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December 17, 2014

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Kitchen queens Kimmy Moy of ‘Restaurant Express’ at M Resort, Shirley Chung of ‘Top Chef’ in New Orleans

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The Food Network

Robert Irvine’s “Restaurant Express” on the Food Network.

Kimmy Moy

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Las Vegas chef Shirley Chung on Season 11 of Bravo's "Top Chef."

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Las Vegas chef Shirley Chung's turtle soup with goji berry and Chinese Broth on Season 11 of Bravo's "Top Chef."

Former restaurant owner Kimmy Moy moved to Las Vegas after a devastating car accident and, although trained by her father, a master chef, now has to work as a waitress.

She closed her Cincinnati dining venue but is now hoping that all those skills will win her the new flagship Asian-fusion restaurant planned for the M Resort.

Kimmy, who has dubbed herself “The Ninja Chef,” is taking part in a new Food Network series with TV chef Robert Irvine, known for his hit series “Restaurant Impossible.”

“Restaurant Express” will pit nine hard-luck chefs against one another starting Nov. 3. Here’s the YouTube video Kimmy submitted to win a place on the new series.

The show, in its debut season, filmed its opening and closing episodes at the M, and sequences in which 46-year-old Kimmy appears were filmed on a tour bus for cross-country cooking contests.

‘TOP CHEF’ IN NEW ORLEANS

Tonight is Episode 2 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 11 on location in New Orleans. Shirley Chung, who worked for Las Vegas chefs Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali before landing the top executive spot in Jose Andres’ kitchen at China Poblano in the Cosmopolitan, is one of the competitors.

Judge Emeril Lagasse is impressed enough already to say that Shirley’s going to go far in the contest for the crown. Our Tom Colicchio, from his new Heritage Steak at the Mirage and Craftsteak at MGM Grand, is co-host and chief judge. Under Shirley’s guidance, China Poblano was nominated for the James Beard Award’s Best New Restaurant in 2011.

Born and raised in Beijing, Shirley came to the U.S. for a college education and after graduating worked in the Silicon Valley before enrolling in culinary school. Shirley says that through her work at China Poblano, she fell in love with Mexican cuisine and learned more about her own heritage, Chinese cuisine.

On last week’s debut episode, Shirley was declared safe in the Elimination Challenge, where chefs set up field kitchens in a Louisiana swamp to tackle turtles, frogs and alligators to make a meal for the private dining society Dinner Lab.

Her dish highlighting a Louisiana delicacy was turtle soup with goji berry and Chinese broth. After an appearance on Bourbon Street by Harry Connick Jr., three of the 19 cheftestants were promptly tossed from the new series. Tonight, Shirley is teamed with her rival chefs in the Elimination Challenge to create and operate a food truck to feed Habitat for Humanity volunteers who helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

For the first Quickfire Challenge of the new season, the cheftestants work through the night to make gumbo.

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 Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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