Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Our Mandalay Bay star chef Hubert Keller set the “Top Chef” Season 11 cheftestants an unusual coffee challenge on location in New Orleans. He told the competitors they had to make a dish using the Dunkin’ Donuts grind.
Our local chef Shirley Chung came through with flying colors in a dish that combined chocolate and garlic! She not only won the Quickfire Challenge, but also $10,000 from the doughnut company and most importantly one of the last immunities of the show before it reaches its finale.
Shirley, who has been at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in the Venetian, Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace and Jose Andres’ China Poblano in the Cosmopolitan, said she’d spend the money on a new air conditioning unit for her family.
“This was my favorite episode so far, and I’m thankful for the support of my loving family,” she added this morning. She was also safe in the Elimination Challenge where she had to re-create a dish to remind of meals back in China. Shirley returns next Wednesday to the top-rated Bravo show as the number of chefs dwindles to a precious few in the last stages of the competition.
‘SHINE’ TV TALENT SHOW: Hollywood TV producers are promising that their new “Shine America” network program will be a competition series unlike anything seen before, and they’re coming to Las Vegas on a talent hunt for dancers, musicians, artists, game designers, puppeteers and graphic artists willing to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Send your email to Casting@CastIronProductions.TV for a shot at $100,000 in your category!
Miss Nevada USA
BEAUTIFUL GIRLS: Dozens of shapely stunners will hit Michael Boychuck’s Lifetime Salon near Red Rock Resort on Saturday vying for the preliminary entry orientation for January’s Miss Nevada USA Pageant. Pageant director Shanna Moakler will be there with Miss Nevada beauties Chelsea Caswell and Jade Kelsall. I will be one of the judges at the Jan. 12 extravaganza at UNLV, with the winner representing our Silver State in the national pageant next summer.
SANTA ARRIVES: Wednesday night’s official arrival of Santa Claus on Fremont Street indicates that the holiday season is truly upon us. Sam Morris of the Las Vegas Sun was on the scene for Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s official welcome greeting. In keeping with the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo invasion, there was a free concert that included Austin Webber, among others, during the downtown celebration.
TOY DRIVE RECORD: Staffers at Steve Wynn’s XS and Tryst nightclubs made their eighth-annual donation Wednesday to Chet Buchanan’s KLUC Morning Zoo Toy Drive. This year’s $190,698 in toys is the largest donation from a single group to a toy drive anywhere in the country and broke the clubs’ previous record, which is raised through tips and contributions from the staff throughout the year and benefitting HELP of Southern Nevada. XS and Tryst’s total donations in eight years are at more than $700,000.
HOLLY’S TOYS: Holly Madison, who is rumored to be developing a new Mandalay Bay cabaret show with Minus 5 Ice Bar execs, joined them and Excalibur headliner hunks Thunder From Down Under to donate children’s toys and treats for the Toys for Tots Foundation. Sgt. Yommalat, Sgt. Ringgold and Cpl. Baker of the USMC assisted in collecting donation items at Minus 5 in Monte Carlo.
BLUE DISPLAY: Monte Carlo headliners Blue Man Group stopped at Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest to see their holiday tree. They strolled the forest posing for photographs with staff, volunteers and visitors at their tree with more than 3,000 twinkling LED lights and 80 feet of their production’s PVC piping. The interactive display teaches visitors how to play music on the spot.
‘RODEO GIRLS’: The cast of A&E’s new original series “Rodeo Girls,” here for WNFR, National Finals Rodeo, partied at Surrender in Encore to celebrate the first of a two-night series premiere. The fun started with chef Joseph Elevado’s taste treats at the adjoining Andrea’s. Darcy LaPier, in a sparkly gold fringe dress and personalized cowboy boots, led the rodeo girls into the nightclub to the sounds of DJ Deniz Koyu.
The six-episode “Rodeo Girls” follows five female barrel racers as they pack up their lives and their horses to test their skills at rodeos across the country. Darcy said: “We work hard, ride fast and play rough.” Part 2 of the series premiere airs tonight at 10 ET/PT.
COMEDY CO-HOST: Sassy comedienne and actress Rebekah Kochan has signed on to co-host the “Oscars of the Porn World’s” 2014 AVN Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel on Jan. 18. Rebekah, who made her movie debut in 2004’s “Eating Out,” has starred in all four of its sequels. She also is a writer for Joan Rivers on E! Entertainment’s “Fashion Police.”
