Vegas Vibe… Foodie Fireworks!

Gail Simmons, who is not only a celebrated TV host, chef, and judge, hosts the weekend in her role as events personality for Food & Wine.

Food & Wine All Star Weekend Spotlights TV Chef Gail Simmons – October 5-7
Photos courtesy of MGM Resorts International

Five phenomenal MGM Resorts International properties on famed Las Vegas Strip will turn up the gas jets for an array of star-power chefs for the Third Annual Las Vegas Food and Wine All Star Weekend, October 5-7, hosted by TV celebrity chef Gail Simmons. The Mirage, ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay are known worldwide for their culinary prowess; and their galaxy of gourmet chefs will be increased by top toques from other notable restaurants.

Among the names which enthusiastic foodies will instantly recognize are: Rick Moonen, Laurent Tourondel, Masa Takayama, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano, Jean-George Vongerichten, Joël Robuchon, Charlie Palmer, Todd English, Susan Feniger, Hubert Keller, Mary Sue Milliken, and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury.

Gail Simmons will be featured at an afternoon tea at Joël Robuchon, “Ultimate Champagne & Sashimi” with Chef Masa of barMASA, and the Saturday night Surfside Soirée at Mandalay Bay Beach.

The three days of food and fun will include a session with master sommeliers who make wine, tequila tasting, several cooking demos, wine tasting and food pairing. The event ends with one of the most popular Sunday pastimes on the Strip, brunch at Jasmine at Bellagio.

For details, prices, and tickets:

Sunday brunch at Jasmine at Bellagio is a highlight of the weekend.

Chef André Rochat, founder of the annual dinner fund raiser honoring the late, great chef Jean Louis Palladin.

Celebrity Chefs Cook for Jean-Louis Palladin Benefit – October 21

On one night, October 21, twenty of the top chefs of Las Vegas will blend their talents in a jewel-like setting, Alizé on the 56th floor of The Palms Casino and Resort, to create a feast for a select few.  With the panorama of sparkling lights below, they’ll craft an eight-course extravaganza…with alternate dishes for each course…that will be enjoyed by only 100 guests.  This is the eleventh year that colleagues of the late, great chef Jean-Louis Palladin have joined together to raise funds in his name for the prestigious  James Beard Foundation.
The evening begins with a 5 p.m. reception in the Ghost Bar on the 57th floor.  A silent auction, as well as a live auction MC’d by TV personality and bon vivant Robin Leach will enliven the evening.  For the three-hour banquet at Alizé, each chef is preparing his or her favorite dish.  To mention a few among the 16 on the menu—Laurent Pillard, Executive Chef of Fleur, begins the dinner with a duo of foie gras, which hobnobs with Green Papaya Salad with Sea Scallops by Rick Moonen, Executive Chef of RMSeafood.  Alizé will be represented by an Artichoke Mousseline and Russian Osetra caviar by Chef de Cuisine Mark PurdyVincent Pouessel, Executive Chef of Aureole, has chosen a duo of veal.

Top chefs from Las Vegas’ premier restaurants prepare an elaborate multi-course dinner for the event.

Raviolo stuffed with cheesy polenta, roasted rabbit, and wild mushrooms will represent Luciano Pellegrini, Chef/Owner of Valentino’s.  Barry S. Dakake, Executive Chef of N9Ne Steakhouse will serve Kobe Beef Short Ribs, which will share a course with braised beef neck and pappardelle pasta by Geno Bernardo, Executive Chef of NOVE.  In true European style, salad will follow the main courses.  Dessert is divided between a chocoholic’s delight and crème brulée.
Each course will be paired with exceptional wines from France, Italy, and Germany, with Sandeman 20 Year Tawny Port from Portugal concluding the amazing selections.  Chocolate truffles and petit fours will add a decadent postscript to the memorable meal.

Glittering lights of the Strip below frame the elegant alternating courses at the Palladin dinner at Alizé at The Palms. Sharing with your dinner partner adds to the fun of the evening.

The Jean-Louis Palladin Benefit Dinner has been held since 2002 to honor Palladin, who gained fame for his signature restaurant at the Watergate in Washington, D.C. and then added “Napa” at the Rio in Las Vegas to his culinary collection.  He and André Rochat, who was Las Vegas’ first celebrity chef with his namesake restaurant André’s, became close friends, frequently dining at each other’s restaurants.  Palladin’s sudden, untimely death from lung cancer inspired Rochat to commemorate his friendship and honor his memory.  The continuing success of the event places it at the forefront of food and wine benefits in Las Vegas.
Pricing for the celebration is $325 per person; $300 for James Beard members.  For information and reservations:  702.951.7000; (blog);
Food, wine, and travel writer/editor Marilyn LaRocque has visited the seven continents, experiencing not only sights and sounds but also foods and wines. In Paris in May, she was named Vice Chargée de Presse Nationale, Des Etats Unis, of Les Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest and largest food and wine society. She was Senior Food & Wine Editor for LUXURY Las Vegas magazine for nearly 10 years and immersed herself in the cuisine scene in this over-the-top city. She knows and has written about celebrity chefs, their restaurants, and food and reported dining trends not only in Las Vegas but throughout the world, from South Africa to Scandinavia, New Zealand to South America. She knows master sommeliers and mixologists and has written extensively about wines and spirits, particularly California, as well as Oregon, Virginia, and Kentucky (Bourbon) and Tennessee (Whiskey). She has dined at globally celebrated restaurants such as Taillevent (Paris), Noma (Copenhagen), Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (London), Per Se (New York), and French Laundry (Yountville). She has served as a judge in culinary competitions, been guest lecturer at Le Cordon Bleu, Las Vegas, and served as PR consultant for the 2012 UNLVino, Nevada’s oldest and largest wine event. Photo by Jim K. Dekker