Troy Cannan was born in Tonopah, Nevada in 1964. He started washing pots at the Historic Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah at the age of 12 and bussing tables there at 14. When he was 17, he began as a short order line cook at Jerry’s Restaurant.
After graduating High School he moved on to the Station House Casino in Tonopah where he started as a line cook, moved on to Sous Chef and became the Head Chef at the age of 20. He was in charge of the restaurant and onsite banquets. Troy admits that he was in over his head at such a young age; however, he loved the excitement and responsibility that came with the job and decided to continue in the industry.
In 1984, he moved to Reno and worked for Bob Cashell at Boomtown in the Trucker’s Coffee Shop. He remembers that they were so busy for breakfast (at that time the casino was accommodating 70 buses per day) that he could not see over the cartons of eggs in front of his workstation. This did not deter him from helping to open up Famous Murphy’s in Reno in 1985. Troy remembers this job as a stepping-stone and decided he wanted to make cooking his life’s work. At this time, he met his future wife, Colleen who was employed as a server at the restaurant. He quickly realized that if he wanted to become a great chef, he would need to further his education in the culinary field and knew that he would need some challenges to order to do so. Because of this, he left and worked at Café 32 – at the time Café 32 was one of the most innovative restaurants in Reno. The ingredients he was exposed to and the creativity and imagination of the San Francisco chefs there propelled him to seek out Paul Abowd, one of the senior culinary mentors in Reno.
Paul quickly realized that Troy was destined to excel in the industry and called Gregg Carano. Gregg remembers the conversation well. He says “Paul called me and informed me that he had an apprentice that was good enough to eventually replace him, and since he did not plan on retiring in the near future he wanted to put him on a path that would help Troy live up to his potential”. Gregg immediately called Troy and their partnership began.
Troy worked in The Vintage restaurant at The Eldorado as a sauté cook. Within 3 months he became the Head Chef of the restaurant and for the first time he had to create his own menus. Due to his drive to educate himself and his obvious talent, Gregg sent Troy to San Francisco for a month every year to do a “stage” in some of the city’s most famous restaurants. He worked for Bradley Ogden at The Lark Creek Inn, Michael Richard at Bistro M, Loretta Keller at Bizou, La Scene Restaurant, Café Chenville, Postrio and Boulevard.
He was exposed to every facet of a professional kitchen. In San Francisco, Troy remembers that “the quality of the ingredients was the number one focus” and this increased his desire to learn and innovate. He continued as the Head Chef at The Vintage until 1995. The Vintage closed and Troy moved on to open The Bistro Roxy at the Eldorado. The restaurant’s beautiful setting and Troy’s innovative and eclectic cuisine helped make The Roxy one of the best restaurants in Northern Nevada.
In 1999, Troy and his wife Colleen opened their own restaurant, “LuLou’s”. He felt that at his age he needed “the ultimate challenge” – a chance to operate independently with his wife in charge of the front of the house and himself in charge of the back of the house.
Gregg and Troy continued their friendship and mutual respect of each other’s talents, each one feeling a part of each other’s successes.
In 2008, with LuLou’s still successfully operating, The Eldorado was lucky enough to employ Troy Cannan again, this time as Executive Chef. Troy remains as passionate and excited in his 35th year in the Restaurant Business as he was in his early career. He has propelled the Food & Beverage Department at The Eldorado on to what is certainly the best and brightest culinary scene in Northern Nevada.