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September 20, 2014

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Food & Wine All-Stars Day 1 photos: Chefs dazzle foodies; who won ‘Iron Chef’?

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Denise Truscello/WireImage/DeniseTruscello.net

The Food & Wine All-Star Weekend Class of 2012 includes Steve Benjamin, Joe Phillips, Mike Minor, Roy Ellamar, Harley Carbery, Christina Olivarez, Richard Betts, Doug Bell, Bobby Stuckey, Shawn McClain, Christophe Tassan, Gail Simmons, Mary Sue Milliken, Jason Smith, Susan Feniger, Patrick Lee, Vincent Pilon, Kamel Guechida, Gun Kahong Hiew, Emmanuel Kemiji, Julian Serrano, Rick Moonen, Claude Le-Tohic and Jean-Philippe Maury at Mandalay Bay Beach on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.

2012 Food and Wine: Day 1

Master Sommeliers Richard Betts, Bobby Stuckey, Jason Smith and Emmanuel Kemiji at Bellagio’s Tuscany Kitchen for the Third Annual Food & Wine All-Star Weekend on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. Launch slideshow »
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Gail Simmons and Christina Olivarez at Diego in MGM Grand on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.

For the third consecutive year, the culinary spectacular Food & Wine All-Star Weekend with Gail Simmons from “Top Chef” served up an all-star wave of celebrity chefs and master sommeliers. To prove it, the kitchen kings and queens even waded into the water at Mandalay Bay Beach for the kickoff.

Food fans from as far away as Canada flew in for the extravaganza, and event attendees were wowed by our Las Vegas chefs who produced their best-ever show. No wonder chef Shawn McClain (Sage at Aria) has just been crowned the new “Iron Chef”!

F&W All-Stars is three days of extraordinary meals and wondrous wines, and Vegas DeLuxe will have coverage of it all. Today, we have the first four events on Day 1, and then Monday and Tuesday wrap it all up as a mouth-watering masterpiece.

The kickoff group photograph included, from left to right, Steve Benjamin, Joe Phillips, Mike Minor, Roy Ellamar, Harley Carbery, Christina Olivarez, Richard Betts, Doug Bell, Bobby Stuckey, Shawn McClain, Christophe Tassan, Gail Simmons, Mary Sue Milliken, Jason Smith, Susan Feniger, Patrick Lee, Vincent Pilon, Kamel Guechida, Gun Kahong Hiew, Emmanuel Kemiji, Julian Serrano, Rick Moonen, Claude Le-Tohic and Jean-Philippe Maury in Mandalay’s wave pool.

It all began at MGM Grand when Gail welcomed guests to afternoon tea at Joel Robuchon. James Beard-nominated executive pastry chef Kamel Guechida wowed with dazzling desserts, with people raving about the pineapple infused with vanilla, gingersnap cookie crumbs and pumpkin spice cream.

Next up was a tequila tasting at Diego with executive chef and Food Network’s “Chopped” champion Christina Olivarez. The crowd favorite was her cochinita pibil, a carved, whole-roasted suckling pig marinated in achiote and sour orange and wrapped in banana leaves.

Over at the Bellagio, Jason Smith, director of wine and master sommelier, presented “Master Sommeliers Who Make Wine” at Tuscany Kitchen with Bobby Stuckey, Richard Betts and Emmanuel Kemiji, all master sommeliers turned winemakers.

The first day of fun and flavors wrapped with the “Sweet Strip Viewing” party at chef Alain Ducasse’s Mix atop the Hotel at Mandalay Bay Mix executive chef Bruno Riou, executive pastry chef Orady Ditgnavong and Mandalay Bay executive pastry chef Vincent Pilon crafted a decadent menu ending with desserts of mouthwatering mounds of macaroons, meringues and marshmallows.

On Monday, our coverage continues with the staggering six-course all-star luncheon with Julian Serrano, Shawn McClain, Jean-Philippe Maury, Michael Mina and Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the unique sabering of champagne and sashimi with legendary Masa Takayama.

Congratulations from all of us at Vegas DeLuxe to Shawn McClain, who has won the new “Iron Chef” title on the hit Food Network show. In a showdown against reigning champion Mark Forgione, our Las Vegas hero was presented with five overseas tropical fruits as surprise ingredients -- and turned them into a winning formula.

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.

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