Julian Serrano

Executive Chef

Julian Serrano Tapas 

Award-winning chef Julian Serrano is widely regarded as one of the finest culinary talents in the nation. His distinguished career includes two prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards for Best Chef Southwest in 2002 and Best Chef California in 1998. 

In 1998, Serrano brought his memorable Mediterranean-French cooking to Bellagio in Las Vegas as executive chef of Picasso.  The Michelin two-star restaurant has been a 14-time recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award from 2002 to 2014 and has received the coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine for its extensive wine list. Picasso’s menu is inspired by the regional cuisine of France and Spain, where Picasso spent much of his life.

Serrano then turned his unerring eye to the cuisine of his native Spain as executive chef of his eponymous restaurant, Julian Serrano, at ARIA Resort & Casino, which opened in 2009.  Here, Serrano satisfied a long-held ambition to share the secrets of his own Spanish cuisine.  Featured on the restaurant’s multiple à la carte menus is an ensemble of Serrano’s signature creations including traditional and innovative renditions of tapas, paellas, seafood and more.  In 2010, Esquire magazine named Julian Serrano one of the Best New Restaurants of the year.  The restaurant also received the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine in 2011.

In April 2015, Serrano opened a new concept at Bellagio. Lago by Julian Serrano opened is the chef’s first Italian restaurant and explores a new take on social dining. The restaurant’s small plate menu celebrates Chef Serrano’s creativity and signature flavors.  Lago boasts spectacular views of the resort’s iconic fountains on the Las Vegas Strip.

Chef Serrano’s Background

A native of Madrid, Serrano is a graduate of the Escuela Gastronomie P.P.O. hotel management school in Marbella, Spain, and has pursued his affinity for French cuisine in some of Europe’s most celebrated kitchens. He has spent time at Lucas-Carton in Paris, Hotel de France in Auch, France, Chez Max in Zurich and L’Aubergine in Munich.

Following brief positions in Miami and Nashville, Serrano moved to San Francisco where, in 1983, he helped open Masa’s restaurant under the personal tutelage of the restaurant’s renowned founding chef, Masataka Kobayashi.  One year later, Serrano took the helm as Masa’s executive chef, carrying its French cuisine to new levels with fresh-forward ingredients, classic sauces and work-of-art plating to earn the venue national and international acclaim.

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