USTA League

Renowned Chef Serrano lives to serve at Super Seniors

April 20, 2013 03:12 PM
Renowned chef Julian Serrano believes that mastering tennis is a tougher challenge than producing world-class cuisine.
The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas houses Serrano's restaurant, specializing in the Madrid native's classic Spanish fare.
By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When you’re a world-renowned chef and restaurateur like Julian Serrano, the pressure to produce delicious dishes is persistent – with reputation comes responsibility, and for each diner or critic you’re only as good as your last meal.
 
Serrano deals with that sort of strain, no sweat. It’s when the 61-year-old takes to the tennis court that he finds things difficult.
 
"Being a top tennis player is tougher than being a great chef," said Serrano, who is part of a USTA Intermountain Super Seniors team hitting the courts at the USTA League National Championships in Surprise, Ariz. "You have to be in much better shape, and train harder. The best part of my game is that I can still run – I’m like a wall, I return everything!"
 
A native of Madrid, Spain, Serrano started culinary school at age 16. Using his culinary skills as a way to travel and see the world, he has worked in restaurants around the globe. Rooted in Las Vegas the past 15 years, Serrano serves as the executive chef of Picasso at the Bellagio hotel and is the mind behind the eponymous Julian Serrano tapas restaurant at the Aria Resort and Casino. The restaurants specialize in Spanish and French cuisine.
 
"I love work and I love people, understanding people," said Serrano. "That’s what makes a strong chef. You can’t be everywhere all the time, so you have to trust the people you work with. Train them the right way, make good chefs, and you’ll have a better life." 
 
To prepare for the heat of the kitchen, Serrano hits the courts "almost every morning," enjoying the game he’s played for 30 years more than ever before.
 
"Tennis is where you learn something new about the game or yourself every time you play," said Serrano. "I’m having more fun now playing than ever before – we have a great team, and our captain Larry Anspach is an incredible person putting all of it together." 
 
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