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Old Bay “crab” cakes from Lakeside at the Wynn Las Vegas


Hotelier Steve Wynn is a very hands-on guy. When he gets interested in something — be it wine or golf or Ferraris — he tries to bring the best iteration of it to his property. After Wynn decided to eat vegan, he pressed all of his chefs to take the plunge as well — on their menus if not in their lives — and brought in Ronnen to lead the way. “I did a workshop and cooked for the chefs at the Wynn,” says Ronnen, who helped the resort’s culinary superstars develop dishes that fit their menus. “I showed that there is theory in what I do and that I have respect for technique.” Standout vegan dishes at the Wynn include “crab” cakes made from hearts of palm at Lakeside, vegan meatballs at SW Steakhouse, and spaghetti with meatless ragu at Bartolotta Ristorante de Mare. “There is not another place in the world where you can get so much excellent plant-based food in one place. Everybody is taking it seriously.”

That last line applies specifically to the Wynn, but it could be meant to reference the culture as a whole. Increasingly, people are becoming interested in eating healthfully at home and while traveling, whether or not that includes eschewing animal products. For veggie lovers on the road, Ronnen suggests hitting four-star restaurants and seeing what they can whip up; alternately, he points out that Chinese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants often have good vegetarian options on the menu. “My advice for anyone who wants to try this lifestyle is to lean into it, make dishes that are familiar, and do it slowly,” says Ronnen, pointing out that everybody can create their own rules, whether it’s eating one vegetarian meal per day or simply looking for healthier options when possible. “People like foods that are comforting and comfortable. And, as I’ve proven, you don’t need to sacrifice flavor and culture. It’s the only way to stick with this style of eating. The point is to not deprive yourself.”