A cavalcade of the top chefs in Las Vegas helped the 12th iteration of Vegas Uncorked by Bon Appétit took over the Strip over the weekend. Dozens of events at the Venetian and Palazzo, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, and The Park gave visitors a chance to explore the city and its restaurants and lounges in a completely different way.
Of course, the big event, the Grand Tasting, kicked off with at the Garden of the Gods with nearly 100 restaurants showcasing their fare.
Gordon Ramsay, who opened his fifth restaurant in January, says he wants to give other chefs a shot at feeding his diners. “ I just negotiated my wait list. We have a huge wait list at my restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, and I just negotiated my wait list to help with reservations earlier in the week,” he says on the red carpet. “I don’t want all those people to wait to make a reservation when they can get it in my. friends’ restaurants.”
He also says he thinks women make the best chefs, citing Christina Wilson, who won season 10 of Hell’s Kitchen and appeared as a sous chef on the show, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen executive chef Jennifer Murphy, and Michelle Tribble, who won season 17 of Hell’s Kitchen and the head chef job at Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, as some of the best in his kitchens.
Executive chef and partner Timon Balloo says that bringing his Miami restaurant to the Venetian has been a true learning experience, and he’s discovered how to be more “Vegas.” He opened windows onto the resort’s restaurant row and brought in entertainment. Of course, brunch brings in conventioneers, and he plans to add a buffet to his daily experience.
Cake Boss Buddy Valastro felt humbled to be at Vegas Uncork’d with the likes of big-name chefs. “I mean, look, I’m standing in Morimoto, who’s a real chef. I’m a baker, but I’m a really good home cook. And the inspiration behind my cooking was really to try to bring the food of the culinary rock stars in my life, meaning my mom, my grandma, my wife, my dad, and let people feel like they’re eating at my house.”
On the fifth anniversary of the restaurant, he plans to bring vegetarian meatballs to his restaurant at the Palazzo.
Elizabeth Blau, the restaurateur behind Buddy V’s Ristorante, Honey Salt, and Andiron at Downtown Summerlin, has a new cookbook coming out soon. It explores how she came up with the menu at Honey Slat at Rampart Commons.
Michael Mina practically beamed when asked about his renovated eponymous restaurant at the Bellagio. “You have to come in,” he says.
Graham Elliott, the white-glasses-wearing MasterChef judge who has a restaurant at MGM Cotai in Macau, showcased an octopus dish at Picnic in the Park. When asked whether he might open a Vegas restaurant, his “people” said, “You never know.”
Shawn McClain, who has Sage and Five50 Pizza at Aria, says business is still a little rough at Mandalay Bay, where he has Libertine Social, but the resort stands behind the restaurants there. Sage might get a little more casual, but that’s just an idea.
Mike Minor, the executive chef at Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, says his Mexican-barbecue mashup opens at the resort on June 4.
Best dish at the Grand Tasting? As always, the black truffle and artichoke soup with toasted brioche on the side at Restaurant Guy Savoy. Savoy was spotted hugging Giada De Laurentiis on the red carpet. Hugs galore also happened between Elliot and Guy Fieri on the red carpet.
Best dish at Picnic at the Park? The beef dish from brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, who have Voltaggio Brothers Steak House at the MGM National Harbor outside Washington, D.C. Also of note, Philippe Angibeau’s cupcakes shaped like hamburgers.
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