Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 | 11:57 a.m.
Foodies are in food heaven today and this weekend as four days of fabulous feasting proves yet again that Las Vegas is one of the top gourmet capitals of the culinary world. Food & Wine magazine queen Gail Simmons, also a “Top Chef” judge and critic, hosts an extraordinary collection of celebrity chefs, sophisticated sommeliers and mastermind mixologists at MGM Resorts properties -- Mandalay Bay, Aria in CityCenter, Bellagio and MGM Grand -- Friday through Sunday.
Before her star-studded extravaganza fires up Friday, Tao in the Venetian warms up taste buds tonight with its outdoor food and entertainment experience. Menu dishes from Thailand, Japan and China will add up to the Taste of Tao at Tao Beach to benefit our food bank Three Square.
The cabanas will be divided into three zones for cooking demonstrations, food and cocktails, plus entertainment with Chinese Zodiac readings with feng-shui masters, henna tattoo artists, calligraphers and fan and fire dancers. In the Chinese region, there will be Peking duck, dim sum and Lucky Buddha Beer. The Thai stations include satays paired with Thai curry sauce and Singha Beer. The Japanese sector will feature sushi, sashimi, CeeLo Green’s Ty-Ku sake, plus Kirin and Asahi beers. Chefs will teach guests how to roll sushi.
At the Food & Wine All-Stars weekend, participating chefs will line up at 11 a.m. Friday at Mandalay Bay Beach for the official photo in paradise. Here’s the remainder of the Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, OCT. 5
Gail hosts an afternoon tea of decadent French pastries with Joel Robuchon’s executive pastry chef Kamel Guechida at MGM Grand. Simultaneously, “Chopped” champion chef Christina Olivarez hosts a 15-tequila tasting at her restaurant Diego at MGM.
Over at Bellagio, five of the 129 master sommeliers in North America will show just why they are the world’s wonder wine experts. Nighttime at Mix atop the Hotel at Mandalay Bay, chefs Bruno Riouu, Orady Ditgnabvong and master chocolatier Vincent Pilon provide desserts to go with the best view of the Strip.
SATURDAY, OCT. 6
French chefs Steve Benjamin and Claude Le Tohic guide foodies through the preparation of two Robuchon signature courses, then serve a three-course lunch with wine pairings at L’Atelier in MGM. Chef Vincent Poussel of Aureole teaches seasonal cooking in Mandalay Bay.
Michelin-starred chef Masa Takayama sabers the world’s best champagne to pair with sashimi and his signature toro caviar at Bar Masa in Aria, and there’s a wine and food pairing at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak in MGM.
Two highlights: a never-before all-star luncheon with Takayama, Jean-Philippe Maury, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano and Jean-Georges Vongerichten preparing a one-of-a-kind meal with Shawn McClain in his restaurant Sage at Aria. Then Rick Moonen and Hubert Keller join the chefs for the Surfside Soiree at Mandalay Bay Beach, a spectacular beach bash running till midnight.
SUNDAY, OCT. 7
For the grand finale, Gail and Bellagio master sommelier Jason Smith throw a brunch of Jasmine Dreams & Champagne Wishes with dim sum at Jasmine overlooking the Bellagio Fountains. We’ll have reports and photos Monday -- if I don’t have to get to the tailor to let my waist out!
It’s a feast for all the senses -- eyes, nose and mouth. As if the excitement of the two events wasn’t sufficient for foodies, chef Geno Bernardo is hosting his Tweets and Treats party at his Nove Italiano in the Palms tonight with appetizers, cocktails and prizes for tweeters.
Mangia bene, vivi felice -- eat well, live happy!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.
MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.