Thursday, May 8, 2014 | 4:56 p.m.
2014 Vegas Uncork’d saber-off
It was the kindest, cleanest, fastest and sharpest cut of all.
It took French master chef Daniel Boulud one single “swoop rapide” of his very own super-sharp saber to pop the cork off the top of a bottle of prosecco to launch today’s eight-annual Vegas Uncork’d food and wine festival.
It won him cheers from an extraordinary lineup of celebrity chefs gathered at the Venetian, where Daniel also officially opens his DB Brasserie today.
He told me: “I brought my very own sword from New York to ensure that the cork came off in one pass. It would have been bad luck for me, my new restaurant and Vegas Uncork’d if I’d missed.”
To prove his expertise, he promptly did it three other times! Not to be outdone, his friend fellow French star chef Guy Savoy from his self-named restaurant at Caesars Palace also grabbed another saber and promptly took out two more bottles of Italy’s sparkling wine. (Only in France is it allowed to be called Champagne.)
Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery and Richard Corey for his YouTube video of the kickoff celebrations; thanks also to Glenn Pinkerton of Las Vegas News Bureau for his first photos.
As I reported earlier today, 70 of the world’s best chefs, 20 of the most talented sommeliers and 50 culinary events make up the annual, festive four-day weekend.
This morning’s highlight was the arrival from New York of legendary 84-year-old Le Cirque restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, proudly wearing his prestigious James Beard gold medal Lifetime Achievement Award. The king of cuisine’s former chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel gave him a warm welcome. Sirio has Las Vegas restaurants at Bellagio (Circo) and Aria (Sirio).
Tonight the Venetian hosts the extraordinary East Meets West Night Market with “The Chew’s” Mario Batali, “Cake Boss’s” Buddy Valastro, Thomas and Daniel. That one-in-a-lifetime teaming goes up against top chefs from Australia, Singapore and Macau.
There also are Master Series Chef dinners at Caesars Palace in Old Homestead and with Giada de Laurentiis and Bobby Flay together at his Mesa Grill, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gordon Ramsay, Francois Payard, the Pellegrino Family at Rao’s and an ultra-exclusive Guy Savoy dinner for six privileged people at his Krug Chef’s Table.
All 70 chefs join together Friday night for the Grand Tasting at Garden of the Gods at Caesars Palace. The full, hour-by-hour schedule of events for Friday, Saturday and Sunday is at VegasUncorked.com.
Las Vegas truly shines this weekend as the world’s culinary mecca and the top dining destination on Earth.
Daniel summed up: “What a great day! I open my new restaurant. Vegas Uncork’d is underway. The weather is beautiful. We are here all as friends and all loving the best of food and wine. Could you ask for a more beautiful day in a better city?”
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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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.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.