It was surely an incredible weekend of food, wine, drink, and social in Las Vegas April 23-26, serving up exciting culinary events at ARIA, Bellagio, Caesars Palace and MGM Grand. This year’s extravaganza features intimate dinners and interactive experiences hosted by acclaimed chefs, sommeliers and mixologists such as first-time participant Emeril Lagasse, along with talents like Gordon Ramsay, Michael Mina, Guy Savoy, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Julian Serrano, Shawn McClain and Ho Chee Boon, as well as Emeril Laggase, Francois Payard, Wolfgang Puck, and Alain Ducasse.
Las Vegas where more than 30 celebrity chefs and 100 wineries come together to showcase a dynamic weekend of exceptional lunches, dinners, cooking demos, chef collaborations, and experience the amazing Grand Tastings, featuring the industry’s leading experts and most coveted restaurants in the world. And it’s all surrounded by some of the most beautiful hotels in Las Vegas
The Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace is the grandest event of all, with over 2,500 guests. This is the evening that you can get up close and personal with celebrity chefs for the first hour or so, it’s best if you get the VIP $300 ticket, to avoid the crowd, you got to meet your favorites, TV celebrities, Master Top Chefs, you name it, they were there to greet and hand you food. There is no place else can do a grander epicurean extravaganza event for foodies than Las Vegas.
Thank you www.vegasuncorked.com and Bon Appétit Magazine for an unforgettable weekend, no surprise that Vegas Uncork’d was voted the top 10 Best Readers’ Choice: Best Food Festival Winners on USA Today 2015.
Until 2016, let’s eat, drink, be merry and celebrate life in Las Vegas style.
Thursday APRIL 23, 2015
The ninth annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit, presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred®, began with a splash as some of the biggest names in the culinary world united in Las Vegas. Joined by more than 20 other iconic chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Michael Mina and Guy Savoy, chef Julian Serrano did the honors of traditionally sabering a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco on the patio of his newest restaurant, LAGO at Bellagio, as the resort’s famed Fountains of Bellagio danced in the background.
A-list celebrity chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Julian Serrano, Michael Mina and Shawn McClain came together for an all-star feast at The Buffet at ARIA to
put their gourmet spin on self-service style dining. Diners sipped champagne while sampling dozens of award-winning specialties including Julian Serrano’s Spanish tortillas, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s smoked kurabota pork rack with ancho chili glaze and escargot from Michael Mina.
Over at the new Boarder Grill inside Caesars Palace, Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger spiced things up with a fabulous fiesta, fueled by tequila and tacos during their Master Series Dinner. Foodies embraced savory Mexican fare including oysters on the half shell, a variety of ceviche, grilled fish tacos and seafood cocktails while sipping free flowing and award-winning margaritas from the interactive drink station.
Acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten created an exclusive
dinner at the lakeside patio of Prime Steakhouse, offering guests a spectacular view of the famed Fountains of Bellagio. Guests were treated to an elegant four-course dinner showcasing various cuts of beef which included A5 Japanese wagyu beef Carpaccio and prime dry aged rib-eye, served by Jean-Georges Vongerichten himself and perfectly paired with premier wines.
Friday APRIL 24, 2015
The culinary masters of Wolfgang Puck’s Las Vegas restaurants came together for a special lunch, hosted by Spago Executive Chef Eric Klein, to showcase the many flavors of Wolfgang Puck’s empire at Spago in Caesars Palace. Foodies enjoyed five courses prepared by top chefs Eric Klein, Dustin Lewandowski, Mike Tiva, Jorge Martinez and Matt Hurley, and guests were treated to a surprise appearance by Wolfgang Puck.
Dessert connoisseurs became pastry savvy during the sweetest Master Series at Vegas Uncork’d in Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro at Caesars Palace. Pastry Chef François Payard shared his techniques as attendees enjoyed the freshest, most delicious French pastries, including rice crispies with milk chocolate and crispy
chocolate filo, white chocolate and raspberry napoleons and floating islands with spiced chocolate sauce.
