Theo Schoenegger is Executive Chef of Sinatra at Encore, the new signature resort in the Wynn collection. Named after Ol’ Blue Eyes, Sinatra offers modern riffs on classic Italian cooking in the city once frequented by the legendary entertainer. The singer’s charisma is kept alive through a reinterpreted Italian menu that emphasizes the chef’s modern and seasonal approach to the country’s signature flavors and dishes.
“This opportunity at Encore is an honor,” says Schoenegger. “I get to work alongside excellent chefs and the menu at Sinatra will feature dishes I began cooking as a young boy, as well as others in honor of Frank Sinatra, all with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients.”
Prior to joining Sinatra at Encore, Schoenegger spent five years working as executive chef of the Patina Group’s signature restaurant, Patina, located at Walt Disney Center in Los Angeles. His exquisite menu helped the restaurant garner a three-star review from the Los Angeles Times and a Michelin star. Additionally, Patina earned a Relais & Chateau rating, one of two restaurants in Los Angeles to receive this honor.
Growing up in the town of San Candio, Italy, just near the border of Austria, Schoenegger found his calling at age nine when he started helping his mother in the kitchen. At the age of 18, he began a five-year program at a culinary school in Merano, Italy.
After graduation, Schoenegger moved to Munich, Germany to work at the restaurant Aubergine Tantris. While in Munich, he met legendary restaurateur Tony May who asked Schoenegger to join him in New York City. Schoenegger left Germany in 1986 and worked for May first at Palio restaurant, then at San Domenico. During his time as executive chef, San Domenico was considered the premier Italian restaurant in the country and received a three-star review from The New York Times.
In 1996, Schoenegger headed south to Palm Beach, Florida where he worked as executive chef of Aquoria for four years, and then returned to New York to reopen Rock Center Café with Nick Valenti and Restaurant Associates. The restaurant received critical acclaim, and quickly became one of the city’s top dining destinations. Shortly thereafter, Schoenegger accepted the position at Patina and moved to Los Angeles. During his time as executive chef, Patina was considered the premier restaurant in Los Angeles and received a three-star review from The Los Angeles Times, one star from the Michelin Guide and was awarded Relais & Chateaux status.
Schoenegger lives in Las Vegas with his wife, Mary Rose, and their children, Katerina and Antonio. At home, his simple, seasonal approach to cooking is evident in the family meals he prepares, such as grilled Dover sole with heirloom tomatoes, farmer’s market peaches and Italian plums.