier Group’s Strip House
restaurant in New York City (in addition, he later helmed the kitchens of Strip House
Houston and Palm Beach Gardens).  Under Lenger’s supervision, Forbes magazine named Strip House as one of the “Forbes
2003 All-Star Eateries in New York.” In addition, Time Out New York’s Eating and
Drinking Guide 2001 nominated Strip House as one of the year’s “Best New
Steakhouses.” Lenger is also a published author in Austria and has written several
books on culinary arts used at many schools throughout Eastern Europe.

Lenger incorporates his love for quality products at Switch, where he brings his
trademark flair to this dynamic dining destination.

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