SPEEDWAY STARS: We salute the executives and staff of our Las Vegas Motor Speedway in its position as the premier motorsports facility in the world, which was further solidified with its second consecutive selection as Speedway Motorsports’ Speedway of the Year on Wednesday night. LVMS, which hosts more than 1,400 event days a year, is the only winner in the two-year history of the award.
Chris Powell, LVMS president, said: “This has been a remarkable year with successful racing events and track-rental business. … As we look ahead to 2014, we’ll continue to stage NASCAR and other premier racing series. And we’ll host several ‘non-traditional’ events, including the next Electric Daisy Carnival and the new Red Bull Air Race World Championship.”
Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham brings his crazy characters to life as his “Disorderly Conduct” stops at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace.
DJ Shift is at Hakkasan in MGM Grand.
The global launch of Stolichnaya Elit vodka is at Lily in Bellagio.
2013 WRANGLER NFR EVENTS
Merle Haggard is at Golden Nugget downtown.
Toby Keith’s daughter, singer-songwriter Krystal, debuts her album “Whiskey & Lace” and single “Get Your Redneck On” at Revolver in Santa Fe Station.
Aaron Watson and Wolf Creek are at South Point for three nights.
Daryle Singletary is at the Mirage.
We’ll preview Jay Z’s “Magna Carter Show” at Mandalay Bay and get ready for the gold buckle winner presentations at 2013 WNFR. And our weekend Weekend Celebrity Preview has the Rundown Robin Rundown from Stone Temple Pilots to The Black Crowes to Third Eye Blind to The Charlie Daniels Band.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Encore is nearly a mirror image of the Wynn Las Vegas, from the brown glass exterior to the style and placement of the logo — and it's just as luxurious as the original. Some call Encore the younger, hipper sister of Wynn.
Located steps from Wynn Las Vegas, yet under the same roof, Encore's fanciful and intimate atmosphere is unlike anything anywhere, with an environment that is uniquely Wynn and distinctly Encore.
Steve Wynn spared no detail in his newest property when designing Encore. The casino floor is decorated in rich reds, browns and purples with mosaic butterflies embedded into the marble floors and fresh flowers greeting guests in the casino atrium.
Luxury doesn't end of the casino floor. Encore boasts 2,034 impeccable guest rooms and suites. The standard suites resort accommodations are 700 square feet with the larger suites measuring in at 5,800 square feet. Standard suites guest rooms feature plasma screen TVs, high-end bath products, spectacular views of the Strip, and also plush linens and mattresses, which can be purchased in the Encore store, in case you can't get enough.
Dining options include Chef Theo Schoenegger's fine Italian cuisine at Chef Theo Schoenegger's, Sinatra's and the pan-Asian café creations of Chef Jet Tila at Wazuzu.
Guests can also dine on steaks and chops at star Botero Steak. At Switch, Encore's French restaurant, the walls come to life mid-meal and your surroundings appear to change before your eyes. For decadent, hip Asian dining before or after a night at one of resort’s ultra-chic nightclubs, visit Andrea’s, the newest dining experience at Encore.
XS headlines Encore's nightlife and pool party scene while Danny Gans takes care of humor and entertainment. Encore also features two of the most celebrated nightlife experiences in Vegas, XS Nightclub and Surrender. Both feature main room dance floors that flow outside to pools, patio spaces and gaming areas.
When the temperature rises, don’t miss Encore Beach Club, the premier daylife destination that features three tiered pools and luxurious cabanas and bungalows with private infinity pools.
Encore Esplanade features 11 high-end retail stores, with brands like Hermes, Chanel, Loro Piana and Rock, and Republic Piaget luxury watches. The resort also has a Forbes Five-Star spa, a salon and an 18-hole, on-site golf course, which is adjacent to the Wynn.
With world-class dining, shopping, spas, golf and entertainment, there's no shortage of things to do at Wynn. The resort’s aquatic acrobatic show, “Le Reve—The Dream,” a creation by Cirque Du Soleil veteran Franco Dragone and Steve Wynn, will leave guests wanting more with its breathtaking performances that conjure an imaginary world. The Wynn Esplanade offers a unique shopping experience with stores including Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta and many more. Tryst is its signature nightclub, offering a secluded lagoon inside the club and spacious dance floor. Blush, the Wynn’s ultra lounge, draws swanky party-goers. Tryst, Wynn’s signature nightclub, is situated along a private lagoon under a 90-foot waterfall and plays host to some of the world’s most renown DJs.