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July 26, 2017

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Four-day foodie heaven with Food & Wine All-Stars, Taste of Tao


Tom Donoghue/

The Food & Wine Top Chefs All-Star Tasting hosted by Gail Simmons at Aria on Oct. 22, 2011.

2011 Food & Wine and Top Chefs All-Star Weekend

The Food & Wine Top Chefs All-Star Tasting hosted by Gail Simmons at Aria on Oct. 22, 2011. Aria President William McBeath, Simmons and Chef Shawn McClain are pictured here. Launch slideshow »

Aria Opening: The Star Chefs

The chefs of CityCenter gather for the Grand Opening of Aria on Dec. 16, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Foodies are in food heaven today and this weekend as four days of fabulous feasting proves yet again that Las Vegas is one of the top gourmet capitals of the culinary world. Food & Wine magazine queen Gail Simmons, also a “Top Chef” judge and critic, hosts an extraordinary collection of celebrity chefs, sophisticated sommeliers and mastermind mixologists at MGM Resorts properties -- Mandalay Bay, Aria in CityCenter, Bellagio and MGM Grand -- Friday through Sunday.

Before her star-studded extravaganza fires up Friday, Tao in the Venetian warms up taste buds tonight with its outdoor food and entertainment experience. Menu dishes from Thailand, Japan and China will add up to the Taste of Tao at Tao Beach to benefit our food bank Three Square.

The cabanas will be divided into three zones for cooking demonstrations, food and cocktails, plus entertainment with Chinese Zodiac readings with feng-shui masters, henna tattoo artists, calligraphers and fan and fire dancers. In the Chinese region, there will be Peking duck, dim sum and Lucky Buddha Beer. The Thai stations include satays paired with Thai curry sauce and Singha Beer. The Japanese sector will feature sushi, sashimi, CeeLo Green’s Ty-Ku sake, plus Kirin and Asahi beers. Chefs will teach guests how to roll sushi.

At the Food & Wine All-Stars weekend, participating chefs will line up at 11 a.m. Friday at Mandalay Bay Beach for the official photo in paradise. Here’s the remainder of the Royal Robin Rundown:


Gail hosts an afternoon tea of decadent French pastries with Joel Robuchon’s executive pastry chef Kamel Guechida at MGM Grand. Simultaneously, “Chopped” champion chef Christina Olivarez hosts a 15-tequila tasting at her restaurant Diego at MGM.

Over at Bellagio, five of the 129 master sommeliers in North America will show just why they are the world’s wonder wine experts. Nighttime at Mix atop the Hotel at Mandalay Bay, chefs Bruno Riouu, Orady Ditgnabvong and master chocolatier Vincent Pilon provide desserts to go with the best view of the Strip.


French chefs Steve Benjamin and Claude Le Tohic guide foodies through the preparation of two Robuchon signature courses, then serve a three-course lunch with wine pairings at L’Atelier in MGM. Chef Vincent Poussel of Aureole teaches seasonal cooking in Mandalay Bay.

Michelin-starred chef Masa Takayama sabers the world’s best champagne to pair with sashimi and his signature toro caviar at Bar Masa in Aria, and there’s a wine and food pairing at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak in MGM.

Two highlights: a never-before all-star luncheon with Takayama, Jean-Philippe Maury, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano and Jean-Georges Vongerichten preparing a one-of-a-kind meal with Shawn McClain in his restaurant Sage at Aria. Then Rick Moonen and Hubert Keller join the chefs for the Surfside Soiree at Mandalay Bay Beach, a spectacular beach bash running till midnight.


For the grand finale, Gail and Bellagio master sommelier Jason Smith throw a brunch of Jasmine Dreams & Champagne Wishes with dim sum at Jasmine overlooking the Bellagio Fountains. We’ll have reports and photos Monday -- if I don’t have to get to the tailor to let my waist out!

It’s a feast for all the senses -- eyes, nose and mouth. As if the excitement of the two events wasn’t sufficient for foodies, chef Geno Bernardo is hosting his Tweets and Treats party at his Nove Italiano in the Palms tonight with appetizers, cocktails and prizes for tweeters.

Mangia bene, vivi felice -- eat well, live happy!

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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