Las Vegas Sun

March 25, 2019

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Strip Scribbles: Soap opera makes way for Mario Batali TV series

Karina Smirnoff @Carnival du Vin

IS Photography/

Karina Smirnoff and Mario Batali at Carnival du Vin in the Palazzo.

Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe

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Gordon Ramsay at Serendipity 3

Are you ready to face off with Chef Gordon Ramsey? Launch slideshow »

Jesse Jane's VIP Party for Diosa Tequila

Jesse Jane hosts a VIP tasting party for her new tequila Diosa on March 8, 2011. Launch slideshow »

2011 NASCAR Weekend: 3/6/11

The Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway featured a victory by Carl Edwards and celebrities on March 6, 2011. Launch slideshow »

It’s a day of big food news with three major culinary stories:

1) Successful restaurateur and Venetian and Palazzo Chef Mario Batali is set to star in the new ABC daytime series The Chew debuting Sept. 26. The innovative series is hosted by a dynamic group of experts in food, lifestyle and entertaining. As ABC says: “The Chew serves up everything food -- from cooking and home entertaining to food trends, restaurants, holidays and more -- all aimed at making life better, fuller and more fun.

Mario, co-owner of 17 restaurants including three here on The Strip, will partner with Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz. A longtime pal, Mario and I go back to our Food Network days when he hosted Molto Mario and Ciao America.

The Chew is one of two new ABC shows. The other is The Revolution, and they replace All My Children and One Life to Live. (General Hospital is safe -- at least for now!) The Chew is produced by my good friend Gordon Elliot, who brought Paula Deen to the forefront of TV chefs.

Gordon and I worked together on Good Morning Australia in the 1980s when I filed daily Hollywood reports for his morning talk show. Gordon described his new show: “Picture the best breakfast, lunch or dinner party you’ve ever been to at the coolest house of the coolest person with the most fun. And that’s every day."

2) Despite being embroiled in an unbelievable real-life family feud, Hell’s Kitchen Chef Gordon Ramsay is moving ahead with not one but three restaurant plans for Caesars Entertainment here. The owners of Serendipity 3 at Caesars are his partners in the projects, which today’s New York Post reports that one will be an authentic pub.

Vegas DeLuxe was the first to break the news of his steak restaurant planned for the Paris to open early next year. My old London newspaper the Daily Mail reported that Gordon has sued the family of his wife demanding the return of millions from his father-in-law Chris, four other family members and his father-in-law’s alleged mistress, all with the OK of Gordon’s wife Tana.

3) It looks definite now that Encore Chef Jet Tila is departing The Strip and his hit Wazuzu on Sept. 30. He’s moving back home to L.A. to open his own restaurant and develop expansion plans for his pop-up mobile restaurant concept Bistronomics starting in October at Breadbar downtown. The pop-up idea in L.A. began with former Lavo at the Palazzo Chef Ludo Lefebvre, now starring in his Sundance series Ludo Bites America.

*Get ready for a 34DD invasion on The Strip of porn princesses and exotic topless dancers for the 14th annual awards of the Gentlemen’s Club Owners’ Expo and Adult Nightclub & Exotic Dancer Awards. Comedian Nick DiPaolo hosts the show at the Mirage on Aug. 23 to close the three-day conference and tradeshow that attracts more than 3,000 attendees -- 1,700 owners, plus performers and dancers.

More than 300 booths will be set up for the tradeshow. As the highest-grossing segment of the nightclub industry, there are now over 3,000 adult nightclubs in North America employing 500,000 dancers and support staff serving 1.6 million customers in the multibillion-dollar industry.

Click to enlarge photo

Robin Leach as The Phantom.

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Ronald Johnson.

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Jessa Lynn Hinton.

There are four major award categories for feature entertainers: Newcomer Entertainer of the Year, Adult Movie Entertainer of the Year, Club Favorite Entertainer of the Year and the prestigious Overall Entertainer of the Year. Each of the five Overall Entertainer of the Year nominees will provide a live performance during the awards: Christina Aguchi, Dakota Skye, Gia Nova, Suzie Malone and Tali De’Mar.

The porn stars battling it out for Adult Movie Entertainer of the Year are Bree Olson (who is hosting at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at the Paris on Aug. 26), Briana Blair, Ginger Lee, Jesse Jane, Katsuni, Nikki Benz, Nina Mercedez and the T&A duo of Teagan Presley & Alexis Texas.

*What would you look like as the masked Phantom of the Opera? Now you can find out just like I did! To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular at the Venetian has created a Facebook application, the Phantom Mask Maker, that with just a few clicks lets you transform yourself from beauty to beast complete with the iconic white face mask.

*Former Vegas Deluxe celebrity photographer Scott Doctor has fulfilled a longtime dream of opening his own hobby store. He specializes in radio-controlled model autos and planes and has the kits needed for other model-making enthusiasts. Check it out at

*My longtime pal Lee Spiegel, who writes about unexplained phenomena for AOL, once persuaded me to accompany him on a UFO expedition to New Hampshire to the spot where Betty and Barney Hill said they’d been abducted by aliens. It was spooky and eerie and, yes, the chills ran up and down my spine, but I didn’t see any flying saucers!

I met the couple, though, and would swear that they absolutely believe they had an extraordinary experience. The state has just erected a special highway marker to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their alleged kidnapping, and Lee has written about it.

*The 2011 NASCAR race in March proved to be a huge economic windfall for Las Vegas. This year’s event contributed $104,699,000, the third-highest financial impact on the community in the 14-year history of the event, according to Convention and Visitor Authority figures released this morning. The figure is a staggering 17.4 percent increase over last year. Fans attending this year spent an average of $252 more per person.

Star Surveillance

Actor Taye Diggs continued his Las Vegas vacation watching Blue Man Group at the Venetian. … Criss Angel dined at Buca di Beppo in Hollywood with his mother and brother after watching Cirque du Soleil Iris at the Kodak Theater. … Boxers Aaron Williams, Joseph Judah and Ronald Johnson and July Playboy Playmate Jessa Lynn Hinton partied at the Hard Rock Hotel. … Boxer Zab Judah dined at Serendipity 3. … And CNN political contributor James Carville had lunch today at Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris.

Tonight’s Tips

Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show saluting Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Joey Bishop celebrates its launch in Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton, and comedians John Henton, Tracey MacDonald and Brandon Hahn headline at Harrah’s Improv through Sunday.

Tomorrow’s Teases

An ambitious fall reality TV series that’s more like a social experiment with every woman sent packing so the men fend for themselves bypassed one of our suburbs. Plus, L.A. Lakers star Ron Artest, Matisyahu and Turn Leaf Green party and perform in town.

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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