Cooking demonstrations where you can get up close and personal with your favorite chef are a big part of Vegas Uncork’d. And it’s likely that no demo was as much fun as Saturday’s “Culinary Theater: All the Kitchen’s a Stage” featuring chefs Rick Moonen, Hubert Keller, and Susan Feniger. The fantastic event took place at Moonen’s RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay.
The trio were introduced by Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit who got the good-natured ribbing underway immediately by making fun of Moonen’s recent outburst on Top Chef Masters, commenting that the chef was “mean to French people”. Knowlton noted that the three chefs needed no introduction, but that all were “proof that you can in fact trust a skinny chef.”
First up was Moonen, who demonstrated how to make his shrimp corndogs, aka “Moon Doggies”, which were roundly panned by the critics on Top Chef Masters. I’m here to tell you that when cooked properly, they are amazing. They taste like the best citrus and spiced shrimp you’ve ever had, and are better than any normal corndog.
Hubert Keller was up second with a re-do of his famous dorm room shower lobster mac-n-cheese. In true French fashion, the entire restaurant was immediately filled with the smell of butter the instant Keller began cooking. The mac-n-cheese tasted like an equal combination of butter, lobster, and light Italian cheeses, plus I think my little portion contained an entire bottle of cognac.
Finally, Susan Feniger created a wonderful Peruvian ceviche, served on a salted plantain chip. The ceviche was light and refreshing, with the fish and citrus elements balanced expertly.
Also of note: Saturday was Feniger’s birthday as well. Moonen and Keller presented her with a birthday cake made in the style of her recent rather sad-looking wedding cake on Top Chef Masters. The whole room sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to close out the afternoon, as the chefs toasted with glasses of Stella Artois.
The standing room only spectators certainly enjoyed the 45 minutes of cooking demos. Spotted in the crowd was fellow participating chef Charlie Palmer along with luxury guru Robin Leach. Afterwards, all three chefs stuck around to chat with their fans and autograph cookbooks.
Remember to check out all of our 2010 Vegas Uncork’d photos over at Flickr.
*Photo credit: Jim Rennie / Daily Blender