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October 21, 2014

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2014 Vegas Uncork’d begins with four days of food, wine and star chefs

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Isaac Brekken/WireImage

Gordon Ramsay, Francois Payard, Guy Savoy and Michel Richard attend the 2013 Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit Grand Tasting at Garden of the Gods at Caesars Palace on Friday, May 10, 2013.

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Grand Tasting at Caesars

Gordon Ramsay, Francois Payard, Guy Savoy and Michel Richard attend the 2013 Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit Grand Tasting at Garden of the Gods at Caesars Palace on Friday, May 10, 2013. Launch slideshow »

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Saber Off at Hakkasan at MGM Grand

The 2013 Vegas Uncork'd saber off led by chef Michael Mina at Hakkasan Las Vegas at MGM Grand on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Launch slideshow »

With the 2014 Vegas Uncork’d food-and-wine festival about to unleash four days of culinary firepower, this year’s eight-annual event adds more celebrity chefs, events, participating hotels and guests from across the globe.

In all, 70 of the world’s best chefs, 20 of the most talented master sommeliers and 50 culinary temptations and delights start today and continue through Sunday. “My idea of a perfect weekend,” said Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit, sponsor of one of America’s leading culinary festivals.

How often does an opportunity arise to take part in a joint Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay dining experience? Will Pope of the Palate and Chef of the Century Joel Robuchon ever give a cooking demonstration again?

Can you believe standing shoulder-to-shoulder with “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro to get his baking tips and secrets? Imagine Mario Batali inviting you to play gastronomic golf and then tackle a beef tasting at his Carnevino in Palazzo.

And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg (lettuce)! There’s a luncheon with Thomas Keller; dinners with Nobu Matsuhisa, Gordon Ramsay and Francois Payard; a pig roast with Michael Mina; and Masters Dinners with Frank Pellegrino’s family at Rao’s in Caesars Palace and Pierre Gagnaire at Twist in Mandarin Oriental. Guy Savoy’s masterpiece at his restaurant in Caesars Palace is only for six of the most exclusive guests at his Krug Chef’s Table.

All the heavyweight action is focused at the Venetian and Palazzo today with the culinary extravaganza kickoff led by French restaurant royal Daniel Boulud tied into the official grand opening of his DB Brasserie at the Venetian. Venetian and Palazzo colleagues Buddy, Thomas, Justin Quek, Tetsuya Wakuda, Olivier Dubreuil and Kim Canteenwalla join him to saber Mionetto prosecco.

Cheering them on will be Aria culinary kingpins Sirio Maccioni, Julian Serrano and Shawn McClain, Bellagio food stars Edmund Wong and Royden Ellamar, MGM’s Claude Le Tohic and Steve Benjamin and Hakkasan’s Ho Chee Boon.

Then later at night in a cross-cultural culinary exchange, a team of acclaimed chefs from Japan, China, Singapore and Australia join with the Venetian and Palazzo luminaries Mario Batali, Daniel, Thomas and Buddy to create the East Meets West Night Market, an Asian-inspired outdoor F&B party.

Two of Singapore’s culinary superstars, Justin Quek of Sky On 57 and Tetsuya Wakuda of Waku Ghin, both of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and Luke Mangan, one of Australia’s leading chefs and restaurateurs, present the three-hour event. They promise an exquisite menu including dim sum, Peking duck, sea urchin and wok-fried Maine lobster.

“This is going to be the finest event of the year and the biggest international celebration for Vegas Uncork’d,” said Sebastien Silvestri, vice president of food and beverage at the Venetian at Palazzo. Additionally, guests will be entertained by the stars of “Panda!,” the first resident production from China on the Strip, with scenes from their show at Palazzo.

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand

Chef Joel Robuchon conducts a cooking & wine demo presented by Bon Appetit as they host the 7th annual Vegas Uncork'd on Friday, May 10, 2013, in Las Vegas. (Isaac Brekken for Bon Appetit) Launch slideshow »

2013 Vegas Uncork'd: Bellagio Block Party

Chef Todd English and Le Cordon Bleu student Todd Huelsman compete during 2013 Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit's Bellagio Block Party on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Launch slideshow »

The evening also features Mario and Buddy as the headlining mentors to two students from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in the Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge as they vie for $20,000 in scholarships during the Night Market. This extravaganza doesn’t end the festivities for the first night: Mario will host a Burgers and Beers afterparty at his restaurant B&B at the Venetian.

Highlights on Friday’s second day include Nobu’s sake tasting and sushi roll lessons and the Grand Tasting with more than 2,500 guests expected at the Garden of the Gods Pool at Caesars. Dozens of restaurants and vineyard booths will be set up to serve delicious delicacies.

Heroic chef Kerry Simon, who is battling MSA, is determined to make a wheelchair appearance on the red carpet alongside Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger and other food world stars. The afterparty for that gala is set for Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s Fizz champagne ultra lounge at Caesars.

On Saturday, Mario welcomes guests to his debut golf classic at the Cascata course. Even if you don’t know a 9-iron from a putting green, there will be walk-around taste treats and drinks served from his Las Vegas restaurants, along with wine pairings and a silent auction.

Back on the Strip, other highlights include a guys vs. gals sommelier feud, an all-star chefs feast at Aria’s buffet, a cocktail extravaganza at Bellagio, a multicourse dinner at Hakkasan and Joel Robuchon’s cooking demo and 16-course dinner.

On Sunday, the Pellegrino family will host a Mother’s Day brunch at Rao’s. I’ve only begun to hint at the highlights. For the full listing of hour-by-hour, day-by-day events, please go to VegasUncorked.com.

It’s the weekend that Las Vegas proves to the world that we are not just the Entertainment Capital of the World but also the globe’s ultimate food and fine dining destination.

Cathy Tull of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority summed it up best: “Our city continues to redefine the essence of epicurean excellence with the most comprehensive collection of distinguished chefs’ celebrated restaurants and master sommeliers in the world.

“This year we are thrilled to welcome additional resorts, chefs and one-of-a-kind experiences to Vegas Uncork’d providing our guests with unparalleled access to legendary chefs and sommeliers in truly intimate settings while showcasing Las Vegas as the culinary mecca it has become.”

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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