Monday, May 13, 2013 | 1:14 p.m.
Fiery celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay admits that he was reduced to tears as he wrapped filming on his new TV series “Junior Masterchef” that brings him to a total of five shows airing on Fox. “Junior Masterchef” is a spinoff of his summer series “Masterchef” that has been renewed for two more seasons.
Gordon received the good news while attending the 2013 Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace and checking in at his three Las Vegas restaurants at Caesars Palace (Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill), Planet Hollywood (Gordon Ramsay BurGR) and the Paris (Gordon Ramsay Steak).
He also hosted a Master Series Dinner last Thursday and a Sunday traditional British roast beef luncheon, both at Caesars. Additionally, “Hell’s Kitchen,” now in its 11th season, also was renewed for two years. “Much to celebrate,” Gordon told me in an exclusive interview at Garden of the Gods pool at Caesars.
“I’m proudest of all, though, with ‘Junior Masterchef.’ It is going to change the way America looks at food and children. It will change the way children in America eat. It will encourage children to learn to become chefs at home and maybe as a future career. It was the most amazing experience of my life.”
Children ages 8 through 13 were mentored by Gordon and his two judges, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and Chicago chef Graham Elliot, who is planning to open a Las Vegas restaurant before year’s end. Joe is Mario Batali’s partner in three restaurants at The Venetian and Palazzo.
Gordon continued: “I’m really excited we’re able to offer this new opportunity to young budding chefs. Having my own children who love to cook, I know firsthand the skill and passion these kids can have at such a young age and what they can do with it. It was extraordinary to watch them in action. We had amazing kids.”
Graham told me: “We were all in tears while filming the final episode. We were incredibly amazed by the kids’ talents, determination and dedication. It’s an elimination show, but done differently each week so the children aren’t upset about not moving forward.”
Gordon told me: “Filming the final episode moved us more emotionally than the children. We took a one-star Michelin restaurant in Los Angeles, but never told the customers that one night that kids would be in the kitchen cooking the identical menu the regular staff would have prepared.
“The kids did everything from start to finish. The diners never had a clue. At the end of service, I appeared and asked the customers to meet the kitchen brigade. In walked all the kids. No adults. People’s jaws dropped. They began applauding. Then a standing ovation, and then tears. Nobody including us could believe the kids had done it all and maintained the incredibly high standard. What a crowning moment for television. Such a fantastic achievement.”
“Junior Masterchef” will air on Fox on Fridays at 8 p.m. starting this fall, according to today’s official schedule announcement in the New York upfronts to advertisers from Mike Darnell, Fox’s alternative programming president. “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hotel Hell” were renewed earlier.
“Gordon just brings an incredible level of energy and passion to each of his series, and our viewers absolutely love them. We are thrilled to continue building his brand here on Fox. He’s a global superstar, and the success and longevity of his unprecedented series on our network proves that America just can’t get enough of him.”
Chicago chef Graham Elliot Bowles, 36, has won raves for his two outposts in the Windy City: Grahamwich and the Graham Elliot bistronomic restaurant, which received two Michelin stars and three Chicago Tribune stars. A Navy brat who has traveled the world, his menus are described as “imaginative new American fare.” He’s proud of the fact that he started out as a dishwasher and a bus boy. Food & Wine Magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best New Chefs in 2004.
Graham, nominated three times for James Beard Awards for best chef, has worked with best pal Gordon on “Masterchef.” He told me that he’ll bring his “inside-out, molecular styled” cooking to Las Vegas within a year. But he’s silent for now at which hotel — “but we’ll be on the Strip,” he promised.
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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Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.