Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 | 1:31 p.m.
Hot off the grill!
Rio headliner magician Penn Jillette will compete in the new Season 3 of “Celebrity Cook-Off,” the Food Network’s hit series starring UNLV alumnus Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray as the leaders of competing culinary teams.
If Penn is the last contestant standing from the field of eight, he’s promised that the $50,000 win will go to our beloved charity Opportunity Village, which also benefited this year from Penn’s second-place finish (to country star Trace Adkins) on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC.
Penn will be assigned to Rachel’s team with singer and actress Florence Henderson, comedienne Judy Gold and Jake Pavelka of “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With the Stars.”
Guy will be assigned rapper Vanilla Ice, singer and actress Tiffany, NFL legend Herschel Walker and comedian Chris Kattan.
Each episode starting in January will feature a Food Network guest judge who will determine which celebrity is sent home. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips won Season 1, and reality TV star Dean McDermott, Tori Spelling’s baby daddy, won Season 2.
“Let me tell you something: Rachael and I are two of the most competitive people I know,” said Guy. “This season means a rubber match. Rachael won the first round, and I took the second. This one is for all the pasta in Italy.”
Rachael added: “It is both the most nerve-racking and exciting project I’ve ever been a part of, and this season is no relief. It is intense fun and stress — in every episode, as all of these celebrities play with knives and fire for the sake of the charities they love.”
In the season premiere, Penn arrives in New York with his seven rivals for the first cook-off challenge with only 90 minutes to prepare a Medieval feast and perform for a stadium full of hungry spectators. If Penn makes it to the finale, his challenge will be to prepare a three-course meal aboard a cruise ship.
‘TOP CHEF’ NOLA
Chef Shirley Chung, our Las Vegas culinary contestant on “Top Chef” Season 11 in New Orleans, was in the Top Three on Wednesday night’s episode and moves on to next week for a new challenge. Her hot sauce for Dr. John consisted of habaneros, Serrano chiles, ginger and pineapple.
Then she was faced with an outdoor oven and coals for a five-hour cook-off with pieces of a 300-pound pig divided up among her rivals. Shirley, formerly with Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Jose Andres here, made jioaozo dumplings with pork grilled kidney and crispy pork fat salad.
Head judge Tom Colicchio said he’d travel the world to find her secret recipe, it was so good. Next week, Shirley takes part in the restaurant wars challenge.
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.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.