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November 21, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: Gordon Ramsay plots gastropub; Gene Simmons’ Mini-Golf


Erik Kabik/Retna/

Chef Gordon Ramsay at Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace on Aug. 24, 2010.

Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe

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Joe Bastianich and Chef Mario Batali at Mario Batali's farmers market Bet on the Farm in the Palazzo.

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Shannon Tweed and Gene Simmons on the blue carpet for the Viva Elvis world premiere at Aria in CityCenter on Feb. 19, 2010.

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Shania Twain.

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Bobby Baldwin, president and CEO of City Center and his wife at the Vanity Fair party for the grand opening of Vdara Hotel & Spa at CityCenter on Dec. 1, 2009.

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The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

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The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

Two new attractions are headed to Las Vegas, and naturally Vegas DeLuxe is first with the news. Fiery Chef Gordon Ramsay has confirmed our earlier exclusive reports that he’s headed to the Strip with a new restaurant concept. Tonight on his new Season 2 of Master Chef on Fox, he reveals that he’s opening a gastropub here with Caesars Entertainment.

Rumors are rampant that he’s either taking over an existing restaurant at Caesars Palace or will remake Les Artistes at the Paris. On tonight’s premiere episode, which promptly cuts 100 contestants to the Top 18, Gordon is so impressed with one man’s pastry skills that he’s using his recipe for carrot cake in the Las Vegas gastropub before it’s featured anywhere. Gordon said, “I have to have that before anyone else gets it.”

Las Vegas and New York restaurateur Joe Bastianich, who is Chef Mario Batali’s partner at his Venetian and Palazzo outposts, is one of the judges on Gordon’s new series. Tonight’s two-part show opens with 100 finalists who have to cook the dish of their lives, and Gordon, Joe and Chef Graham Elliot hand out 18 aprons to those continuing.

The judges cause tension and dissension as they give feedback to the cheftestants. Watch out for the crude language and suggestive dialogue, which may be unsuitable for young children. A tattoo parlor owner, a swimming pool maintenance man, a surgeon and a forklift operator are included in the mix of contestants.

Meantime, I learned over the weekend that KISS frontman Gene Simmons has locked up a deal to launch a nationwide chain of KISS Mini-Golf courses with the first to be opened here. Gene said plans are so far along with the development, he’s confident it will be opened here well before year’s end, with others being readied for Arizona and California right on its heels.

Wicked Whispers & Racy Rumors

With all the crazed speculation about superstar Shania Twain coming to Caesars Palace next year, there’s also buzz involving another big star. I know Caesars Palace entertainment executives are meeting with Barbra Streisand this week in L.A. with plans to have her involved in something new with the giant gaming company. Not for one minute am I starting the rumor that she’s bound for The Colosseum, too, but there’s just a lot of talk about her and Caesars at this moment. … Which PR firm has had to send out email apologies to grumbling red carpet photographers apologizing for the late and no-show celebrities at recent Strip nightclub events. … Mystery surrounds the coming and going of the actor who played the role of The Gazillionaire in Absinthe at Caesars Palace. There’s a new actor in the part, but the former one who returned to Cirque du Soleil duties has turned up intermittently as The Gazillionaire in the replacement’s absence. … Insiders are asking if CBS executives who signed local Judge Jackie Glass to replace Nancy Grace after one season of Swift Justice knew about this report. Nancy will be at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards here at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 19. … Who was the Hollywood star who turned up to support Playboy Playmate DJ Tamara Sky and wound up spraying champagne over all the Nikki Beach revelers at Shoot the Centerfold at the Tropicana?

*Congratulations to two Las Vegas race drivers who wound up as the Top Two finishers of the grueling 452-mile Baja 500 race over the weekend. Of a starting field of 254, 160 drivers completed the race. Hometown hero Bryce Menzies started first and never looked back in his second SCORE race of the year in a Menzies Motorsports Ford F-150, winning in 9 hrs 4 min and averaging 49.87 mph. Fellow Las Vegan Rob MacCachren finished second in a field with entries from 30 states, Guam, Mexico, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and Italy.

Bryce said: “We just took it easy until mile 120. The crew did an awesome job. Every time I was in the pit, it was just 30 or 40 seconds. … Thanks to everybody for helping me out. I was down here pre-running for close to two weeks, so I think that pays off huge. I couldn’t be happier.” Tim Herbst of Las Vegas placed sixth, NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon 10th and reality TV star Jesse James 13th. B.J. Baldwin, son of MGM CityCenter chief Bobby Baldwin, did not place.

*To tie-in with Love at the Mirage’s fifth anniversary Wednesday, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus arrived at the Mirage today. The interactive, state-of-the-art recording studio used by everybody from The Black Eyed Peas to Natasha Bedingfield is open to the public. The nonprofit mobile studio and HD video production facility travels America year-round providing students with hands-on multimedia experiences, and this is its first visit here.

Three onboard engineers demonstrate for students and visitors how to write, perform, record and produce original songs and music videos. Go to for the full rundown. It remains here through Saturday night with a chance at winning a Yoko Ono-signed guitar.

Tonight’s Tips

The Sin City Sinners perform at Crown Nightclub in the Rio. … The Diamonds Are Forever Party is at Jet in the Mirage. … Tickets go on sale for Nickelodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba for two performances at the Orleans Arena on Nov. 27.

Tomorrow’s Teases

We’ll preview Celine Dion’s return to Caesars Palace and turn the spotlight on one of her incredible backup singers who has been with her since the 1990s. Tim McGraw heads to the Hard Rock Hotel, Kevin Burke celebrates 3,000 Defending the Caveman performances, plus coverage of the official first-day welcome and dinner party for the 2011 Miss USA Pageant princesses.

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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