Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 | 5:16 p.m.
For the third consecutive year, the culinary spectacular Food & Wine All-Star Weekend with Gail Simmons from “Top Chef” served up an all-star wave of celebrity chefs and master sommeliers. To prove it, the kitchen kings and queens even waded into the water at Mandalay Bay Beach for the kickoff.
Food fans from as far away as Canada flew in for the extravaganza, and event attendees were wowed by our Las Vegas chefs who produced their best-ever show. No wonder chef Shawn McClain (Sage at Aria) has just been crowned the new “Iron Chef”!
F&W All-Stars is three days of extraordinary meals and wondrous wines, and Vegas DeLuxe will have coverage of it all. Today, we have the first four events on Day 1, and then Monday and Tuesday wrap it all up as a mouth-watering masterpiece.
The kickoff group photograph included, from left to right, Steve Benjamin, Joe Phillips, Mike Minor, Roy Ellamar, Harley Carbery, Christina Olivarez, Richard Betts, Doug Bell, Bobby Stuckey, Shawn McClain, Christophe Tassan, Gail Simmons, Mary Sue Milliken, Jason Smith, Susan Feniger, Patrick Lee, Vincent Pilon, Kamel Guechida, Gun Kahong Hiew, Emmanuel Kemiji, Julian Serrano, Rick Moonen, Claude Le-Tohic and Jean-Philippe Maury in Mandalay’s wave pool.
It all began at MGM Grand when Gail welcomed guests to afternoon tea at Joel Robuchon. James Beard-nominated executive pastry chef Kamel Guechida wowed with dazzling desserts, with people raving about the pineapple infused with vanilla, gingersnap cookie crumbs and pumpkin spice cream.
Next up was a tequila tasting at Diego with executive chef and Food Network’s “Chopped” champion Christina Olivarez. The crowd favorite was her cochinita pibil, a carved, whole-roasted suckling pig marinated in achiote and sour orange and wrapped in banana leaves.
Over at the Bellagio, Jason Smith, director of wine and master sommelier, presented “Master Sommeliers Who Make Wine” at Tuscany Kitchen with Bobby Stuckey, Richard Betts and Emmanuel Kemiji, all master sommeliers turned winemakers.
The first day of fun and flavors wrapped with the “Sweet Strip Viewing” party at chef Alain Ducasse’s Mix atop the Hotel at Mandalay Bay Mix executive chef Bruno Riou, executive pastry chef Orady Ditgnavong and Mandalay Bay executive pastry chef Vincent Pilon crafted a decadent menu ending with desserts of mouthwatering mounds of macaroons, meringues and marshmallows.
On Monday, our coverage continues with the staggering six-course all-star luncheon with Julian Serrano, Shawn McClain, Jean-Philippe Maury, Michael Mina and Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the unique sabering of champagne and sashimi with legendary Masa Takayama.
Congratulations from all of us at Vegas DeLuxe to Shawn McClain, who has won the new “Iron Chef” title on the hit Food Network show. In a showdown against reigning champion Mark Forgione, our Las Vegas hero was presented with five overseas tropical fruits as surprise ingredients -- and turned them into a winning formula.
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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Inspired by the beautiful villages of Europe, the AAA Five Diamond Bellagio overlooks a Mediterranean-blue, 8 ½-acre lake, where fountains perform a magnificent aquatic ballet choreographed to music and lights.
Within Bellagio are award-winning dining experiences including two AAA Five Diamond restaurants, Julian Serrano's Picasso and Le Cirque from the renowned Maccioni family.
Bellagio is home to an impressive collection of luxury retailers including Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Breguet, Prada, Fred Leighton, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Hermès and OMEGA.
A world-class art gallery, the exquisite Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the stunning “O” by Cirque du Soleil, a luxurious spa and salon, dynamic nightlife at The Bank, Hyde Bellagio and Lily Bar & Lounge and an elegant casino all add to the extraordinary Bellagio experience.