The Culinary Power Couple: Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla

CEO (Blau) and Managing Director (Canteenwalla), Blau + Associates

Photo by Elizabeth Buehring

Photo by Elizabeth Buehring

ACHIEVEMENTS When Blau arrived in Las Vegas 16 years ago to help open Le Cirque in Bellagio, she so impressed Steve Wynn that he hired her to take the opulent new resort’s food and beverage program to a level Las Vegas had never before seen. Not long after Blau hit town, Canteenwalla moved here to become executive chef at MGM Grand. Working in the same circles, the two eventually met, hit it off, married and formed Blau + Associates, a restaurant planning and development firm with clients all over the world. Locally, they operate Simon Restaurant & Lounge in Palms Place and Buddy V’s Ristorante in the Venetian/Palazzo’s Grand Canal Shops. Then two years ago, they expanded to the burbs, first opening Honey Salt on the outskirts of Summerlin, followed down the street by Made L.V. Their third neighborhood restaurant—Andiron Steak & Sea—will open in Downtown Summerlin in the spring.

THE DYNAMIC Working closely with your spouse can lead to friction in some cases, but not this one—in part because husband and wife each bring a different skill set to the dinner table. Says Canteenwalla: “I’m more operational, and Elizabeth is more the big picture.”

WEST SIDE STORY One of Blau’s greatest strengths is her ability to spot (and capitalize on) industry trends. That helps explain why the couple has chosen to set up shop on the west side. “People’s tastes [in and around Summerlin] have continued to evolve, and I think you’re starting to reach a critical mass,” Blau says. “There are a lot more offerings up here now that are on the quality level of the Strip.”

THE NEXT COURSE Blau says Andiron Steak & Sea, which is being designed by the James Beard Award-winning Thomas Schlesser, will offer a “striking” interior, as well as a menu that will include dry-aged and wagyu beef, raw and cooked seafood, and substantial vegetarian offerings. “It will be,” Blau promises, “our most upscale experience.” Fine dining in the Vegas suburbs—perhaps the start of another trend?

HOMEMADE RECIPE Blau and Canteenwalla may not be natives, and their operations may indeed span the globe, but the couple clearly views this as home. “With five restaurants [here], and a son in fifth grade,” Blau says laughing, “I don’t think we’re going anywhere too fast.”

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