Thursday, May 9, 2013 | 8:36 a.m.
Masaharu Morimoto, renowned Japanese chef and “Iron Chef” star on The Food Network, is set to open his own Las Vegas restaurant early next year. He’s taking over the existing Japonais space at The Mirage.
This morning’s official confirmation by MGM Resorts officials confirms several previous reports of mine, all of which were denied. I had expected my reports to be confirmed at the recent UNLVino “Sake Fever” fundraiser poolside at The Mirage when the contract had been signed that day at a celebration lunch.
However, resort executives wanted to separate the two events so that news of his 2014 opening didn’t overshadow the UNLV hospitality scholarship benefit. The Iron Chef was sworn to secrecy, and when I congratulated him on moving to The Strip, he remained silent.
Two days later when he attended the UNLVino closing Bar-B-Q at The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, he clammed up again when I asked for more details. There were so many denials to my reports that I had begun to think that it was a coup that wasn’t coming true.
Now Morimoto flies in today for the kickoff of the four-day Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit food-and-wine festivities. “Your intel was correct all along,” I was told early this morning.
So in advance of this afternoon’s official saber-champagne celebration at the MGM Grand gold lion statues outside Hakkasan Las Vegas, the Iron Chef steals the headlines!
Said Morimoto in a news release: “I am excited to work with The Mirage on this new restaurant and to bring my cuisine to Las Vegas. With many new features to present at Morimoto Las Vegas from select menu items to unique design elements, I am passionate about delivering a culinary destination for all guests and visitors of the resort.”
Mirage President Trevor Scherrer added in this morning’s official release: “Chef Morimoto is a world-renowned culinary icon, and the unparalleled talent he brings with his restaurant concepts will be directly reflected in his Mirage venue.
“This partnership will continue to elevate our fine-dining offerings presenting our guests with an exclusive experience from the most recognized and respected Iron Chef in the world.”
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.
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