The Nat Hart Professional Papers contain the business records, personal papers, and photographs of Las Vegas, Nevada chef and restaurateur Nat Hart, who served as the Corporate Vice-President of Food and Beverage for Caesars World in the 1970s and 1980s. Papers date from 1930 to 2000 and include restaurant training and service manuals, business proposals, architectural drawings, recipe cards, cookbooks, menu specifications, photographs, scrapbooks, awards, news releases, and correspondence.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Nat Hart Professional Papers contain the business records, personal papers, and photographs of Las Vegas, Nevada chef and restaurateur Nat Hart, who served as the Corporate Vice-President of Food and Beverage for Caesars World in the 1970s and 1980s. The papers date from 1930 to 2000, and include restaurant training and service manuals, business proposals, architectural drawings, recipe cards, cookbooks, menu specifications, photographs, scrapbooks, awards, news releases, and correspondence.
The collection includes information about the opening and management of many restaurants owned and operated by Caesars World Incorporated and the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino. The collection contains information about restaurants located within Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada: Bacchanal, Le Posh, Primavera, Spanish Steps, Ah So, and Palace Court. Also included are documents about the Desert Inn, Las Vegas, Nevada restaurants: La Vie en Rose and Ho Wan. The collection also includes photographs of Nat Hart with various celebrities at the Fabulous Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. The collection documents Hart’s management of additional Caesars World enterprises such as Caesars Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada and Caesars Boardwalk Regency in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The papers also document the establishment and management of the Nat Hart Gourmet Cooking School in Las Vegas, as well as Hart's membership and presidency at the B'nai B'rith Lodge of Las Vegas.
Collection is open for research, with the exception of materials that are restricted to protect personally identifiable information or whatever the case may be. Restrictions are noted at the file level of this inventory and will be open for research use January 1, 2065.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
The collection is arranged in three series:
Series I. Professional papers, 1945-1996;
Series II. Menus, 1950s-1990s;
Series III. Personal papers, 1930s-2000.
Biographical / Historical Note
Nat Hart (1916-1995) was one of Las Vegas, Nevada’s original celebrity chefs, well-known for his restaurants at Caesars Palace and the Desert Inn, and for his popular gourmet cooking school. He was born on February 25, 1916 in Chicago, Illinois and trained as a chef at the Le Pointe School of Cuisine in Paris, France and the Lucerne Food Service School in Switzerland. He also studied under top chefs at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, New York and the original Alfredo in Rome, Italy. Before he moved to Las Vegas in 1947, Hart co-owned a restaurant in Florida with his wife, Sylvia Hart.
In Las Vegas, Hart was first employed at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. He was hired as the maître d'hôtel at Caesars Palace in the 1960s and began his long-lasting career with Caesars World, Inc. During the 1960s, Hart was maître d'hôtel of Bacchanal at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The Bacchanal was a Roman fine dining experience that featured six courses and was the main restaurant at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas during the 1970s and 1980s.
While employed at Caesars Palace, Hart often worked on other projects, such as designing the food arrangement display in the Japanese Pavilion of the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964. In addition to his skills as a chef and manager, Hart worked as a restaurateur. In the 1970s, Hart was promoted to Corporate Vice-President of Food and Beverage for Caesars World, Inc., a position he held until his retirement in 1987. As part of his job, Hart designed, planned, and opened new restaurants at Caesars World, Inc. locations across the United States, including Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Stateline, Nevada.
Nat Hart divided his time among many projects. He worked as a private food and beverage industry consultant in Las Vegas and elsewhere in the United States. He also served as the president of the Ichi Ban Japanese Steakhouse in Winnipeg, Canada. He was an active member and leader of multiple food industry-related and service groups such as the American Federation of Chefs and the B'nai B'rith Lodge of Las Vegas, a Jewish service organization he helped charter. In the 1980s, Nat and his wife Sylvia opened the Nat Hart Gourmet Cooking School in Las Vegas. Hart functioned as the director of the school and instructed over two thousand students. In addition, he lectured and taught courses on restaurant management and operations at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Hart's passion for work in restaurants led to a very short retirement in 1987. After retiring from Caesars World, Inc. in 1987, Hart returned to the restaurant world for three years as the head of the food and beverage department at the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. While at the Desert Inn, Hart opened two gourmet restaurants: Ho Wan and La Vie en Rose. Nat Hart died in Las Vegas on March 17, 1995.
Penn, Julie. "Renowned Chef Returns from 'Retirement.'"
Nat Hart Professional Papers, 1930-2000. MS-00419. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated by Sylvia Hart in September 2000; accession number 2000-015. Materials were donated by Steve and Wendy Hart from 2014 to 2017: accession numbers 2014-041; 2015-097; 2016-070; 2017-140; 2019-051; and 2022-025.
Material was processed by Hannah Robinson in 2014 and 2015. In 2017, the 2016-070 addition was processed by Maggie Bukowski. In 2018, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Jimmy Chang rehoused and arranged the materials, and revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2019, Mary Anilao and Tammi Kim accessioned the 2019 addition and updated the finding aid. In 2022, Tammi Kim minimally processed the 2022 addition and updated the finding aid.
Cookbooks that were acquired as part of Nat Hart's collection have been separated and described individually in the University Libraries' catalog.