This Just In – Willi Sherer and Megan Romano Out at AUREOLE

ELV loves public relations people.

He loves it when they beg him for free publicity about their chefs and restaurants, and loves it even more when they “forget” to tell him when key chefs and personnel quit or are fired from their posts.

Such as former Sommelier of the Year Willi Sherer and the mega-talented Megan Romano — who were both shown the door at Mandalay Bay over a month ago. This in the same month she was named Pastry Chef of the Year by a local ‘zine (and after twelve years with the restaurant).

We’re big fans of both Willi and Megan, and wonder what this augurs for the future of Aureole?

A loyal scout and Official Friend of ELV puts it best in a missive/inquiry today:

Dear ELV,

Not sure if you have heard this, but Willi Sherer, Megan Romano are out at Aureole. They also are re-assigning Kevin Dimond elsewhere in Charlie Palmer Empire. Supposedly MGM wanted a move in a different direction,

Charlie fought with them, but in the end he had to cave to the Casino property. Two very very talented individuals who will be impossible to replace. Kevin took care of his customers and ran a good ship.  Hopefully Vincent doesn’t get spooked and move on. IMHO a really bad move for Aureole. I am one of their top customer’s and am pissed off by the news.   It would be interesting to hear if you have any other commentary/information on what happened.

Sound’s similar to what you noted at Wynn awhile back. Don’t you agree?


A Frustrated Fan

Dear Frustrated,

ELV knows not what direction the MGM behemoth is taking Mandalay Bay, but can assure you that the p.r. department will tell us when they’re good and ready to get some free publicity for whoever replaces them.

To your larger point about a wholesale change of direction for the F & B Department at MB, ELV doubts there’s going to be an abandonment of chef-driven restaurants a la Wynn/Encore in ’09-’11. Think about it: over the course of three years, the Wynncore let Daniel Boulud slip away, lost (or fired – it’s hard to tell sometimes whether someone was canned, not renewed or forced out) Fredric Robert (a master patissier), Boris Villat (a baker with serious chops), Grant MacPherson, Marc Poidevin, Alex Stratta, Richard Chen, and Jet Tila.

Sure, there’s a story behind each one of these decisions, but someone in charge obviously thought their salaries were no longer worth it. So, about three years after all that hoopla about Wynn’s passion for great chefs, the powers that be decided to cut costs by cutting talent….the same way NFL teams occasionally do. The restaurants you’re left with aren’t bad, but neither do they soar the way they did when they had name chefs manning the stoves and ovens.

We don’t expect the same from Mandalay, mainly because they have some solid performers firmly in place via management agreements with Charlie Palmer, the Two Hot Tamales, Rick Moonen, Alain Ducasse and the Mina Group. If the Wynn retrenchment proves anything, it is that leased eateries (a la Venetian/Palazzo) and management agreements (a la MGM resorts) are the current business model for upscale dining, and Steve Wynn’s hype about paying top toques to stay in-house was a failure. He’ll never admit it (and neither will his p. r. folks), because it’s in their DNA to put a positive spin on everything! Even their mistakes.

That’s why we love them so.

Publicity-wisely yours,


8 thoughts on “This Just In – Willi Sherer and Megan Romano Out at AUREOLE

  1. I suspect MGM IS in the process of downscaling Mandalay Bay to be a more midtier place. Im surprised they haven’t sold it since theyve treated it like a redheaded stepchild ever since they bought the place. I think MGM upper management is downscaling Mandalay and Mirage so that Aria will do better.

  2. that is possible, but i think it’s more likely that it is just another step in the process of stream-lining that entire operation. the bellagio has undergone some serious changes, such as the letting go of (not even high paid) some of their higher paid personal and promoting mid-level mgmt to executive rolls. (edmond wong’s signature move). also the loss of Heierling from Vdara and the Bellagio is evident.

  3. is that supposed to be a shot of Aureole’s bar? if so, it’s not Las Vegas…just FYI…and yes, it’s a sad sad sad day to lose two such talented and beloved members of their family.

  4. There’s a new executive chef at Mandalay Bay- and she’s got a few changes in mind- just wait and see if this is a sinking ship or not.

  5. Executive Chef at Mandalay Bay, Susan, is making a lot of changes. Bad for some and good for who knows! Executive Chef at FLuer just got fired, they are left with one sous chef, when 4 months ago were 4 sous chef and executive… no cooks not a good service! thanks Susan good job!

  6. Just because you have a white coat & a thermometer, doesn’t mean you are a chef. You are just in costume. As somone who has extensive knowledge about the behind the scenes F&B at Mandalay, Those executives & hotel chefs really have no clue how to create a great restaurant. They know how to bang out a crappy lunch for 10,000 conventioneers…its a talent, but not a chef. The VP o F&B & Chef are the finance department’s bitches and they know it. To think that Susan will be trying to give Vincent directives on his cuisine is laughable. I’d love to hear that conversation….. Perhaps swapping preferences on hair conditioner with Hubert would be more productive.

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