Over the weekend, it was Vegas Uncork’d time – one of the biggest and best gourmet food festivals in one of the best food towns in the country! Now in its fourth year, the weekend-long event continues to grow round, showcasing local favorites as well as many of the big names in the industry.
While a few cooking demonstrations took place on Thursday, the main event was Friday evening – the Grand Tasting at the lush Caesars Palace. Just imagine the food court at your local county fair, but with all of the booths run by world-class chefs like Rick Moonen, Jet Tila, and Bradley Ogden. Almost mind-blowing! Over fifty of the highest-rated Vegas restaurants offered delicious, specially-created small plates for guests to enjoy.
Countless celebrity chefs and food notables walked the red carpet, including Joël Robuchon, Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Charlie Palmer, Joe Bastianich, and Bon Appetit editor Barbara Fairchild, many before taking their posts to serve up some of the amazing food.
This year, it was great to see non-Strip restaurants featured at the Grand Tasting, this year, including Rosemary’s, Vinter Grill, Lotus of Siam, and The Cupcakery all representing the non-tourist side of Las Vegas. Lotus of Siam’s Saipin Chutima, a 2010 James Beard Best Chef – Southwest nominee, was even in the house!
Some of the dishes available during the evening: braised beef cheek from Social House, mini lobster rolls from NobHill Tavern, goose fat potato chips from Strip House, mini lamb burgers by Cat Cora, salmon tartar (in a cone!) from Sushi Roku. Perhaps my favorite dish of the night was the black cod lettuce cups from Nobu. There was so much incredible food available, I didn’t even get to try every dish offered, but I went back for seconds on the ones I tasted!
As the Grand Tasting was winding down, we got a special entertainment treat – DJ Hubert Keller! I’m not making this stuff up, people. And it was clear this was no joke – Chef Keller knew exactly what he was doing and has definitely been practicing his turntable skills.
After the tasting cleared out, most of the chefs headed over to the Wynn Encore for the evening’s late-night Celebrity Blackjack Tournament, where chef Paul Bartolotta swept the competition at the tables last year. Most made sure to change out of their whites for a little downtime time except for chef Cat Cora, who stayed comfortable in her chef coat late into the evening.
For more photos of the Grand Tasting, head on over to the full Flickr set.
*Photo credit: Jim Rennie / Daily Blender