The luxurious Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace hosted the ultimate culinary event, The Grand Tasting. Guests experienced the best of the best with free-flowing wines and spirits while mingling with more than 75 award-winning chefs including Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, Jean-George Vongerichten, Guy Savoy, François Payard, Michael Mina, Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger and more.
Guests got up close and personal with Border Grill chef-owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger during the fun-filled boozy brunch and cooking class at Caesars Palace. Foodies gathered during this exclusive demonstration to watch the innovative Mexican dishes such as huevos rancheros, homemade chorizo chilaquiles and Jalisco burro as well as intricate libations including sparkling pineapple mimosas, vere maria and blood orange jalapeno margaritas come to life before indulging on the five-course brunch.
Saturday APRIL 25, 2015
Over at Bellagio, award-winning chef Julian Serrano curated a special brunch to debut his new restaurant, Lago. The exclusive afternoon of creative Italian small plates and innovative cocktails included build-your-own Bloody Mary and champagne cocktails along with frittata della nonna, spiedino di salsiccia and biancomangiare.
Cocktail connoisseurs learned to pour like a pro with ARIA Mixologist Craig Schoettler at Alibi Cocktail Lounge. Attendees broke into teams to show off their best bartending skills and competed against fellow participants to see who could shake up the best original cocktail. The winning team’s cocktail will be featured in Alibi’s Cocktail Lounge menu.
Chef Guy Savoy and luxury Champagne house, Krug Champagne, brought a one-of-a-kind experience to diners at Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace. Ticket holders sat at the only Krug Chef’s Table in the U.S., sipping on luxurious Krug champagne while Chef Guy Savoy prepared a tantalizing menu of artichoke and black truffle soup and colors of caviar, perfectly paired with Krug Vintage 2000, Krug Vintage 2003 and Krug Rose.
Culinary enthusiasts united poolside for a New Orleans Style Fish House experience at MGM Grand Producer’s Pool. Guests were treated to craft beer on tap with freshly shucked raw and grilled oysters, cooked to order whole grilled market fish and New Orleans style boiled seafood delicacies.
During the event, students Elsa Sabellano Jenstad and Krista Burdick of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas teamed up with Vegas Uncork’d chefs Emeril Lagasse and Michael Mina to battle it out for a $20,000 scholarship during the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Grill Challenge. Ultimately, the grand prize went to Elsa Jenstad of Team Emeril.
Jasmine Restaurant at Bellagio hosted an educational tasting and welcomed representatives from four member wineries from In Pursuit of Balance, Rajat Parr of Domaine de la Côte, Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards, Matt Licklider of Lioco and Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson. During California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: A Tasting of Balance, an array of wine was served including LIOCO Chardonnay “Hanzell Vineyard,” Domaine de la Cote Pinot Noir “Estate,” Matthiasson Merlot “Red Hen Vineyard” and Hirsh Vineyards Pinot Noir “San Andreas Fault Estate.” sipping on the selected Pinot Noir and California Chardonnay’s from Bellagio’s Director of Wine and Master Sommelier Jason Smith, alongside Bon Appétit Wine editor David Lynch.
Internationally acclaimed chef Gordon Ramsay gave foodies the chance to compete in a friendly cook-off to experience the heat of Hell’s Kitchen at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace. Following the cook-off, participants celebrated with a corresponding dinner alongside Ramsay and Hell’s Kitchen winning chefs Christina Wilson and Scott Commings for a three course meal which included a spring garden journey, Kurobuta pork tenderloin and strawberry rhubarb mosaic.
Guests enjoyed an interactive journey through the art of modern Cantonese cooking with Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon at Hakkasan Restaurant & Nightclub at MGM Grand. Diners embraced the special six-course dinner that featured the restaurant’s globally acclaimed cuisine paired with exquisite wines selected by Christine Parkinson, the world-renowned curator of Hakkasan’s award-winning wine program.
