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October 31, 2014

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Culinary kings Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert to do battle at the Palms

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Daniel Krieger/MarthaStewart.com

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert.

Culinary stars Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain may well be offstage pals, but onstage they are ferocious competitors and definitely controversial chefs who don’t mince their words. This will really be hot on the grill-ing.

If Eric is The Good One, then Anthony is definitely The Evil One -- and on Saturday, it won’t be just pots they’re banging at the Palms; they’ll be banging heads and bruising each other’s feelings. Anthony always sharpens his slashing sarcasm as the minutes tick on, and he doesn’t hold back with his vitriol of the Las Vegas food scene when it comes to mixing slots with steaks.

Their show “Good vs. Evil” sizzles into Pearl at the Palms for one night of fireworks. If you remember Anthony’s memoir “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000, you know he’s an outspoken restaurant figure.

The book set off a firestorm of controversy and outrage, but it made him an overnight legend of loathing that triggered his TV series “No Reservations,” “The Taste” and the new CNN project “Parts Unknown.” You only have to follow him on Twitter @Bourdain to know how bad tempered and argumentative he can be.

That gourmet grouchiness will be on display right from the get go when the chefs walk onstage. Eric, known for his “Top Chef” appearances and his PBS show “Avec Eric,” will be far more the gentleman.

They’re friends with differences in terms of food philosophies and outlooks. There are no plans for them to cook and serve, but the menu will be at high heat just the same. I’m told to think of two lawyers playing for high stakes in a courtroom battle with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

The audience will view the chefs roasting each other to start the proceedings, then they’ll share food stories and answer questions from the audience. Maybe it might just get as tangled as MMA fighters who sometimes compete in the ring there. Here’s hoping that it’s as hot as a burning saute pan of oil!

People who have seen this road show say it works not just because they are opposites, but also because it’s unscripted, unrehearsed and unplanned. There’s a general framework, but the night from start to finish will be an unapologetic epicurean escapade.

Their appearance coincides with the grand opening of the Palms’ center bar Social at the heart of the renovated casino floor, a pre-opening peek into the sports lounge and restaurant Heraea and an unveiling of the premiere Ivory Tower guestrooms.

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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  1. Call Bourdain a TV food personality if you wish. But don't call him a culinary king.