Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | 1:09 p.m.
To celebrate the 20 successful years of his restaurant Spago, chef Wolfgang Puck hosts a unique Sip and Savor dinner tonight, with chefs from his six Las Vegas restaurants joining the party.
The actual restaurant anniversary was last December when Mayor Carolyn Goodman presented Wolf with a key to the city. It’s very rare that a restaurant lasts two decades and is known around the world.
Tonight’s event continues the 20th anniversary fun but also is to start an annual one-night-only gala feast to benefit our beloved charity Keep Memory Alive that was born 17 years ago with just 60 guests at Spago.
David Robins, who is managing partner of Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, said: “It’s a mix-and-mingle dine-around with all six of our restaurant chefs. We looked for a way to continue our 20th anniversary of Spago but to recognize all of our restaurant talent in Las Vegas.
“We wanted to create something fun for our guests while at the same time giving back to our community. Hopefully our guests will enjoy it as much as we will and make it something to grow and hold on an annual basis.”
Wolf, who flies in today, will cook in the kitchen alongside his chefs from Spago, Eric Klein; Cut at the Palazzo, Matt Hurley; Lupo at Mandalay Bay, Eduardo Perez; Postrio at The Venetian, Scott Irestone; Pizzeria Cucina at Crystals in CityCenter, Dustin Lewandowski; and Bar & Grill in MGM Grand with overall company chefs Lee Hefter and John LeGrone.
Tonight also is the debut of 13-year former Joel Robuchon chef Kamel Guechida, who has become bread and dessert chef overseeing all of Wolf’s dining group.
The star chef opened his first Spago in 1982 in Los Angeles and now has a global empire of 22 award-winning restaurants as far afield as Singapore and London with 5,000 employees. His debut Las Vegas venture with Spago almost started out as a total failure. I’ve known him as a good friend for more than 30 years and flew out for his Las Vegas opening.
“The rodeo was in town, and the customers were cowboys who wanted steaks and shrimp cocktails, not our fancy smoked salmon and caviar pizzas. We had no customers, and nobody wanted what we had on our menu.” Wolf told me.
“I gave it six months to live, and we all tightened our belts. But three weeks after that, it all changed, and we were here to stay in Las Vegas.
“We’ve renewed our lease for another 20 years, and our total revenues since opening have now passed the $250 million mark.”
Tonight celebrates Wolf’s successes and his commitment to Keep Memory Alive’s research work and patient treatment at our Downtown Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He lost his Austrian parents to Alzheimer’s.
Check back Thursday for our report and photo gallery.
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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