Guests at ARIA’s Sage Restaurant enjoyed a sophisticated five-course dinner celebration by tasting some of the most highly-coveted vintage wines, hand selected by Flower’s Vineyard Estate Director, Greg Miller, and ARIA Director of Wine, Kim Wood and paired with farm-to-table fare from James Beard and award-winning chef Shawn McClain, including Maine lobster pave, Hawaiian kampachi, aged ricotta ravioli, glazed veal cheek and blackberry panna cotta.
Bravo’s newest TV competition series came to life during the star-studded Saturday soiree, presented by Buick, at the Bravo’s Best New Restaurant Pop-Up at Caesars Palace. Guests enjoyed a four-course seated dinner prepared by America’s “Best New Restaurant,” DOLCE Italian, with signature dishes such as ricotta cavatelli, grilled octopus and seared branzino.
Sunday APRIL 26, 2015
Inside ARIA at BARDOT Brasserie, internationally celebrated chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Michael Mina, Jean Philippe Maury, Shawn McClain and Julian Serrano created a one-of-a-kind daytime soiree. Guests enjoyed the bountiful brunch that featured classic French dishes including Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s char grilled wagyu strip steak, Michael Mina’s hunters waffle, Shawn McClain’s Maine lobster ravioli, Julian Serrano’s huevos Serrano and “The Sweet French Affair” prepared by Jean Philippe Maury with opera, warm chocolate cake and lemon sensation. World-class French wines, which included a 2006 Domaine La Tour Vieille Rimage Banyuls and a 2010 Jean Follard Cuvee Corcelette Morgan flowed throughout brunch to pair perfectly with the French cuisine and sultry sounds of the live French jazz band.
Attendees’ senses took a trip to Southern Italy during an afternoon affair at Rao’s at Caesars Palace. Frank Pellegrino, Jr. entertained guests in true Italian fashion by serving multi-course family-style plates that featured family favorites such as the beef and pork braciola, Rao’s meatballs, and sweet and hot Italian sausage braised together in a rich and flavorful Italian meat sauce known as “Sunday Gravy.” Perfectly paired with the authentic specialties, guests also enjoyed seasonally inspired libations including Quercerto Chianti and Nuschese Pinot Grigio alongside non-stop entertainment that comes with a traditional Italian Sunday meal.
Over at Bellagio, in the private room of Sensi, Vegas Uncork’d guests took center stage for one final over-the-top social dining extravaganza. Foodies feasted on whole roasted beasts of land and sea, including a whole roasted lamb, ketchup dusted pork rinds, deviled duck eggs and a whole roasted fish served spit-roasted, crispy-skinned, slow-smoked and salt-baked, while giant bottles of hand selected artisanal and craft label beers from Brooklyn Brewery and Samuel Adams flowed throughout the evening.
Author: Manda Bear
Manda Bear has a passion for food and wine as a very young age. She’s currently with Dep Lifestyle Magazine San Francisco Bay Area, as a co-publisher and contributor @DepLifestyleMag@DiningOutVegas @FabMediaSF. She has contributed for Viet Press, Viet Tribune, Studio 14 Magazine, DiningOut Magazine in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is currently contributing for Drink Me Magazine www.DrinkMeMag.com and Dep Lifestyle Magazine.
She’s a certified level II Sommelier @VintageWineSR at www.VintageWineMerchants.com on Santana Row in Silicon Valley and you can find her on YouTube for her “Wine Not” Rượu Cho Người Việt by Dep Lifestyle Magazine.
She’s a PR/brand ambassador for hospitality, food, and wine industry, as well as a Social Media consultant for high tech companies in Silicon Valley. She’s also a former restaurant owner and has traveled to dine at over hundred of Michelin Star/James Beard Award winning restaurants around the world.