SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas Chef Thomas Tapat wins CHOPPED!


You were born and raised in Hawaii — how has that impacted your career and cooking approach?

Being born and raised in Hawaii helped me grow to be creative and unique in my own personal way.


What about Las Vegas inspires you when you are cooking?

What inspires me about Las Vegas is that it’s a melting pot of culture;  there is a lot of really great food all over the city. It’s truly inspirational to be a part of it!


What was the easiest part about being on Chopped?  What was the hardest?

The easiest thing for me about being on Chopped was being able to come up with ideas on what dishes to make. The hardest thing about being on Chopped was actually executing the dish in just one shot!


What did you think when you heard that “small plates” was the Chopped challenge theme?

When I heard that the theme for my Chopped episode was small plates I had a mild panic attack: I had been focusing on making 1 dish per round, but had to end up doing 2 or more dishes per round with the same amount of time.


Are there any experiences from Chopped that you’ve taken back to the kitchen at SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas?

There are a few experiences on Chopped that I’ve brought back to SUSHISAMBA, like pushing my creativity and thinking of dishes to make on the fly for any special requests.


What’s your favorite dish to cook at SUSHISAMBA?

My favorite dish to cook at SUSHISAMBA is the Sea Bass Anticuchos because we sell so much of it it — it’s a bit like a Chopped challenge every day: you need to execute super fast but keep adding love and attention into each and every dish.


Watch this quick clip on Chef Thomas to hear first-hand about his Chopped experience (spoiler alert: Martha Stewart was one of his judges!).